Hosting in-person events during the pandemic has been logistically tough for many race directors, given the parameters set by health officials. Two race directors have come together to resurrect one of Toronto’s historic races, the Sporting Life 10K, which hopes to host 15,000 runners on their renowned route down Yonge Street this Mother’s Day.
Last fall, Cory Freedman of MaxVO2 events, which hosts the Toronto Women’s Run Series, reached out to Charlotte Brookes of Canada Running Series (CRS) about the possibility of a collaboration. “We wanted to do something different with the Sporting Life 10K,” Freedman says. “I felt we needed the best leadership and knowledge possible to deliver this race.”
Brookes’ experience as the national event director at CRS has helped grow races such as the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Vancouver’s Eastside 10K and Toronto’s Spring Run-Off 8K. “The pandemic has changed the way we’ve done a lot of things,” says Brookes. “What we’ve done in the past doesn’t apply to the present – and as a race director, we have learnt that transparency has become essential.”
It has been three years since the in-person Sporting Life 10K last took place. The previous edition had 17,333 runners cross the finish line, which marked Canada’s second-largest single-distance race in 2019, behind the Vancouver Sun Run 10K. “We are taking everything Cory and I learned with the return to racing last fall and applying it to this event,” Brookes says. At the fall Toronto Waterfront 10K, which hosted over 5,000 runners, Brookes utilized staggered starts and a four-hour time slot for runners to complete the route.
The Sporting Life 10K hopes to host 15,000 runners on the route that starts mid-town Toronto, following Yonge Street south to Richmond., to the finish line at Lakeshore’s Coronation Park.
The Sporting Life 10K has always been a race for charity, and in 2019 the event fundraised over two million dollars for Camp Oochigeas, a healing program for kids and families who have been affected by childhood cancer. Camp Ooch is now under a new name, Campfire Circle, but holds the same goal of helping more kids experience the magic of camp.
This event will be the largest in-person race to occur since before the pandemic. “We hope that the unification of Cory and myself to bring back the Sporting Life 10K reenergizes the running community,” Brookes says. If you can’t attend the in-person race on May 8, there is a virtual option for 1,000 runners.
Registration and fundraising are now open for the 2022 Sporting Life 10K here.