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Race Report: A Midsummer Night’s Run 5K and 15K

Posted on Sep 1, 2013 by in Running | 0 comments

Due to construction around Tommy Thompson Park, the 2013 edition of A Midsummer Night’s Run was moved to the Toronto Islands.  As a former Torontonian, I fondly remember trips to Centre Island back in the 80’s.  Needless to say, I was rather excited about the venue change.  Only come race day would I understand why refunds had been offered…

After leaving mom’s condo in Etobicoke at 1:30pm, we forked over $20 for parking, and made our way to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.  No words can describe the volume of passengers trying to obtain access to the Islands.  Clearly my brain failed to process the fact this was not a closed race, and the 2700+ runners had to share the ferries and paths with large weekend crowds.

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Once on the Island, we were quickly able to locate the finish line zone… thanks to FIGMENT Project.  Yes, the finish line area was home to an art in the park show.  I can only hope all the unique pieces of art remained unscathed by the volume of runners and families moving through the area.

Duncan scoped out a reunion zone, to ensure post-5K he was able to locate Nana, Dad and Pierce.  Once a safe haven was established, it was off to locate the starting line(s).  I will say trying to navigate the Island was difficult.  Hundreds of families with wagons, strollers and large coolers are trying to setup picnic venues.  As we ventured towards the Children’s Fountain, I realized all three looping courses were going to share the paths with walkers and bike rental patrons.  Large bikes and runners are never a good mix… and I would end up with a nasty bruise to prove it!

With the 5K start time looming, Derek, Nana and Pierce headed to the finish line, and I remained at Duncan’s side.  I gave him a quick reminder of race etiquette, and after inquiring about paces from several runners, he was self-seeded into the pack.  After a hug and a kiss, Duncan was off and running.  Only after my event would I discover the outcome: everyone except the two lead runners missed a critical, unmarked turn.  Instead of running 5K, it would appear the masses ran closer to 7K.  One look at the SportStats timing, and you’ll see the “average” time ended up being 50+ minutes.  While I had balked about letting Duncan run the 8K Kilt Run earlier in the summer, it turns out the distance training was to his advantage.

Duncan – “Not Really a 5K” Results
Chip Time: 38:22.0
Overall Place: 80/398
Gender Place: 37/126
Men 14 & Under: 5/30

In terms of the 15K, I was left saddened and frustrated.  Mixed terrain played havoc with pacing: pavement, sand, gravel, grass and a wooden boardwalk in need of repair.  Misdirection by volunteers at integral spots on course, meant some runners ran 13.5K, others had 17K or more.  Kilometer markers were inconsistent or missing.  Congestion at bridges and shared paths caused runners to get hit by bikes or tripped up by children eager to visit the beaches.  Verbal abuse by some pedestrians and cyclists for “ruining” their day or costing them more rental time fees.  Part of me was thrilled to hit the finish line, if only to give the Island back to families and tourists.

Andrea – “More Like 16.58K” Results
Chip Time: 1:44:28.6
Overall Place: 928/1314
Gender Place: 555/860
Female 30-39: 186/281

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While waiting over an hour in line for the return Ferry, I came to these conclusions:

  1. The Toronto Islands are beautiful, but perhaps not the most suitable location for a summer race.
  2. I am taking a couple years off running A Midsummer Night’s Run, in hopes the organization can return to its previous glory.
  3. This event benefits the Sick Kids Rheumatology Department, and if nothing else, I hope the suffering of children with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases can be cured.

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