A popular Thanksgiving Day event in Guelph, Ont. is among the longest-running road races in the world.
The Guelph Thanksgiving Day Races was founded in 1894 and is listed by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians as one of the 10 oldest road races in the world. Founded in the same year as Around the Bay in Hamilton, Ont., the race spans three centuries and has been held, by best estimates, in all but seven years, according to race director John Marsden.
“Like all races there have been many changes in format, with road and cross-country races of many different distances over the years,” Marsden says. “It is a part of Guelph culture and most adults in the race can remember participating in the races as a child. A local hardware store used to display the prizes in their window the week before the race to get the kids inspired.”
This year’s race goes off on Oct. 9. According to Marsden, the race director since 2005, “one of the enticing aspects of its current format is that there are seven consecutive races held over three hours on a loop course. This means that parents and children can run in separate races and cheer for each other.”
The Victor Matthews Memorial 10K takes place just before the Thanksgiving Day Races. The southern Ontario event has attracted multiple Olympians in past years including Taylor Milne and Chris Winter, both of who appear in the photo at the top of this page.
The Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton is too one of North America’s longest-running road races. It has been held 109 times since 1894, according to the ARRS. Both Ontario races are older, based on its founding date, than the Boston Marathon.