Non-Running Preparation for the Marathon

on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 8:56 PM

It was around this time last year that I was trying to decide which race to do, either Toronto or Mississauga.  I'm still waiting to decide and will wait until the weather and wind forecasts firm up a bit. Last year, my only concern was the weather with a little concern about the course profile.  Since that time, I've learned that I also have to be concerned about the race organization.  While deciding last year that I wouldn't do Toronto Goodlife again, I've had some time to reflect and have had a change of heart.

The big issue I had last year was the markers which I had figured out were actually placed for the 2013 course and as a result were 300m earlier than they should have been.  The length of the course being 20m longer than it should have been, I've decided I could live with as it would only add a little bit onto the time, which are easily made up for the fact that the elevation profile of Toronto offers an additional 35m elevation drop over Mississauga.

So I came to the conclusion that if this years route was the same as last years route, then I would be fine with doing Toronto again.  Even if they decide to bungle up the placement of the markers again (which I can easily see them doing again since the race maps they have on the website still refer to the 2013 course), I realize that I can compensate for this by just using the painted lines on the road rather than the signs, which is something I should have adjusted to doing last year.

The big question that still remains is whether the course this year would in fact be the same as last year. There's no indication that the route is going to be different, the course certificaiton listed on the Goodlife website is stated to be "CAN-2012-025-BDC" which if you look this up on the Athletics Canada website refers to 5k race in Strathroy. As mentioned above, the website also has a race map of the 2013 course, which is not the same route that has been run in the past two years. The website prefaces this by saying "Note that these maps are only intended to be a guide – all courses are certified and may vary slightly from this representation."  No kidding.

I think a fair assumption would be that the most recently measured course is the one that the organizers intend to use, which would be one measured in 2014 (ON-2012-029a-BDC), which is the one we ran last year.  The only reason I can see it changing is if there's some sort of construction on the route that would require them to detour the route at the last moment.  If they had to, they might add on to the course, or possibly (like in 2014) subtract from the course.  While I don't mind running a short marathon course (assuming no one finds out), I'd hate to have to run significantly more. 

To ease my fears, I decided today to drive the entire course to see if there might be any issue and I'm glad to say there doesn't appear to be any. I especially scouted out the turnaround at the Humber Bay Park east park.  It appears that someone had already gone through most of the course and painted the curb lines onto the road where the markers *should* be placed and they match up with the 2014 measured course. The line paintings are bright orange this year and should be easily discernible.  The other thing I want to be able to do if I run Toronto is to figure out early if the markers are misplaced. While I couldn't see the 1k and 2k painted lines while driving, thanks to Google's streetview, I figured out  the locations of where the 1k and 2k markers should have been based on  these pics taken in May 2015 which should correspond to last year course (and presumably this years).

1k Marker Location, Streetview Link

2k marker location. StreetView Link

So if the 1k and 2k marker signs aren't at these two locations (or relatively close since they are in the middle of intersections) then I'll know within the first 10 minutes of the race that the markers are f'ed up again.  But at least this time, I'll be ready for it!


Robin said...

Now that's what I call race prep :) Good luck on Sunday. I'll be at Mississauga myself. Weather forecast lookin' good so far.

Arcane said...

Thanks, good luck to you too! Looks like it's going to be windy. From the east.