It was an extraordinary day at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, with Kenyans Philemon Rono and Magdalyne Masai Robertson taking down the men’s and women’s course records and setting new Canadian soil records in the marathon. Rono, who won this race in 2016 and 2017, came from behind in the final kilometres to take his third win at STWM, finishing in 2:05:00 and breaking his own previous record here (of 2:06:52, set in 2017) by almost two minutes. Masai finished in 2:22:16, a new unofficial all-comers record by one second.
Lemi Berhanu of Ethiopia, the 2016 Boston Marathon champion, made a bold move, putting more than 15 seconds between him and Rono with about 5K left in the race, but it turned out to be too early. Berhanu finished in second place (2:05:09), with Felix Chemonges of Uganda finishing third in a new national record of 2:05:12.
Rono finished ninth here last year.
Masai was in a tight pack of about eight elite women for most of the race. Biruktayit Eshetu of Ethiopia tried to make a move on the eastern Lakeshore, but the pack covered her move. She finished in second place, with a new personal best of 2:22:40. Kenya’s Betsy Saina finished third, also in a PB of 2:22:43.
Saina was a last-minute addition to the race. She attempted to run last week’s Chicago Marathon, but had had a bout of food poisoning and did not finish. Saina won the Paris Marathon in 2018 in 2:22:56.
Masai takes the all-comers record from Gelete Burka, who set the previous record just one second slower (at 2:22:17) at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2018. Masai is married to Jake Robertson, who ran here last year in much colder conditions, finishing sixth. It’s safe to say today’s milder weather conditions played a huge role in making this the fastest day yet for STWM.
The prize money breaks down as follows: winners earn $30,000. Course and all-comers record breakers earn another $40,000, and because Rono’s new record was under 2:06:30 (an arbitrary incentive mark, since in this case the course record and all-comers records were the same) and Masai’s was under the all-comers record of 2:22:17, they earned an additional $10,000 each.