Scenic Downsview Park is the site for the race with its paved paths, man-made lake and the “Mounds” (hills) of Downsview Park (you go around them, not over them). You”ll hit one water/aid station along the route.
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Start Date/Time September 13, 2014 @ 8:30 am
End Date/Time N/A
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First the pick up for Fri. at Running Rm. was cancelled, no one showed up! A group of us were very annoyed, we don't live in that area. The after race food was pretty lame. It's Sun. night and the race results still have not been posted. This was my second year running this race, I will not be back. There are too many well run races out there.
The course setup had a good challenge with a big if hill and flat ground, much tougher than the scotia bank 5k I did. What made it more challenging was the wind, cold and spitting rain :) but I was happy over all beating my PB time by 7sec on a tougher event. Good job on a well put together event...
Great race,it blew me away!
See you next year.
I was second in my age category but at 78 I can only improve.
I enjoyed the race and the course - the hills were a bit tough but the challenge was good. Excellent post-race food and swag - the hot soup was great on a cold day. But, only 12 port-a-potties for over a thousand people? Really?
This was a great race, but boy was it cold and windy. A nice course with a few hills/incline. Great volunteers, they were extremely friendly and very helpful.
The soup offered after the race was such a nice touch!
A wonderful way to end the season and the weather was a perfect way to say bye-bye to another running season. I'm sure the organizers will address the minor signage issue and it will be bigger and better next year. A challenging run and challanging weather is a nice change. All the best, thank you and see you next year.
I thought this was a great race! Super friendly volunteers, sweet goodie bag (which everybody said would be the case) and interesting & different course. Some of the technical features of the course like distance markers may not have been as consistent as they could have been, but the overall 21.1 was accurate.
I was a little nervous leading up to the race because of some of the criticisms from last year but I was happily surprised. I would run this again (hopefully with less wind next time)!
Well organized, good sized race and nice to have a warm space to wait before and after - although it was a bit crowded this year compared to last year.
I've run this both years and find it a challenging course with all the twists and 3 180-degree turnarounds. Still it was good enough for a PB last year and almost-PB this year. Besides the planes on the runway it is not very scenic - the words windswept, desolate and industrial-wasteland come to mind.
I'm not sure I believe the complaints about the distance markers - I'm pretty sure I saw them all - and let's all remember that in any discrepancy between the GPS and the course distance, the certified - measured course wins.
Next year I will likely try a different fall half, just for a change.
It is obvious the organizers are listening to us runners: this second year was better than the first, most of the kinks were ironed out: the start, by introducing corrals, the nice and unique race shirt, more airplanes on route. In my opinion the only two negatives still there: the lack of pace bunnies, specially with the terrible weather (high winds) it would have been nice to have somebody to help keep a constant pace, and the small-overcrowded gathering area. However, still deserves 5 bananas! This race is small enough that you get that family/camaraderie feeling, but big enough that you are not running by yourself.
Volunteered at this race and was not impressed with the organization. No training, no pre or post race communication, and no one bothered to even check if I was at the right marshalling location - which was hard to find and in the middle of nowhere.
After standing alone in the cold and wind for two hours, and couldn't even get a coffee. Will not volunteer here again.
was a great day even though the weather was a little cold and windy. My son and I found the 5k course fun and challenging! See you next year! thanks for a great morning :)
I ran the 5k and really enjoyed it!
1. Enjoyed the course a lot. It's going to be really nice when the park matures a bit.
2. Corrals! Thank you for having corrals, it made the start go very smoothly.
3. Nice t shirt & medal, terrific swag bag, probably the best I got all year.
1. The wind! Can't really fault the race organizers for that one, though.
Great job to the organizers, I thought this race was very enjoyable.
This is a nice sized race at the end of the season. It reaks of friendliness and aligns itself well with Remembrance Day via branding, music, bagpipes etc. Volunteers were excellent [Lots of them and helpful]. The course is mostly flat and the rollers at beginning and end were runnable and not overwhelming. Was a tough day running the half with the wind, but for most people this probably isn't a race looking for a PB. It is an end of season run in a friendly environment. Having the two races opens it up to families as well. I hope it continues to do well.
I enjoyed the 5K. This was my very first one. It was cold. I dropped my son off so he could not be late for the start of the run. I found parking, then got to the start line a couple of minutes late. Last one to start and last on to finish. I will come back next year to run it.
One of the Last races this season. Did the 5K.
Stuff we liked:
Nice shirt ..... good bright colour ... useful for running
on roads to be seen
Terrific Medal ... one of the nicest ones we got this year.
The soup .... it was hot when we got it. Loved the fact
it had barley in it
The chocolate oatmeal cookies.
The bagpiper ... kudos to him for standing out there in
Race day pickup. We were from Far Far Away
and it was nice to not have to drive in the
Baggage check was nice and worked well.
Stuff we were not thrilled about:
Safety. A distance marker had gone right over
onto the course and my husband almost hit it.
They needed to be staked down better
Accuracy. We did not see many distance
Running on gravel
It was not a flat course ... should
mention that it was a rolling hill
Not a lot of spectators on course
cheering people on. Cheer
people with signs would be nice
placed around the course.
