The final Run for the Toad took place at the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area near Cambridge, Ont. yesterday. It was an emotional day for those who know and love this race, and for race directors George and Peggy Sarson, who have been putting it on for 19 years, and who announced some months ago that this year would be their last.
“We’ve come a long way from 19 years ago, when the race was just a couple of hundred people,” said George Sarson, who took the mic several times throughout a morning filled with smiles, sunshine and high spirits. “I don’t even know how we got here.”
The race has been extremely popular, in no small part due to the generosity of its organizers and sponsors. Runners get a full catered lunch onsite, as well as an attractive backpack with their registration, in addition to a finisher’s medal, age group prizes, free coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts, free entry to the conservation area and shelter from the elements if that should be necessary (thankfully, yesterday’s weather was perfect). The atmosphere is one of goodwill.
View this post on Instagram
Final Run For The Toad after 19 years of an amazing race/event at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area. I had the privilege of running it for 5 years 🙏 I’m so grateful for my #runningsoulsister @jmenzies123 to run the final race with me. Not so thankful for the 3 snakes that crossed my path and made me almost have a heart attack. #runforthetoad2019 #keepshowing
Runners were piped in by the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada in their ceremonial colours, and the gun used for the three race starts (the Toad Pals kids’ race, the 50K and the 12.5K/25K) was a small cannon that boomed across the lake, startling anyone who wasn’t ready.
Though it’s billed as a trail race, Run for the Toad has been described as being more like a cross-country course, since it’s on wide, groomed trails with many gentle undulations and one big hill near the end of the 12.5K loop.
Julie Hamulecki, 50k winner at Run for the Toad. Photo: George Aitkin
Woody Snoberger of Maryland, 50k winner at Run for the Toad. Photo: George Aitkin
Gavin Shields, 25K winner at Run for the Toad. Photo: George Aitkin
Rachel Hannah, 25k winner at Run for the Toad. Photo: George Aitkin
Merlin Frey of Elmira (18th in the 50K), who has run Run for the Toad many times. Photo: George Aitkin
Run for the Toad high school relay winners, Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Waterloo. Photo: Canadian Running
Brooke Biggs of Hamilton was the overall winner and first female in the 12.5K, in 54:35. First male was Robert Campbell in 56:11. Second male was Frank Pearson in 56:36 and third was Trevor Feeney in 56:41. Second female was Emma Segato in 1:03:31 and third was Jana Campbell in 1:06:42.
In the 25K, Gavin Shields was first overall, in 1:36:18. Patrick Mackinnon was second male, in 1:53:26, and Kieran Hulsman was third, in 1:53:45. Rachel Hannah was the first woman across the line, in 1:45:29. Susan Durrell was second, in 2:03:01 and Madelyn Smith third, in 2:04:30.
Julie Hamulecki of Toronto was the overall winner in the 50K, in 3:47, followed by Woody Snoberger of Cumberland, Maryland as first male, in 4:06. Second female was Emily MacLean in 4:17:24 and third was Rebecca Kruisselbrink in 4:34:14. Second male was Brendan Carney Kilian in 4:13:11 and third was Lev Ostromich in 4:37:39.