As a French citizen, David cannot remain in the United States longer than three months. He took advantage of his stay in Ontario to run the famous Toronto marathon. Here is the story of his stop-over in Canada…
October 16, 2016: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Welcome to Canada for a great marathon in Toronto! This stop-over in Canada allowed me to resume my 2016 challenge without having to leave the United States again.
The evening before the marathon, I got my bib and ate a great meal. I had a very good night’s sleep and woke up well rested at 7:15. As always before a race, I took three packets of Immun’Âge® five minutes before breakfast. The weather was great but a 43 to 64 % chance of rain was forecasted. I put my windbreaker in my fanny pack and walked to the start thirty minutes away from my hotel room.
When I got to the start area, I recognized the great ambiance of international marathons swarming with runners: some 30,000 participants gathered there that morning to run the marathon or the half-marathon. I took my place in the start corral as it started to drizzle. I waited a bit thinking it might not be that bad, but the rain became so strong that I had to put my windbreaker on. Ready for war! After the Canadian anthem, sung a cappella, the gun went off. It was 8:45. With the wave start, I had to wait sixteen minutes to cross the start line.
We started with the rain. However, I had a good feeling about this race. As always during large marathons, there were “traffic jams,” and I had to thread my way among runners. It was not that bad. The ambiance was great and the public was there for us despite the rain.
At first we ran on large avenues downtown. The course was flat and fast, with quick turns. I reached km 5 in 31 minutes, just as the rain stopped. I took off my windbreaker but could not put it back in my fanny pack. I folded it as well as I could and put it in my shorts. Conditions became optimal and I felt good. I decided to speed up and go, go, go!
We headed toward Toronto’s suburb and Lake Ontario. I reached km 10 in 1:01. The ambiance was really good, with great music and volunteers cheering us: it was perfect! At km 12, we turned around to run along the lake heading back downtown. The course had very few difficult stretches and was really fast. I passed Scooby-Doo and took a picture with him! I reached km 15 in 1:31. The weather was good; I felt well; the ambiance was great. The run was beautiful. I reached km 20 in 2:00. Half-marathon runners left us and we went on.
I finished the half-marathon in 2:06, i.e. the basis of my personal record. What was happening to me? I had run a very difficult triple marathon the week-end before at 7,000 feet and I did not expect to feel that great. I decided to go for it. I was psyched up and very focused. We reached neighborhoods that were not as lively but still had some friendly well-wishers. Nice feeling! I reached km 25 in 2:31. My pace remained regular and I felt really light. We then reached a very lively neighborhood buzzing with well-wishers’ singing and shouting: it was great.
I reached km 30 in 3:05. I was motivated and knew that my finishing time would be quite decent considering that I had run fifty-five marathons in some nine months. Indeed, while running marathons within the scope of my 2016 challenge (52 marathons in 52 weeks in the United States), I also ran other marathons each time I had the opportunity to do so.
My legs stiffened, which is normal, but I wanted to go on. We turned around at km 33 heading back downtown. I reached km 35 in 3:42. At km 38 it rained again until the end of the race. However, I was in my own bubble and sped on. I reached km 40 in 4:20 in a great ambiance. A lot of spectators were cheering us downtown. That made us really happy and gave us a lot of energy. Police officers applauded and cheered us.
After two straight stretches on Toronto’s large avenues I crossed the finish line in 4:40:21 (actual marathon distance in 4:36:23). I got my medal, put my windbreaker on and grabbed something to eat. As it slowly stopped raining, I walked back to my hotel room under nice weather.
This marathon was a perfect run from all points of view: organization, ambiance, weather, time… Nothing wrong with it! I had a great time. I did not expect to manage this after last week-end marathon. The mind is a great tool!
Many thanks to the people of Toronto! Today you gave me back the legs I had when I was 30!
Let’s meet next week-end in New Jersey for two marathons. Have a nice week!