For the primary time within the 34-year historical past of the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the race has reached over 25,000 runners. Toronto has established itself as Canada’s premier marathon and has set a precedent within the world operating neighborhood, with members coming from 78 international locations around the globe for the marathon on Sunday, Oct. 15.
The elite area on the 2023 version of the marathon seems to be considerably totally different from final yr, and two new champions shall be topped on the boys’s and ladies’s sides, as Ethiopia’s Yihunilign Adane and Kenya’s Antonina Kwamboi won’t be returning. The 2023 elite area options up-and-coming stars, together with a number of American ladies aiming to attain the Olympic commonplace of two:26:50 forward of the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials in February. The race can even decide two new Canadian marathon champions, with compelling storylines on each the boys’s and ladies’s sides.
Right here’s our in-depth elite preview.
Will we see an American winner?
It has been 22 years since an American girl final received the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Leslie Gold in 2001) however on this yr’s area, two American elites may presumably finish the drought. One in every of them, Emily Durgin, a street racing specialist primarily based out of Flagstaff, Ariz. got here to Toronto searching for redemption after a less-than-ideal marathon debut in NYC final yr. Durgin stated throughout Friday’s elite press convention that she felt the stress to hit instances and carry out throughout her debut and ended up dropping out of the race earlier than 30 km. “I realized so much from New York and my construct for Toronto has been totally different,” stated Durgin. “As for a objective time, I need to run within the low 2:20s and be aggressive.” The 29-year-old marathoner hopes to make use of Toronto as a stepping stone for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2024 in Orlando. Durgin was capable of qualify for the trials from her time on the 2022 Houston Half Marathon the place she completed sixth total, clocking the seventh-fastest half-marathon in U.S. historical past with 67:54. “I got here to Toronto to be aggressive and contend for the the rostrum, as that’s what it’ll take to qualify at trials come February,” she says.
One other U.S. title within the ladies’s elite area to look at is Molly Grabill, who’s operating her sixth profession marathon in Toronto on Sunday. Grabill advised the media that she has related plans to her compatriot Durgin and hopes to bounce again after, in her phrases, falling in need of her targets in her final marathon in Hamburg earlier this yr. Though Grabill ran the second-fastest marathon time of her profession in Hamburg, she stated she was dissatisfied as she took a swing and missed, struggling within the second half. “The objective in Toronto is to manage the second half of the race higher and achieve robust momentum heading into the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials,” stated Grabill. The 31-year-old from Boulder, Colo., is coming off a top-15 end in 69:53 on the inaugural World Athletics Highway Working Championships in Riga, Latvia, earlier this month, which she says has given her a variety of confidence for Sunday.
Eyes on the course document?
Exterior of the American duo, two different worldwide athletes to look at are the Ethiopian duo of Afera Godfay and 2023 Ottawa Marathon champion Waganesh Mekasha. For Godfay, Toronto is her first marathon in three years after giving start to her daughter. Her final marathon got here in 2020 when she ran 2:26:43 to position third total on the Xiamen Marathon in China. In her first two races again since turning into a mom, Godfay has run respectable half marathon instances of 70 and 71 minutes however has not but returned to her earlier kind. She stated at Friday’s press convention that she hopes to come back via the half mark in 1:11 and feels well-prepared for her marathon return. A glimpse of hope for Godfay is that she at the moment trains alongside the brand new ladies’s world document holder Tigist Assefa in Ethiopia. So, who is aware of what she is able to?
The favorite within the ladies’s race is Mekasha, who’s coming off a win within the scorching warmth on the 2023 Ottawa Marathon in Could. Mekasha is concentrating on the Canadian all-comers’ ladies’s marathon document on Sunday of two:22:16, set 4 years in the past by Kenya’s Magdalyne Masai at this race. Mekasha holds a private finest of two:22:45 from the 2019 Dubai Marathon and stated that she expects round an analogous time on Sunday. “If the pacemaker runs a superb tempo, I hope to interrupt the course document,” says Mekasha.
The Canadian contingent
Two of the highest three Canadians from final yr’s race have returned to the 2023 area, with Malindi Elmore, the reigning Canadian marathon champion, opting to run Berlin, the place she clocked the second-fastest time in Canadian historical past (2:23:30). Returning are second and third place Canadian finishers Dayna Pidhoresky and Toronto’s personal Sasha Gollish. Pidhoresky had an iconic second right here in 2019, when she raced just below the Olympic commonplace on the Canadian trials, successful in 2:29:03–qualifying her for the marathon on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though the Olympic marathon didn’t go as deliberate for Pidhoresky, she was capable of bounce again at this occasion final yr to position seventh total (second Canadian) in 2:30:58. “Rising up in Windsor, Ont., I got here to Toronto for thus many races,” says Pidhoresky on tackling on her fourth Toronto Waterfront Marathon. “I really feel I do know the course very properly, which is useful in a marathon, and it’s nice to have a high-quality area that’s near dwelling.” Pidhoresky advised the media that this construct has not been easy however she continues to be assured she will run a private finest Sunday. “This course is advantageous, and I have to be good and simply run my race,” she says.
