Decisions, Decisions...

on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 9:19 PM

I'm supposed to run a marathon in a weeks time. Which marathon I'm doing however I'm not sure of.  It's either Mississauga or the Goodlife Toronto marathon.  I've done Mississauga before; I first BQ'd there.  I've also done Goodlife before, but haven't done the new course which finishes down by Ontario Place.  However, I'm very familiar with the 2nd half of the Goodlife course since it involves the same route as the 20 miler route that I sometime do down on the waterfront.

So here's my thinking so far.

Both courses are net downhill course, Toronto has a net drop of 112m whereas Mississauga has a 77m drop. Toronto has one killer hill in the first few miles of the race, whereas Mississauga has a bunch of rolling hills towards the end, but is generally flatter.

Mississauga Profile

TO Goodlife Profile

The additional drop in the TO course would give it some extra points for a faster marathon. Additional points go to TO for probably having more marathon participants so there's more people to potentially run with. A caveat to that is that Mississauga actually has more people to run with at the start since they mass start both the half marathon and full runners so you can run with a bunch of half marathons until the split off point. However after the split off point, it can be lonely which I don't want to have to do again like I did at Niagara.

TO course has more aid stations, I think. They are advertising 20 aid stations total whereas Mississauga is advertising every 4 km (or about 10-11). I don't know if I can rely on these numbers. I know that the TO course has run out of cups in the past and an easy way to get around this is to remove aid stations. No one really keeps track of these things on race day so I don't know how realistic the 20 number is.

In terms of race day logistics, TO start line is closer to where I live whereas Mississauga requires me to drive across the city.  Both races start at 7:30 so there's no benefit there though I'd have to get up earlier to do Mississauga due to the travel time.

So having considered all that, it looks like TO has most things going for it, with the one exception of the weather. Up until today, weather forecast for next Sunday was 30km/hr winds from the west which is a tad on the strong side.  Both courses have parts where they run in the westernly direction. It's just that the TO course has more. The TO course is a net west direction route since the finish line is west of where it starts.  On the other hand Mississauga is a net east course since the finish line is east of the start. Also a big chunk of the Mississauga westernly route is at the start, where there's a lot more people (from the half) that one can use to block the wind.  Also in the MIssissauga course, there are no more westernly parts after the 25km mark. The TO course on the other hand is all west from 21 to 35k with only the last 7 km or so with a tail wind. There would in theory be some people to block the wind during this 14k stretch, but not as many people as there would be in Mississauga (at the start).

Having just checked the weather now, they are forecasting a 10km/hr wind now from the east. Now this would put TO ahead for sure. The forecast is also showing a low temperature of 9C with a high of 19C and sunny. That's a bit too warm for my liking.  Maybe a nice slow easternly wind wouldn't be too bad towards the later stages of the race to help cool off.

So what this all means is, well I don't know.  If the weather forecast stays the way it is, TO will be a slight favorite. If the wind switches back to from the  west, then I don't know.  I just may have to rely on flipping a coin at some point. 


Robin said...

Good luck with the decision...let us know what you decide. Either way, good luck with the race!