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Trevor Hofbauer’s finish-line celebration costs him half his prize money

The debut marathoner took in the enjoyment of having a sizeable lead on the second-place Canadian rather than pushing right to the line for a time-based bonus

Trevor Hofbauer
Trevor Hofbauer
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Canadian Marathon Championships winner Trevor Hofbauer took the time to celebrate his title and the sweet taste of victory in the final metres leading into the finish line on Sunday at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The men’s national marathon champion, who clocked 2:18:06 for ninth overall, was making his 42.2K debut after quickly rising through the ranks of the national distance running scene in recent years.

The only catch: he probably cost himself about a month’s worth of rent in the process.

Soaking in the final few seconds of the marathon, Hofbauer high-fived the crowd and slowed his pace, veering off to the stands to his right to celebrate with fans, as the clock overhead ticked on. He occasionally checked over his shoulder to see if another runner was approaching, before crossing the line just outside of the 2:18:00 mark (his official time is now listed as 2:18:06, even though it appears he crossed in around 2:18:04).

As pointed out by Canada’s second-fastest marathoner of all-time and Speed River Track Club teammate Reid Coolsaet, there’s a prize money reduction if the male national champion’s winning time is not faster than 2:18:00. “He lost $1,250 for those celebrations,” Coolsaet tweeted out. “2:18:00 was a bonus threshold.”

Photo sequence of Hofbauer’s finish


First-place, if below 2:15:00, is a $5,000 payday for men. It’s reduced to $2,500 between 2:15-2:18:00. By finishing just over that threshold, Hofbauer will now only receive $1,250.

The top payout cutoff is 2:35:00 for women, which national champ Leslie Sexton just missed, running 2:35:44, meaning that she earned $2,500 for her effort.

Alan Brookes, the race director, said he enjoyed Hofbauer’s enthusiasm for the win, but that the rules are the rules.


“Standards are there, whether you’re qualifying for the Olympics or racing for top prize money,” Brookes said by phone on Monday, pointing out that Canadian Eric Gillis narrowly qualified for the 2012 Olympics at his race by one second, but that if it had been a second slower, he would not have made it to London. “We applauded the tremendous effort and great performances, but the standards are there for a reason,” Brookes said. “We want our Canadians to continue to improve, and we need to challenge them to improve.”

Brookes also noted that both Sexton and Hofbauer can earn extra financial bonuses through scoring points in his Canada Running Series (CRS) if they finished in the top-10 at the seven events held throughout the year across the country. The top points getters in 2017 will get a cheque for an extra $3,000. Sunday’s marathon in Toronto is the last of the calendar year, and Sexton looks like she will win the cash, but Hofbauer appears to be out of the money. Brookes also said he’s excited to be sure to include the two national champs in his series in 2018, and that next year’s national marathon championships could receive a bigger payout. “It’d be nice to get it up to $7,000 or $8,000,” Brookes said.

We’ve reached out to Hofbauer for details on the celebration, and will update the story accordingly.

UPDATE (10/24): A GoFundMe page has been set up for Hofbauer.

UPDATE #2 (10/24):

We heard back from Hofbauer via email. He had the following to say:

“Honestly, money is not a motivation driver for me. I believe in being a good person, doing the right thing, having an impact on society and living passionately. Everything else will fall into place. If I were to run down that finishing stretch again on October 22, 2017, I would do it the same 100 times over.”


Athletics Canada has the following top-five prize money breakdown (the asterisk note is relevant in this case):

(Based on gun time)

1st β€” $5,000
2nd β€” $3,000
3rd β€” $2,000
4th β€” $1,000
5th β€” $300
6th β€” $200
* minus 50 per cent for slower than 2:15 and 2:35 (men and women); minus 75 per cent for slower than 2:18 and 2:40 (men and women).

Brookes pointed out that at least Hofbauer can take comfort in not getting beat at the line while celebrating

2017 STWM coverage

Canadian Marathon Championships recap
Race recap
Start line photos
Trevor Hofbauer’s winning celebration
More photos on our Instagram page
Nick Croker’s Ed Whitlock-paced marathon
Two of the top-three Canadians at STWM take a combined 34 minutes off their PBs