FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alan Brookes
Defending Champions Set To Return To Toronto Waterfront Marathon
TORONTO, July 24th. Kenya's Daniel Rono, and Poland's Malgorzata Sobanska,
the defending champions and course record holders of the Scotiabank Toronto
Waterfront Marathon, have both confirmed that they will return for this
year's edition, scheduled to open the Fall marathon season on September
The 28 year old Rono went into last year's race as a relatively unknown
up-and-comer. He had previously run two marathons-- a 2:12:29 victory in
Madrid in April '05, followed by another win in Mumbai in January '06 in
2:12:03. He made it 3 for 3 in Toronto, defeating a strong field that
included Commonwealth Games gold medalist Samson Ramadhani of Tanzania and
veteran Simon Bor. His winning time of 2:10:15 was tantalizingly close to
the Canadian All-comers record of 2:09:55--a record that has stood since
East Germany's Waldemar Cierpinski won the Olympic Marathon in Montreal 31
years ago with that performance--and just 21 seconds shy of the additional
C$20,000 bonus that Scotiabank had put up for a new record.
Rono's strong performance at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront '06 gained him a
place on the Start line at both the Paris Half and Paris Marathon this
Spring, where he accredited himself well again, running 62:10 for 8th in
the Half in March and a more-impressive 2:10:38 for 3rd at the Marathon on
April 15th. The marathon also provided Rono with a whole new level of
competition, going up against the likes of Mubarak Shami, Gashaw Melese and
Julio Rey; on a warm morning [20+ celcius] the pacemakers took the lead
pack through halfway in 1:02:50, 14 seconds faster than Paul Tergat's pace
during his World record run of 2:04:55 four years ago.
According to Rono, "I am very pleased to come back to Toronto Waterfront.
It is a flat, fast course. I hope we get good weather and we can run under
2:09:30." Scotiabank are once again offering the C$20,000 bonus for a new
All-comers record, and this is likely to be the story of the day.
In the women's race, veteran Malgorzata Sobanska hopes to successfully
defend her title and course record of 2:34:32 from last year. The 38 year
old from Poznan has had an illustrious and prolific marathon career that
has encompassed a win at London in 1995 [2:27:43], a 2nd place finish at
Boston in 2001 [2:26:42], and a 4th at the 1995 World Championships. She
recalls her 2001 Boston as one of the highlights of her fine career, where
she led the pack for 14 miles before eventually finishing second to
Catherine Ndereba. She also finished 11th at the 2000 Olympics, and has
placed in the top four of the Berlin Marathon three times, and the top
eight at the Tokyo Women's Marathon four times. At last year's Scotiabank
Toronto Waterfront Marathon she ran a smart, veterans race and came through
in the later stages to pass Kenyan Elizabeth Chemweno for the victory.
This Spring, Malgorzata again demonstrated her running experience and
savvy, placing 2nd on a hot morning in Prague in 2:35:02.
She can expect a warm welcome back and strong crowd support in Toronto,
that boasts a large population of Polish origin, many of whom live in the
Roncesvalles neighbourhood on the west end of the course. More than 83,000
Greater Toronto area residents gave Polish as their mother tongue in the
2001 census, making the Poles the 6th largest language group in what the UN
has labeled "the world's most multicultural city".
"I think we'll have our strongest men's and women's fields ever this year,"
said Race Director Alan Brookes. "We're just hoping for the good weather
that will give the athletes a chance to run fast times. Daniel's 2:10:15
last Fall made us the 6th fastest marathon in North America for 2006. We
hope our defending champions can lead us to two new course records this
year. A sub 2:10 and a sub 2:30 would be very nice."
This year's 8th edition of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is
expected to draw close to 3,000 participants, with another 9,000+ runners
in the shorter events [Half and 5K], drawn from 30+ countries, every
Canadian province and territory and more than 40 American states. The event
has doubled in size over the last 3 years.