By Paul Gains
Running fans across the globe will once again be able to catch all the action at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – an IAAF Gold Label Race – next Sunday, October 21.
The event is being live streamed on STWM.ca and on CBCSports.ca, athleticscanada.tv and on Twitter’s Periscope, beginning at 8:15 a.m. EDT. There will be no geo-blocking, meaning you can watch all the action from anywhere in the world.
Thanks to a continued partnership with Twitter Canada, live streaming of the event on Periscope was first introduced last year and significantly expanded the reach of the event. In 2017, more than 164,000 live viewers streamed the race. An even larger audience is expected to stream the event this year, with such an exciting elite field. Viewers who want to tune in via Twitter can find the Periscope live stream at twitter.com/runcrs starting at 8:15 a.m. ET. Periscope viewers can also enjoy an in-app comments stream where they can ask questions or make comments about the race. The STWM team will be on hand to engage and join in the fun!
The marathon will feature world-beating athletes, including two-time Toronto Waterfront champion Philemon Rono (Kenya), 2012 Olympic gold medallist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), New Zealand record-holder Jake Robertson, and Canada’s Cam Levins, who will make his marathon debut in Toronto and could break the 43-year-old Canadian record. The deep women’s field is comprised of defending champion Marta Megra (Ethiopia), Commonwealth Games medallist Jess Trengove (Australia), Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso, a 2:20 marathoner, and Canadian Olympian Krista DuChene, who finished 3rd at the 2018 Boston Marathon.
The broadcast will once again be produced by – Astrodog Media, and will include nine live on-course cameras to capture all the big moments in the race. This year, the broadcast will also show live aerial drone footage, sponsored by KLM airlines. Other technological advances for the 2018 live stream include live tracking of a team of GPS-enabled runners_10 individuals who will be fitted with GPS transmitters so their progress can be followed throughout the race course.
Journalist Michael Doyle returns to the commentary team for his sixth year. Sharing the on-air coverage will be Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant and British announcer Geoff Wightman.
With a laugh Doyle outlines how far the production of this event has come in his time.
“The first time we were outside on a foldout table and chairs and we had one tiny computer monitor that was showing one feed of the broadcast,” he recalls. “We were under a tarp watching the broadcast calling it as we saw the pictures. Now it’s this crazy, massive production, a professional broadcast.”
Doyle says he is excited by the composition of both the international and domestic fields and promises the coverage will have something for running fans of all descriptions. And, once again, the event serves as Athletics Canada’s national championship.
“I think this year is the deepest most interesting and most competitive field they have put together, both from an international and domestic perspective,” he declares.
“I am most interested in the potential for the (Canadian) men’s marathon record (2:10:09) going down. I think there is a real possibility that someone like Cam Levins or Reid Coolsaet could get under 2:10. It will be cool sitting next to Lanni Marchant to see that happen because she did that herself in 2013 and knows how life changing that can be for an athlete and how special it is for it to happen on Canadian soil.”
Wightman’s voice has been heard in stadia around the world. He is widely considered one of the foremost experts in athletics.
The former head of Scottish Athletics has been the announcer at the Olympic Games, IAAF World Championships and Commonwealth Games. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia he had the good fortune to announce the men’s 1,500m final and the awards ceremony that followed. It was a race in which his now 24-year-old son, Jake Wightman, took the bronze for Scotland.
“I don’t do a lot of TV. I have done bits and some of the stuff I am doing at the moment is where you are announcing to a live audience and you’re also doing the web stream at the same time,” he adds. “Two or three weeks ago in Copenhagen I did that for the half marathon there.”
“I think there are a lot of sub plots within the race. One of the big stories of the day would be if Cam Levins could get Drayton’s record. That has almost assumed mythical status hasn’t it? It goes back so far. I think that plays well. A repeat win for ‘Baby Police’ (Philemon Rono), I think some of the Canadian females. It’s great.”
Although she would prefer to be out there racing, Lanni Marchant will bring her international experience as a Canadian Olympian to the coverage.
“I am more interested to see how Jess Trengove and Krista fit into the race,” she reveals adding with a laugh. “I have raced Jess plenty of times. She passed me to take a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I finished 4th.
“I think any time Krista DuChene lines up she is one of our biggest names in Canadian distance running. She is a hometown hero. It’s exciting to see her out there, especially after her amazing Boston finish. It’s exciting to see what she follows that up with.”
Athletics fans will be afforded the opportunity to see how these sub plots evolve during the three hours plus coverage.