FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
More Historic Downtown, Less Leslie St. Spit
important course improvements for
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2006
TORONTO. 27th June 2006. Organizers are delighted to report that approval
has been received for some minor, yet highly significant course adjustments
for this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, to be run on the
flat, fast, lakeshore course on Sunday, September 24th. Now, there will be
more of the scenic, Historic Downtown, St.Lawrence Market neighbourhood for
the first few kilometers, and only half the previous distance on the Leslie
St. Spit [Tommy Thompson Park] in the second-half of the marathon.
New for 2006, the marathon [42km] and half marathon [21km] will start
together at 7am, at the usual location, Metro Hall, at Wellington & Simcoe
Streets. This is expected to put close to 10,000 runners on the Start Line,
and instantly elevate the sense of occasion and ‘Scotiabank Toronto
Waterfront Marathon experience’ to that of other, top flight international,
mass marathons. “This year, marathoners and half-marathoners from 30+
countries, every Canadian province and more than 40 American states will
line up together. It will be a tremendous atmosphere,” says Race Director,
Alan Brookes. This is a strategy that has been highly-successful in other
major events like the Houston and Miami Marathons.
From Simcoe Street, the runners will now go due east on Wellington and
Front, past the historic Flatiron Building and the St.Lawrence Market all
the way to Parliament, south on Parliament, then right onto Lakeshore
Boulevard and all the way west to the turn-around at Windermere. This will
add 3 more, totally-flat kilometres to the previous marathon course; 3km
that will be subtracted from the Leslie St. Spit section of the old route.
“This is of huge significance,” said Brookes. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront
Marathon has more than doubled in size over the past 2 years, largely
because of its super-flat course that has been popular amongst all levels
of runners, from seasoned veterans looking for a PR or a Boston-qualifying
time, to first-timers searching for the line of least resistance to the
Finish. The 2:11:57 winning time last year made it the 6th fastest marathon
in North America. “The Spit was the only controversial part of our course,”
said Brookes. “Just like Haines Point at Marine Corps, it is scenic
parkland right along the water—some people loved the scenery, others found
it a bit lonely. Now, marathoners will only go out 2.5 kilometres onto the
Spit, rather than the 4km they’ve run previously. We think this will be a
perfect solution,” says Brookes. “It retains some of the scenery, but not
Of further significance, with the marathon and half now running together,
all the kilometre markers in the fist half of the new course will now be
identical. Previously, the two events ran on slightly different courses,
which meant that the 5km mark in the marathon was close to 8km in the half.
Feedback indicated that there was some confusion among participants. “This
makes it very clear and easy”, said Brookes. “We have also invested a
significant amount of money in state-of-the art new kilometre signs.
They’re 5m high, and we’ll have them at every kilometre mark, on both sides
of the road.” Also new this year, there will be markers on both sides of
the road at the 1 mile, 5, 10, 15 20 and 25 mile points, for the benefit of
the rapidly growing numbers on American and British runners.
Another important adjustment is the elimination of the “bottleneck” at “the
eye”—the section of the course on Lakeshore Boulevard between the west end
of the CNE at British Columbia Drive, and the Boulevard Club. For the past
6 years, runners heading westbound on the Lakeshore were diverted onto the
eastbound lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard at this point, creating two-way
traffic, with only one lane in each direction for the runners. Now, runners
will go west in the full, three Westbound lanes all the way to Windermere,
returning in the eastbound 2 lanes, providing lots of room to run.
Marathoners and half-marathoners will continue to run together until just
east of the Princes Gates at the CNE [17.5 km], where they will be divided
by inflatable archways. Marathoners will turn right, as in previous years,
along the picturesque Queen’s Quay and the rest of the usual marathon route
[minus the reduction on the Spit]; half marathoners will continue east on
Lakeshore Boulevard, to Bay Street, then left on Bay, and left again onto
Wellington and the Finish, as usual.
The west end of the course will remain open until 11am, giving
half-marathoners 4 hours to complete their run, and really opening up the
event to power walkers for the first time; the east end will stay open
until 2pm, preserving the 7 hour time limit for marathoners.
“We are so pleased that we’ve been able to make these changes for this
Fall”, said Brookes. “This is something the runners have asked for, and
we’ve been able to deliver. We think these tweaks make our good course
great, and will help further sustain the great momentum Scotiabank Toronto
Waterfront Marathon & Half has, as we grow more and more in international
Runners interested in trying out the exciting, improved course can register
today for either the full or half marathon at
www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com [new course map also available].