Beaches Spring Sprint 2024 brings out hundreds of racers in competition

Hundreds packed Balmy Beach Park for the annual event

runners on the beaches boardwalk for the 2024 Beaches Spring Sprint
Runners prepare for the 2024 Beaches Spring Sprint on April 6, 2024. (Ethan Davenport/UTTC) 

Balmy Beach Park was full of action early in the morning last Saturday as racers descended on the boardwalk, getting ready to take on the annual Beaches Spring Sprint.

Competitors, both professionals and amateurs alike, made their way to the starting point at Leuty Pavilion, as the races commenced. While the races (5 kilometre walk or run, and a 2 km route for kids or seniors) are of a friendly nature, for some, a lot of work can go into competing.

“The level of difficulty varies depending on the individual. Many of the runners at this race belonged to a club that trains all year long. For these runners, completing the race is easy, but achieving a personal best time for the distance is hard,” Jimmy Semes, a racer and coach at Boardwalk RC, said.

Semes detailed some of the training process in getting fit for the race. “Most competitive runners will do two to three days of fast running, and two to four days of easy running. To achieve their best, factors like training, fitness, weather and course difficulty will have an effect. Luckily, on April 6, the weather was great. The course is mostly easy; the only slow points are the two sharp turns.”

The sprint captured a large turnout, with 467 participants registered for the event, and 436 finishes. A spokesperson for the Beaches Recreation Centre said it was “a good turnout historically,” with the funds raised helping to support recreation programs.

Race results

In the 5 km run, Ethan Davenport of the University of Toronto Track Club won with a gun time of 15 minutes, 11 seconds. David Jiang finished second with a time of 15:29, and Saed Griffith, last year’s winner, placed third with a time of 15:34.

On his win, Davenport said he learned from previous races in his attempts to win the race this time around.

“This year, I stayed relaxed going out on the boardwalk for the first two kilometres, and then I made a big move from two to three kilometres to try to get away. The move worked, so I just had to keep the pressure on all the way back to the finish … the move took its toll and by the fourth kilometre, I was ready for the finish line to come. Luckily it was enough on the day to stay clear,” Davenport said.

The 5 km walk was won by Peter Harris with a time of 42:15. 2023’s winner, Patrick Owen, finished second this year at 43:09, with 2023 runner-up, Chris Damaren, in third at 44:33.

William Potts was the winner of the 2 km run, with a winning time of 7:51. Potts finished second in last year’s race. Hunter Boyd and Evelyn Thompson rounded out the winners podium.

The race, which originated in 1987, started from Lee Avenue, westward along the Boardwalk, headed east towards Martin Goodman Trail and back to the start at the Boardwalk at the beach.

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Posted: Apr 9 2024 9:00 am
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