By Paul Gains
Ever since its origin the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has attracted some of the world’s best marathoners but never an athlete with such a competitive record as Dickson Chumba.
The 30 year-old Kenyan won both the 2015 Chicago Marathon and the 2014 Tokyo Marathon, two of the exclusive World Marathon Majors (Boston, New York, London and Berlin make up the remainder). That’s not all. In February of this year he finished third in Tokyo, the fourth consecutive year he has been amongst the top three in that race.
“My agent talked to me about Toronto and the possibility to run the course record or even the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil. I found the target interesting and I decided to run Toronto.”
His best time ever is 2:04:32 which he recorded in finishing third in the 2014 Chicago Marathon.
Curiosity and a willingness to change direction led Chumba to confirm his Toronto appearance at this IAAF Gold Label race on Oct. 22.
“I honestly don’t know much about the Toronto (Waterfront) Marathon but my agent, Gianni Demadonna, told me that it is a good race,” Chumba admits. “In the last few seasons I have been running mostly Chicago and Tokyo. After my third place in Tokyo last February I thought I needed to run something different. My agent talked to me about Toronto and the possibility to run the course record or even the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil. I found the target interesting and I decided to run Toronto.”
Winning Chicago earns US $100,000. Along with an appearance fee. Toronto, in comparison, offers $25,000 (in Canadian dollars) to the winner. However, there is a bonus of $50,000 for beating the Canadian all comers’ record (2:06:54 by Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia, at Ottawa 2014). Setting a new course record (2:07:05 by Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia, 2013) would earn $40,000. So it’s not all about the money for this Kenyan athlete.
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course record
Payday for breaking the Canadian all-comers record
Bonus for breaking the STWM course record
Dickson Chumba’s personal best time
“So far my training has gone well,” he reports. “If I continue like that and, if the weather will be OK on that particular day, I think I can try to attack the 2:07:05. In Tokyo I ran 2:06:25 but it was a very fast pace for the first 30K, which I paid for a bit towards the end of the race. But if I can get into similar shape I think I can run well in Toronto.”
Among the world-class field Chumba will face is defending Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon champion, Philemon Rono and a pair of Ethiopian stars: Solomon Deksisa, who ran 2:06:22 at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon, and Endeshaw Negesse, the 2015 Tokyo Marathon champion, who has a personal best of 2:04:52.
Clearly, this is the strongest men’s field the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has ever assembled and an indication of how far the race has come over the past decade.