Record-setting race in Toronto on Sunday

[audio:|titles=Alexis_ScotiabankMarathon_Podcast]Hamilton’s Reid Coolsaet will remember Sunday’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon for a long time.

The Canadian runner set the new mark for the fastest marathon by a Canadian on home soil, finishing with a time of two hours, 11 minutes and 22 seconds.

Coolsaet was happy with his time, qualifying him for the 2012 Olympics, but had the all-time record for Canada on his mind as he was getting close to the end.

“Part of me wanted to go for the Canadian record,” Coolsaet said, of Jerome Drayton’s time of 2:10:09, set in 1975. “[It] was still within reach at halfway. But that was a little tough.

“I tried to rally to stay on Olympic standard, and I had to push those last 2K to make sure I got under. With 1K to go, I looked at my watch and thought, ‘I’ve got to buckle down here.’ ”

The previous record for the fastest marathon by a Canadian in Canada was set in Toronto in 1995 by Peter Fonseca. He ran a 2:11:34. Now an Ontario Cabinet Minister, Fonseca was at the race on Sunday, ready to congratulate Coolsaet on his new record.

Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara and Sharon Cherop set the records for fastest men’s and women’s marathons ever in Canada, with their respective times of 2:07:57 and 2:22:42.

Mungara broke his own record, set in 2009, when he ran a 2:08:32. The win was his third consecutive at the waterfront race.

Kenyans swept the men’s podium, with Jafred Chirchir in second at 2:08:09, and Daniel Rono taking third place with a 2:08:14. Rono also won the 2006 Scotiabank event.

The Toronto race has been won by Kenyan runners for the last five years.
The top four men all ran this year’s race faster than the record Mungara set in 2009, which might be attributed to a new route, and the good conditions that runners had on Sunday, with no wind and cool temperatures.

The event welcomed over 22,000 runners, encompassing not only the marathon, but the half-marathon and five-kilometre events as well. People came from as far as Russia and Japan, in attempt to qualify for more presitigous races, or for the 2012 Games.

Race director Alan Brookes is hoping that the positive results will help to spread the word of Toronto as a marathon town.

“Over the past few years we’ve come to believe we could have a marathon in Toronto that is every bit as good as a marathon in Chicago, Los Angeles, Rome or Amsterdam,” Brookes told media at the marathon.

Coolsaet thinks that the records set this year will help bring runners to the city.

“It kind of puts the marathon on the map,” Coolsaet told the Star. “This marathon’s got a lot of momentum going forward.”