Having high quality training facilities here at home is critical for our Canadian athletes.
Without these places to train, our athletes can’t be expected to perform at the level we all hope they can achieve on the world stage. Over the years, it’s been demonstrated that hosting international events in our cities is a great way to get these facilities built.
The legacy of the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto is a wonderful swimming and diving facility in Scarborough. Our track cyclists continue to benefit from a new velodrome in Milton. The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver brought the Whistler Sliding Centre where our bobsled, luge and skeleton competitors can train on a world-class track in Canada. The Olympic Oval in Calgary, built for the 1988 Olympics helped create a generation of exceptional Canadian speed skaters.
There aren’t really any specialized training facilities needed for marathoners outside the normal athletics facilities for the training and cross-training that these runners do. There’s no specific building or track required like there is for other sports.
One of the biggest things we can do to help push our Canadian marathoners forward is to host high quality races right here in Canada.
Is it any surprise that our Canadian marathoners have grown in quality as races like the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and other Canada Running Series events have done likewise?
Top Races are Training Facilities
For marathoners, the race itself is a key training facility. Running shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world is where they learn to run their best. It’s a race that involves tactics and knowing exactly what you are (and aren’t) capable of as you make your way through 42.195km.
Canada now has two marathons with an IAAF Gold Label designation. The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in May is one of them, and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October is the other. The Gold Label signals that a race is of the highest quality, meeting a long list of requirements. Both races attract a very high-quality field of world class marathoners and that affords our Canadian marathoners a chance to run with the very best in the world right here at home.
Almost as importantly, having these events in Canadian cities bring more spectators to the sport of marathoning. Having Canadians out supporting and cheering on our athletes elevates the sport and brings awareness and funding to our athletes.
When you watched Lanni Marchant and Krista Duchene bringing home a 24th and 35th place finish in Rio, and when you watch Ried Coolsaet and Eric Gillis next Sunday, look to the Canada Running Series and the Ottawa Race Weekend and tip your hat to them for opening up our sport and creating international quality running events in our own cities.