Organisers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon have been awarded IAAF Gold Label Road Race status for the first time in its history. The 2015 race will take place on 18 October.
The Toronto race is the sole Canadian marathon to achieve this level and only the fourth in all North America. Boston, Chicago and New York are the other IAAF Gold Label Road Race marathons in this part of the world.
The announcement was greeted with elation by the 15 full time staff in the Canada Running Series office, who have worked tirelessly to improve upon the Silver Label the race has held for the past seven years.
“We believe the awarding of an IAAF label signifies that the race is in a unique class of road races,” said IAAF Competitions Director Paul Hardy. “It is recognition of being one of the best races in the world, in terms of both organisation and quality of athletes.
“There are many criteria which a race must meet in order to be granted an IAAF Label. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has proven that they are capable of meeting these criteria and have thus been awarded the highest level of road race recognition granted by the IAAF, an IAAF Gold Label.”
For Race Director Alan Brookes, the Gold Label is the culmination of a career-long dream.
“The Gold Label is the highest-level recognition for 30 years of hard work,” said Brookes, pointing out that credit must be shared, “with the amazing volunteers, Toronto area running clubs and community, Athletics Canada, the City of Toronto, our charities and sponsors. We also have an amazing title sponsor.”
“We’ve always had the goal of building top-quality, international road races in Toronto and across Canada. When we started 30 years ago, people used to tell us, ‘If you want a decent race you’ll have to go to the States.’ It drove me nuts. I also remember about seven or eight years ago, one of the major athletic brands telling us they weren’t interested in sponsorship, because ‘Toronto will never have a major marathon, so we had a fair bit of motivation.”
With pride the race management team point to 2014 when 27,000 runners took part in the race weekend, which also includes a 5km and a half marathon distance.
Brookes is especially pleased with the event’s association with local neighbourhoods, and leading local running personalities over the years.
Canadian international runners Krista DuChene (2:28:32) and Lanni Marchant (2:28:00) broke the 28-year old Canadian women’s marathon record two years ago in Toronto.
Brookes has a soft spot for 83-year-old Ed Whitlock who has become a celebrity within the world running community after setting two world age records in Toronto, but it was seeing the Canadian all-comers’ men’s record lowered four times in the past seven years and the women’s all-comers’ record twice in the same period, that has helped the race get international attention.
The current Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course records are held by Ethiopia’s Deressa Chimsa (2:07:05) and Koren Jelela Yal (2:22:43). The latter record remains the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil.
The 2015 edition of the race and will also serve as the Canadian National Championship for the first time.
Organisers for the IAAF