The most notable road running series in Canada kicked off on Saturday at High Park in Toronto.
The Race Roster Spring Run-Off, the first race of the Canada Running Series circuit, celebrated its 40th edition this morning. The event is the annual kickoff to spring for many runners and features a challenging course most notable for having the “Kill the Hill Challenge,” a timed segment up Spring Road Hill near the end of the race.
Prior to the 8K start, runners took part in a moment of silence for legendary masters runner Ed Whitlock, who passed away at 86 on March 13. Neil Whitlock, Ed’s son, was the honorary starter for the race that often attracts some of Canada’s top talent. Conditions were cool with sunny and clear skies.
Neil Whitlock and Alan Brookes before the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 8K.
Runners take a moment of silence in honour of Ed Whitlock, the only man over 70 to have broken 3:00 in the marathon and the only man over 85 to have broken 4:00 in the marathon.
Olympian Natasha Wodak, also the Canadian 10,000m record holder, was back in action after battling injury for the better part of the past seven months. The Spring Run-Off, which is more notable for its 8K event though there is also a 5K, was her first race since September 2016. The Vancouver resident who travelled to Toronto for the race won the 8K in 27:53.8 ahead of masters star Lioudmila Kortchaguina (28:43.9) and Madeline Yungblut (29:25). Wodak has the fastest 8K road time, 25:28, of any Canadian woman in history.
Post-race with Wodak
Meanwhile, Tristan Woodfine took the race out hard but was forced to stop to retie his shoelaces. The pit stop meant Woodfine was a considerable distance back at the mile (1,609m) mark though he was leading by the halfway point of the race and cruised to a 24:14 clocking. The Spring Run-Off is Toronto’s oldest continuously-held road race, according to the CRS website.
Sergio Raez Villanueva (24:28) finished second overall followed by Kevin Tree (24:58), both of who ran the Around the Bay 5K in Hamilton two weeks ago.
Both 8K winners, Woodfine and Wodak, were the fastest runners up Spring Hill covering the approximately 365m stretch in 1:16 and 1:35, respectively. Approximately 3,500 runners, combined, finished the 5K and 8K on Saturday in Toronto’s most notable park, located west of the downtown core.
Post-race with Woodfine
Full results can be found here. The next race in the Canada Running Series is the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal on April 23.