After the Toronto marathon
I’m back online after a very busy three days at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I spent Friday and Saturday at the marathon expo, where I gave a couple of Science of Running talks, sold some books, and had a chance to talk to a whole bunch of Sweat Science readers. Those of you who were racing, I hope your day went well and you weren’t too buffeted by the winds!
This morning, I had the opportunity to ride in the truck driving in front of the leaders. My plan was to ride until about 20K, then hop out to follow the Canadians for the rest of the race. As it happened, Reid Coolsaet foiled my plan by hanging with the Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders even though they went out at a sizzling sub-2:07 marathon pace. I figured I’d wait until he blew up — and given the splits of 30:16 (10K), 1:03:58 (21.1K) and 1:31:38 (30K — seven seconds faster than the Canadian 30K record, as it happens), I kept thinking that would happen any minute. But it never did. Despite fighting a brutal headwind for the last 7K or so, Reid held on for third place in 2:10:55, with his teammate Eric Gillis also dipping under the Canadian Olympic standard by exactly one second in 2:11:28.
It was an exciting and inspiring morning. And the best part about it was Reid’s seemingly crazy decision to go out on pace for a five-minute personal best. As Canadian Running magazine’s Scott Leitch recounts, it was a last-minute decision. In fact, he was lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, mulling over the long-established plan to go through halfway in 1:04:40. Finally, he headed downstairs to the hotel bar to find his coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, and said:
I don’t want to sound stupid, but I want to get up front and mix it up. And I want you to tell me if that’s insane or not.
Scott-Thomas asked him how he felt. Reid said, “I feel great.” And that was that. In the end, it was a smart decision given the weather conditions. He was able to shelter in the lead group for nearly the whole race, whereas he would have been all by himself in the wind had he gone out at a more conservative pace. And it leaves Canadian running fans wondering: what will he run when he gets a shot under better conditions?
It was very difficult to get a clear shot from the media truck, but here’s a couple of minutes of footage from the start, the 28K mark, and the finish for Reid, Eric, and Dylan Wykes, whose windy 2:12:57 is a very good sign for his next crack at standard: