Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to host World Masters Athletics Championships on Oct. 21

World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships
Photo: Canada Running Series.

It’s the exciting race within a race that you’ve didn’t know was happening. This year’s World Masters Athletics (WMA) Marathon Championships event will be held in conjunction with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 21.

The showcase of masters running at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is fitting, given the legacy of Ed Whitlock, who famously broke three hours in the marathon running 2:54:48 when he was 73. Then, at 85, Whitlock became the oldest person to ever break four hours in the marathon, doing so in Toronto in 2016.

Ed Whitlock

Photo: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

“I’m really delighted that we’re able to host the World Masters Marathon Championships,” Canada Running Series race director Alan Brookes says. “Along with the Athletics Canada National Championships, it certainly adds to the status of Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It especially underscores the global prestige of our event that annually has runners from more than 70 countries in our field of 25,000+ runners. With Ed Whitlock’s legacy and his spirit always with us, I can’t think of a better race to showcase masters running over the ultimate road racing distance. Just as it became a “thing” for so many of the young bucks to see if they could race with 70- or 80-year-old Ed along Toronto’s Waterfront, I’m personally fascinated to see how our strong, local, young marathoners will match up against some of the world’s best veteran men and women.”

The event sets the city up nicely for 2020, when Toronto hosts the World Master Athletic Championships. Interestingly, the masters competition is not the only race within the greater race. The STWM also hosts the Canadian Marathon Championships.

As a global championship, the World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships will feature athletes from around the world, including Australia’s Shaun Creighton, who continues to win races outright in his 50s. In his prime, Creighton ran 2:10:22, in 1997. Recently, the 51-year-old won the Perth Marathon in just over 2:30.

“I’ve heard good things about Toronto and the [Scotiabank] Toronto Waterfront Marathon,” he says. “I enjoy running relatively flat marathons, with a good atmosphere and in cooler conditions, so the Toronto Waterfront Marathon ticks all those boxes. However, I haven’t travelled overseas to compete in about 15 years. When I learnt that the Toronto Waterfront Marathon will also incorporate the 2018 World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships, that was the deciding factor in electing to make the trip from Australia to run Toronto in October.”

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How does Creighton, a multiple-time Olympian, still run fast, and win races?

“You need to find a suitable balance between harder efforts and recovery, which is the same at any age,” he advises. “As you get older, I think you need an increased focus on recovery. I’ve always been an advocate of running at a relatively easy pace a few days per week, but I think plenty of easy running is even more important as you get older. I’ve found long slow running improves performance with limited risk, whereas more intense training can increase risk of injury. To assist with recovery (and help avoid injury) I do a weekly Pilates session and get physical therapy treatment at least once per week (and usually twice per week), irrespective of whether I need it. I see it being analogous to driving a sports car. As the sports car starts to age, it should still perform well, but you may need to focus a bit more time and money keeping it well maintained.”

Oh, and Whitlock’s 70-74 age-group world record mentioned earlier? Eugene Dykes, a 70-year-old, who ran 2:57:43 at the Rotterdam Marathon, will too be running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and is within three minutes of Whitlock’s most famous record. (Keep your eyes open for more on that to come.)

Entrants in the WMA section of this event must be registered with their national masters/veterans athletics body. Additional details on the race can be found here.

Stay tuned to as we profile notable Canadians in the coming months competing at the 2018 World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships.