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RaceGuide presents: 2016 Canadian Race Review – Key facts and figures

Some of the key figures from 2016 including largest events and fastest finishers across the most popular race distances.

British Columbia marathons
BMO Vancouver Marathon
Start of the 2016 BMO Vancouver Marathon. Photo: Chris Morris.

Another year of running and racing is coming to a close and as one might expect, 2016 was an exciting year on the roads (as well as the tracks and trails).

RELATED: Search, view, rate and review running events/races across Canada with RaceGuide

With the tremendous help of Vancouver’s Frank Stebner, we’ve compiled this year’s data and are pleased to present some of the findings including the largest and fastest races as well as some trends in participation.

Largest marathon events by total finishers, 2016

  1. Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon (May 29th) – 4,188 
  2. BMO Vancouver Marathon (May 1st) – 3,778
  3. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Oct. 16th) – 3,703
  4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal Marathon (Sept. 20th) – 3,695
  5. Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon (May 1st) – 1,495
  6. Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon (Oct. 9th) – 1,095
  7. Marathon SSQ Levis-Quebec (Aug. 28th) – 1,059
  8. Niagara Falls International Marathon (Oct. 30th) – 936
  9. Scotiabank Calgary Marathon (May 29th) – 807
  10. Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope (Nov. 6th) – 778

Approximate number of marathon finishers in Canada in 2016 (Note: Does not include races run in other countries): 30,000

Approximate number of marathon events in Canada in 2016: 75

Fastest time on Canadian soil

Male: Dino Sefir of Ethiopia: 2:08:13 at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on May 29th, 2016

Female: Shure Demise of Ethiopia: 2:25:15 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th, 2016

Fastest times by Canadians

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Krista DuChene (2:33:59), Rachel Hannah (2:34:34), finish 1-2 at the Canadian Marathon Championships.

Male: Reid Coolsaet of Hamilton, Ont.: 2:10:55 at the Fukuoka Marathon, Japan on December 4th, 2016

Female: Rachel Hannah of Toronto, Ont.: 2:32:09 at the Houston Marathon on January 17th, 2016

Whistler half-marathon
The first of many steps at the 2016 Whistler Half Marathon. Photo: Robert Shaer.

Largest half-marathon events by total finishers, 2016

  1. Demi-Marathon Oasis Rock ‘n’ Roll de Montreal (Sept. 25th) – 13,656
  2. Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon (May 29th) – 11,569
  3. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (Oct. 16th) – 9,991
  4. Sea Wheeze Half Marathon, Vancouver, B.C. (Aug. 15th) – 8,195
  5. BMO Vancouver Half Marathon (May 1st) – 7,129
  6. Canada Army Run, Ottawa, Ont. (Sept. 18th) – 7,013
  7. Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon (Oct. 23rd) – 5,275
  8. Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon (June 26th) – 3,481
  9. Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon (May 1st) – 3,365
  10. Demi-Marathon SSQ Levis-Quebec (Aug. 28th) – 2,913

Fastest half-marathon time by a Canadian

Male: Eric Gillis of Guelph: 1:03:41 at the Berliner Halbmarathon on April 3rd, 2016

Female: Sasha Gollish of Toronto: 1:11:07 at the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon on November 4th, 2016


Largest 10K events by total finishers, 2016

  1. Vancouver Sun Run (Apr. 17th) – 35,035
  2. Sporting Life 10K, Toronto, Ont. (May 8th) – 18,629
  3. Ottawa Race Weekend 10K (May 28th) – 10,495
  4. Times Colonist 10K, Victoria, B.C. (Apr. 24th) – 7,124
  5. Rock’ n’ Roll Oasis Montreal 10K (Sept. 25th) – 6,756
  6. Toronto Waterfront 10K (June 25th) – 4,932
  7. Le Defi des Enterprises Quebec 10K (June 12th) – 3,190
  8. RnR Oasis Vancouver Cunningham Seawall 10K (Oct. 23rd) – 3,080
  9. Scotiabank Blue Nose 10K, Halifax, N.S. (May 22nd) – 2,880
  10. Scotiabank Calgary Marathon 10K (May 29th) – 2,517

Largest 5K events by total finishers, 2016

  1. Canada Army Run 5K, Ottawa, Ont. (Sept. 18th) – 12,345
  2. Ottawa Race Weekend 5K (May 28th) – 7,639
  3. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5K (Oct. 16th) – 6,498
  4. RBC Run For the Kids 5K, Toronto, Ont. (Sept. 17th) – 3,797
  5. Le Defi des Enterprises Quebec 5K (June 12th) – 3,265
  6. Sports Experts Rock n Roll Montreal 5K (Sept. 25th) – 3,205
  7. Des Chene Toi Bourett, Drummondville, Que. (May 22nd) – 2,947
  8. Scotiabank Montreal Half Marathon 5K (Apr. 24th) – 2,642
  9. Scotiabank Blue Nose 5K, Halifax, N.S. (May 22nd) – 2,387
  10. Around the Bay 5K, Hamilton, Ont. (Apr. 3rd) – 2,381


Using the 25 largest events in the 5K, 10K, half and marathon, we also identified a number of trends and interesting demographics including:

There was a very slight decrease in the number of finishers from 2015 to 2016 in the 5K (1 per cent decline) and 10K (3 per cent decline). The number of Half Marathon finishers remained steady (i.e. no growth or decline) while the marathon saw a 5 per cent increase in growth.

The total combined finishers in each of the four major race distances were roughly 115,000 in the 10K; 102,000 in the half marathon; 70,000 in the 5K and 26,000 in the marathon. Together this represents a very minor (only 1 per cent) decrease from 2015.

The number of male and females participating in each of the four key race distances has and continues to show a clear imbalance. In the 5K, women make up 61 per cent of participants compared to men’s 39 per cent. In the 10K, women dominate 59 to 41 percent. The half marathon is also mostly female; they comprise 57 per cent of the fields compared to men’s 43 per cent. The marathon however remains a male dominated distance, where 62 percent of participants are men, compared to women’s 38 per cent.