I’ve participated in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) three times. Twice at the half marathon distance and last year, the full marathon. It’s my favourite race of the year and being a flat course, it provides motivation to push for a personal best. If you don’t know the race, the STWM is Canada Running Series‘ marquee event where top runners from all across the world come to put their talent to the test as well as thousands more of all levels. I will be participating in this years half marathon again so I took the opportunity to witness a pretty unique event.
I’ve never attended a race’s official medal reveal, I’ve always just looked up images of it before a race to know what was waiting for me at the finish line. So I was pretty excited to be among the first to see it.
The unveiling was preceded by a 10, 5 and 3 kilometer training run through Toronto’s High Park, beginning and ending at Henderson Brewery by the running group RunTOBeer. I’d participated with RunTOBeer on a couple runs this year and I’ve found the members of it incredibly kind and welcoming. So naturally I wanted to join them on this wonderful event.
After a quick bag drop off I joined up with the 10k group and we set off. I predicted the run would end up being a bit of a warm and humid mess as Toronto has dealt with a lot of heat recently, but as we went along it wasn’t as bothersome as I expected because as a group we weren’t pushing a hard pace. It was still a sweaty run, but it was never overwhelming. The size of the group was quite large and along the run I was able to meet many fellow runners. RunTOBeer as a group is very social so it’s encouraged to run with the other members and go at a conversational pace, and talk with each other.
After a few of High Park’s wonderful hills (/sarcasm), we soon made it to the 5k mark and meeting place for the 5k group of runners. After a little break to make sure we all were together as well as staying hydrated, we went back inside the park for two more kilometers before heading right back to the same place to meet the 3k group and head back to the brewery.
We were greeted by some much-needed water which, despite the group’s alcoholic motivating aspect, definitely had to come first after all that sweating. We doubled back to the finish area and formed a “tunnel” of runners to high-five and encourage every single runner upon their completion. That tunnel is one of my favourite aspects of RunTOBeer, everyone supports everyone.
Once the final participant ran through the tunnel we all lined up for our reward: beer. I’d never had Henderson’s before but I am a new fan! We then all gathered around a mysterious display to check out this years finisher’s medal. With a countdown from 10 they pulled the cloth away and the unveiling was complete!
The medal is definitely one of the best I’ve seen. The imagery used for this year’s medal was that of Toronto’s newest landmark – the large TORONTO sign at Nathan Philips Square. Utilizing multiple colours for the letters, this medal certainly stands out when compared to the medals of years past. There are three different base colours for the medals which signify each race distance; gold for the marathon, silver for the half marathon and bronze for the 5k. The gold certainly looks the best out of all of them and it immediately gave me regret for not taking the plunge into another full marathon this year.
After a few minutes of frantic picture-taking from all in attendance, we were introduced to a few of the STWM “digital champions” who will write about their training and promote the race through their blogs and social media platforms. They are all raising money for great causes as well so be sure to give what you can to help out!
The unveiling was capped off with a few free entries for a couple lucky people in attendance! I was not one of the lucky few but I had already signed up and gladly parted with my money to take part in my favourite race.
This was a wonderfully planned event and I’d love to be at more unveilings in the future.