by Henrik Hartmann
Race: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon
Where: Toronto, ON, Canada
When: May 7, 2017
The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon is a fast and PR-friendly course that makes for a beautiful weekend trip across the border. I signed up on a whim two weeks before the race because my spring training had been good. I had initially planned some trail races in spring and to do a road marathon only this fall – but I felt ready, so why not give it a try?
Unfortunately, the conditions were less than ideal. Days of rain had flooded parts of tToronto and strong winds of 20-30 mph were forecast for race day. But there was no backing out now and in the end, it turned out to be a great race for me after all.
The first half of the course is downhill and with the wind in my back, I felt like flying. I passed the half marathon mark well under my target time and still felt fresh. The route continued through the scenic downtown area and along Lake Ontario for the second half. The wind now blew straight into our faces and I was lucky to find a group of runners who pulled together to share the lead work and draft off each other.
A few miles before the finish, our group started to disintegrate and I could feel my quads shut down from the impact of the earlier downhill sections. My splits began to drop but I forced myself to not let up and finished utterly exhausted but thrilled. With a time of 3:01:23 I had beaten my old PR by more than eight minutes and achieved the Boston qualifying standard for the first time.
The Goodlife Marathon is a well-organized race with a friendly vibe. For being in one of the largest North American cities, the race was relatively small (only about 1,200 Marathon participants). It didn’t feel like in New York or Berlin, where the whole city is taken over by the event. I guess this has its upsides and downsides. Sightseeing and great food options made the trip worth it despite the weather and I was rewarded with a superb race experience.
Pre-race meal: Phở Hưng Restaurant – extra-large special beef rice noodle soup
Post-race meal: Antler Kitchen and Bar – wild boar, bison and deer burger