This past Saturday, I ran the 5k distance at the Toronto Carnival Run in downtown Toronto. As I do with my other race reviews, I’ll break this down into sections: race kit pick-up, the race itself, expo, and expectations that I had for the race.
Race Kit Pick-Up
The race kit pick-up was located at a speciality running store not too far from the race location called The Runners Shop. Although I have heard of the store, I haven’t been to it and didn’t quite know its location. I got an email from Race Roster saying that race kit pick-up was on the Thursday/Friday before the race from 10:00am to 8:00pm. Since Daniel and I were planning on going downtown for dinner on the Friday, I figured I would just swing by and meet him after. According to Google Maps, the store was only a short walk from the subway station so I was keeping my eyes peeled for any signage. Eventually, I saw a sign in front of an office building that said, “Toronto Carnival Run Race Kit Pick-Up Here” and then store hours beneath it which stated that the store closed at 6:00. By this point, it was 6:25. Panicked, I called Daniel (I’m not even sure why, it’s not like he could’ve done anything about the situation). Race Roster says that you can only pick up your kit on race day if you’re an out-of-town resident and since I’m not, I was kind of screwed. Since Daniel wasn’t at our meet up destination, I decided to grab a latte at a coffee shop next door and start walking over. Once I left the coffee shop, I saw a couple leaving the office building with what seemed to be race kits. I raced in side, (along with my London Fog), and saw that there was a table set up outside the store with race kits. I explained to the person who was manning the station what happened to me and she said that a couple other people have had the same issue. On the upside, they were handing out coupons for their store, so that was a nice bonus. In this section, the suggestion would be to have better signage that doesn’t confuse racers.
The Race Itself
So much energy!! Because the race was carnival inspired, (in light of Caribana being around the corner), there was plenty of calypso and soca music to get people amped. Dione Mason got the crowd warmed up before the 10k group took off at 8:00am and she did a great job. The 5k group (me) was 15 minutes after that and 1k kids run was 10 minutes after that.
The race started at Inukshuk Park and ran along the Martin Goodman Trail. The nice part about this leg of the trail, is that it runs alongside Ontario Place so it’s pretty scenic. There were dragon boaters out on the water as well as the set up for the Toronto Triathlon Festival. One day. A girl can dream, right?
The 5k course was an out-and-back and had only 22ft of elevation gain so it was relatively flat.
The only thing I didn’t like about the course was that since it’s a public trail, there were plenty of run clubs, single runners, and bikers in addition to the racers on the trail. More often than not the trails are public and not blocked off during races so there’s other runners on the course, but this time it was really noticeable. At one point in the trail, there’s a fork and it’s difficult to tell which path you’re supposed to take, especially if you’re following people that you think are part of the race but in fact are not.
There wasn’t much of an expo at the race. There were a few companies there handing out samples, (Vita Coco and Larabar), as well as Triangle Physiotherapy giving out free massages. The line was forever long for that so I didn’t bother sticking around.
I was hoping to run a negative split with my overall average pace being 9:40/mi. I was able to hold that negative split until the end of mile two where I slowed down a bit. This was ultimately my downfall. I was hoping for a sub 30:00 time, however I came up short with a chip time of 30:30 and an average pace of 30:50…so close! My 5k pr before this was 32:00, so although I beat my pr, I didn’t hit my goal time.
Would I do this race again? Probably! I’m curious to see what the 10k route is like. I’ll have to try it next time!
-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy