We approach Toronto’s waterfront just before midnight on Oct. 31 having just left behind swarms of twenty-somethings suited up in full costume ready to take on the night’s parties. Crossing the street, we head closer to the city’s waterfront path and farther away from your typical Halloween festivities. It’s dark, chilly and the rain has decided to come down in light drops making conditions less than ideal for racing. It’s a relief when we see the white tents and row of port-a-potties. To most people, neither of these things have a strong appeal on a night like this. To a runner, this is a sign that a race is ready to start.
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We’re at the Adidas Runmore 10K. It’s a new race in Toronto this year set on the night of daylight savings time. At 1:00 a.m., (on what’s technically Nov. 1) 485 runners line up at the start. The idea is to complete the 10K out-and-back route in around an hour or less on time for when the clocks jump back at 2:00 a.m. for daylight savings time. Runners who finish the race inside an hour arrive at the finish line and see their watches display 1:00 a.m. again. In a way, it’s almost like the race never happened.
Before we reach the tents there’s a brief moment of hesitation. It’s midnight, there’s an hour still to the start, it’s rainy and cold. There have been many moments where this sport loses its luster. With rain threatening to soak through to my base layer, this is one of those times.
The feeling doesn’t last for long though. There’s the typical hype that comes with the pre-race atmosphere. That’s escalated today at this fun, off-the-wall event. There’s a sense of adventure running a 1:00 a.m. race in the extra hour that we gain on Nov.1. and the organizers have outdone themselves in making this race one that runners want to be at.
Up ahead, a massive green Runmore 10K emblem is projected onto a tower across the street. It flashes neon for a few moments before dissolving and re-configuring into a giant, glaring Adidas logo. Runners are already lining up to get photos taken in the flashy Adidas booth and in front of us a truck sends a stream of bright light and glitter out of its open window. The time is unusual for a race but it’s got a great nighttime atmosphere.
LITERALLY sparkles shooting out of a van. #runmore #runmore10k A photo posted by Sydney Boniface (@sydbon) on
We mingle in the heated tents and make our way to the start. Adidas has brought in a group of Olympians to run with us– that makes sense considering that the $35.00 entry fees are all going towards the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Among the athletes are Brunny Surin, Melissa Tancredi, Tessa Bonhomme, Jared Connaughton, Martin Reader, Gillian Apps, Diana Matheson and Denny Morrison.
The race starts and we take off running west along the Martin Goodman Trail by the waterfront. A few minutes in, it’s easy to forget about the weather. The kilometres are marked and small groups are cheering along the route. Some runners are paired up, donning Adidas sneakers and flashy reflective jackets. You can hear the exchange of motivational pieces of encouragement. Others have jumped in with one of the several pacers or are running solo. It’s an out-and-back course and the 5K point seems to come quickly. Once there, there’s a crowd of people cheering and music blasting to pump runners up for the second half.
In the last two kilometres, runners out on the course can hear the buzz coming from the base at Ontario place. It’s time to bring it in. Local run crews are lined up near the finish cheering and clusters of runners who have already finished stick around to motivate those who haven’t. Thomas Kipkosgei comes first in the men’s race running 32:57. Kennedy Rono comes in one second after and Graham Rossall places third with a 37:36. The women’s champion is Lioudmila Kortchaguina who runs 39:15. Second is Donna Vakalis (39:43) followed by Jasmin Husain (39:56). (To check results, see here.)
Then it’s on to post-race photos and of course, the party. Adidas has DJs and The Darcys brought in to do the music, Feasto and Fidel Gastro’s food trucks are on site giving out free food to runners. Beau’s Brewery is pouring pints of free beer. The organizers are keeping everything going until 4:00 a.m. Runners are stuffing themselves. Plenty have a beer in each hand and are posing for photos and chatting about the race.
The night is winding down for some. Others are just getting started planning to be here until the wee hours. Passing by, one runner says to another “10K is the perfect race distance. You run for a little while and then hang out and drink with your friends.”
How did you spend your extra hour? #adidas #runmore #runmore10k A photo posted by Tonya S. (@asmaryga) on
#adidas #runmore10k #downpour A photo posted by Kevin Katigbak (@kevo_kat) on
Its cold and raining Let’s do thissss #runmore #runmore10k A photo posted by Johanna Robles Tam (@juwannagoodtam) on
#runmore10k with @sharoncarlson ? A photo posted by amac design (@amacdesign) on