It’s a related story for Gollish, operating in her second consecutive TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, lower than eight weeks after her final marathon on the 2023 World Championships in August. Gollish advised Canadian Working on the press convention that she desires to enter this race with an analogous mindset that she had in Budapest. “It appears like a privilege to be right here, and I’m not placing any stress of a private finest on myself,” says Gollish. “For the longest time, I averted this race as a result of I felt there can be stress to carry out, however why not run one thing in your yard fuelled by a neighborhood that has finished a lot for me?” Final yr, Gollish stunned herself with a private finest time of two:31:40 after a brief marathon construct. Might she do the identical on Sunday?
Just a few different Canadian marathoners to look at are Emily Setlack, Toronto’s Liza Howard and Kim Krezonoski of Thunder Bay, Ont. It has been 4 years since Setlack has final touched the marathon, however with a private finest of two:29:48 from the 2019 version of this race, her potential to complete as the highest Canadian shouldn’t be ignored. Setlack has had a quiet 2023 season however has strung collectively strong performances, successful Toronto’s historic Sporting Life 10K and inserting eighth total on the Canadian 10K Championships in Could.
Howard has a private finest of two:35:29 (Chicago 2022) and was the highest Canadian finisher on the 2023 Boston Marathon (thirty seventh total) in chilly, moist and windy situations. Krezonoski moved to Toronto throughout the final yr and has been finding out the course totally within the hope of crushing her marathon private finest come Sunday. She ran her private finest of two:37 on the California Worldwide Marathon final yr however has dropped her half-marathon PB by practically 4 minutes since. The spots on the home podium are up for grabs, and every of those three ladies may break via.
The rise of Elvis
The absence of Adane opens the door for a number of East African males hoping to determine their marathon careers in Toronto. One in every of these males is Kenya’s Elvis Kipchoge, who might already lay declare to the title of one of the best operating title. This Kipchoge is rather less well-known than the previous world document holder however boasts a sooner half marathon private better of 59:15, which earned him third place on the 2022 Barcelona Half Marathon. Nevertheless, this Kipchoge has not had a lot luck within the marathon. On the younger age of 27, he ran 2:10:21 on the Vienna Marathon earlier this yr. He hopes to show issues round on a quick and flat Toronto course. Kipchoge has ties to the race, coaching alongside ladies’s course document holder Magdalyne Masai in Iten, Kenya.
Whereas there isn’t a relation between Elvis and Eliud Kipchoge, moreover sharing the identical final title and initials, Ethiopian athlete Adugna Bikila hopes to comply with within the footsteps of his uncle, Worku Bikila. Worku was a world-class 5,000m runner who completed sixth within the 1992 Olympic 5,000m last in Barcelona and took fourth place on the World Championships the next yr. Bikila enters Toronto with the quickest time within the area, holding a private finest of two:05:52 from the 2022 Seville Marathon, the place he completed fourth.
All of the East African males shall be aiming to interrupt the Canadian all-comers document and course document of two:05:00, held by Kenya’s Philemon Rono, set in 2019. The climate forecast for Sunday signifies cool and beneficial situations for each the boys’s and ladies’s fields, which ought to make each course data weak.
Who’s subsequent for Canada?
A brand new males’s Canadian champion shall be topped Sunday, and for the primary time since 2016, their final title won’t be Levins or Hofbauer. The 2023 males’s area is filled with up-and-coming Canadian expertise on the precipice of breaking into the elite scene. Mississauga’s Sergio Raez Villanueva returns to Toronto after a surprising 2:18:04 debut final yr, which earned him top-five Canadian honours. Difficult Raez Villanueva is Ottawa’s Blair Morgan, who was the second Canadian on the sizzling and humid Ottawa Marathon in Could, operating 2:19:50. Morgan ran his private finest of two:18:29 on the 2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon however is searching for a sub-2:18 outcome this time round.
Difficult Raez Villanueva and Morgan are debutants Thomas Broatch of Vancouver and 4:01 miler Kyle Grieve. Broatch is coming off a win on the Vancouver Eastside 10K the place he beat three-time Toronto champion Trevor Hofbauer. “Profitable the Eastside 10K was an enormous confidence booster for me,” says Broatch. “Everytime you take the beginning line the target is to win and run quick.” The 24-year-old software program engineer advised Canadian Working that he has formidable targets to run underneath 2:15 on Sunday and that his marathon construct has gone close to good.
For Grieve, who grew up and nonetheless resides in Toronto, this marathon has at all times been on his bucket record. “I’ve been desirous to strive a marathon for a couple of years and have simply saved placing it off,” says Grieve, who bought married in the summertime. “Canada Working Sequence is an enormous purpose I’m nonetheless competing immediately, so it was by no means a query of the place I needed to run my first marathon.” His objective is to be aggressive in opposition to a robust Canadian area and let the time come together with it.
Tips on how to watch?
Marathon followers from around the globe can have the chance to look at the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon stay on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, starting at 8:00 a.m. ET with a pre-race introduction adopted by the introduction of the elite area. The gun for the boys’s and ladies’s elite area fires at 8:45 a.m. ET. All race motion might be adopted on torontowaterfrontmarathon.com or CBCsports.ca /CBC Gem or AthleticsCanada.television.
Expertise the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon stay from downtown Toronto on Oct. 15. Get the most recent race information, updates and stay outcomes from Canadian Working with the assist of ASICS Canada. Comply with us on Twitter and Instagram for all of the motion.