Early Monday morning, it was announced that Erin O’Toole had won the Conservative leadership race. O’Toole is a Member of Parliament representing Durham, Ont., a former officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force and, it turns out, a runner. He has several races under his belt, ranging from 5Ks up to full marathons, and from time to time he posts mid-run or post-run photos to his Instagram page. We know there’s more to life than running, and national politics certainly outweigh race results in the grand scheme of things, but we have to ask the question: who would win in a race — Justin Trudeau or his now-biggest adversary ahead of the next federal election?
O’Toole’s running history
O’Toole has results on Sportstats dating back well over a decade. In 2004, he ran the Ottawa Marathon, posting a time of 4:06:32. He has a 10K PB (according to his results online) of 46:24, which he ran at the Sporting Life 10K in Toronto in 2008. He ran his marathon PB that same year, when he recorded a 4:03:44 finish at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In 2011, he ran quite possibly his best race, finishing a 10-miler in Markham, Ont., in 1:16:50, averaging a per-kilometre pace 4:46 over the 16K route.
His most recent result came at the 2018 Canada Army Run in Ottawa. O’Toole ran the 5K in 38:12, completing the race with his daughter, as he noted on Instagram. After close to two decades of running and racing, the Leader of the Opposition has shown that he has the patience and drive to work through some pretty tough challenges.
It’s a well-known fact that Trudeau loves to run. He can often be seen running with other world leaders when visiting different countries, and he has raced the Canada Army Run in his time as prime minister. In 2017, he recorded an impressive 23:38 split at the Ottawa race for an average pace of 4:32 per kilometre. This was a big improvement on his 2014 time from the same race when he split 24:25 for the 5K. We haven’t seen Trudeau race in a few years, but he still keeps active, so we’re willing to bet he could lay down a solid 5K if he wanted.
O’Toole vs. Trudeau: the ultimate showdown
The two politicians are about the same age (Trudeau is turning 48 and O’Toole is 47), so there’s no distinct advantage in that regard for either of them when it comes to physical ability or speed. If the two lined up for a 5K, we think it’s fair to say the prime minister would come out on top. His PB is nothing to scoff at, and he would likely run away from O’Toole pretty quickly.
But that doesn’t mean O’Toole couldn’t win in a longer race. After all, he has experience in 10Ks up to the marathon, distances that Trudeau could probably run but has yet to contest in a race scenario. If the federal election had to be decided by a 42.2K road race, we think O’Toole’s experience might help him beat Trudeau. Unfortunately, that showdown probably won’t ever actually happen, but we can always dream.