It would have been nice to see big planes
Not sure if we will be back ...
but thank you for the experience.
not blown away
Overall, the race was okay, but not over the top. A good basic race.
However, the markers need to be worked on. The only one I saw was at 3 km. Wind or no wind, they need to be there and able to be seen. I liked the fast awards. No losing half a day, which is great. But what was this about planes and an airport? The course is closed, up and down, and boring !! The marshals need to be more involved. Finally, the grab bag and t-shirt are top notch. The design??? Sorry, but it was pretty sad. Better luck with the weather next year. I'll be back. I have to improve my time!
I was disappointed with the organization of the race. the post race food was decent, however the soup was cold, and i ran the 5km so there is no reason for it to have been as cold as it was. The 5km was on the "loop" trail which was disappointing because I was hoping that we (the 5km runners) would have been able to run by some of the planes.
I will not run this race again
1. Atmosphere - Liked the small race atmosphere and general friendly energy at the packet pick-up area. The Remembrance Day acknowledgment was well handled as well. Good timing to end off the racing season.
2. Packet gear - I particularly liked the hat - I have enough shirts! Nice medal as well.
3. Aid stations - Well spaced and frequent enough.
1. Course - As other have already mentioned, NOT flat (with a particularly tough final hill near the finish) and not particularly scenic either. I wish there were more planes on display, but we mostly running from one concrete lot to another then to a park area with rolling hills.
2. Km markers - Inaccurate and infrequent.
Good effort for an inaugural event, but definitely a few things to work on. Would consider attending again if organizers addressed some of the hiccups.
I was a volunteer at this inaugural run and despite a few glitches I think it promises to be a great annual fall event. Maybe we didnt need so many cans of beans opened though..Great swag
Overall, I thought this was a good race and a reasonably good route.
It was nice to be primarily on a closed course, with the exception of a few kms that wound through a residential section near Downsview. Most of the running surface was paved, although there were a few stretches that were a little rough. Overall, the rough patches were modest in comparison to the nicer, smooth surfaces.
It was nice to see some military en route, since it was Remembrance Day. That won't happen on the calendar again for a long time, but when it does, it was a nice touch. I did think the moment of silence prior to the race was respectful.
For me, race day is race day. I actually don't care if there are planes, fire trucks, or other awesome things to see while running. I'm there to put my training to the test, and I'm not checking out the scenery. I care about a good running surface, a safe route, good marshals and a timed race. It was nice to have a plane there, but I personally wouldn't care if there were none. (In a race earlier in the year I missed the presence of a fire truck entirely - I'm just not interested).
I found the marshals to be good, with reasonably clear instructions about where to go, which side of pylons to run along, etc.
The race seemed to start a few minutes late. Not a biggie, but when you're standing in the coral, being antsy, a couple of minutes is a longish time.
Like many others, I found the km markers to range from as much as 400m to 150m off my Garmin. I wasn't alone as I heard many other watches beeping around the same time mine did. My half-marathon was 21.62 km in the end, although I'm quite prepared to eat about 150m of that due to my own wandering, from the fatigue that set in eventually.
Still, the added distance boosted my confidence with my finish time, and give me the inspiration to consider this race (a PB) a stepping stone on my way to a new PB in 2013. Thankfully, I ran with a pacer who decided to trust the route markers instead of the Garmins, did the math on my behalf and still managed to bring me across the line with room to spare.
Yes, there were some rolling hills, but they weren't close in rise to some of the hills that you'll encounter in other races in the city. The finish line hill was tough because it was the finish line. Despite my moments of hating it, we all get a badge of pride for making it and crossing the line.
The medal is awesome. I liked the hat too. The poppy sticker also rocked.
It was a nice sized race. There were enough folks to keep the competitive juices flowing, but not too many that you were jockeying for position too often.
My chip didn't fire at the start line, but Chip Time Results had the situation rectified by the end of day, November 11. Very fast response time from those guys.
Overall, I think this was a good inaugural year. Congratulations to Michael and all the volunteers who made it happen.
A few suggestions for future years:
a) It wasn't crystal clear (at least to me) that there were awards and prizes being handed out in the Discovery Centre. I hear it was a bit of a ghost town in there. It would have been good to promote this a bit more.
b) There really are no race photos. There were photographs that picked up the spirit of the day, but there aren't race photos where athletes can search for their individual shots. I actually don't care if there are or aren't, but I do think it would be useful to let athletes know what to expect for future years. Those who are keen to have their personal race documented should bring along a cheerleader friend with a camera.
c) An elevation guide on the site next year would help quiet the complaints about the hills.
d) Not sure if there can be increased opportunities for spectators along the route. It's always nice to hear the encouragement of complete strangers, even if you're breathing so hard you can't acknowledge them.
This was not a scenic run, up and down a runway and through back parking lots is not scenic. I did the run because I thought that it would be cool to run near some vintage plans which there was but one plane. I heard latter the museum closed in March of this year
Baked beans and potato chips afterwards is not my idea of recovery food after a run.
This race did not rank in my top 5. The course was awful. Not only was there far too many hills, but doubling back on a figure eight course had us in view of the finish line at three different intervals, and I found that soul-crushing. The signage was confusing and the long stretches in the restricted areas was too isolated from spectators. As well, from what I understand, the course was actually .2 kms longer than it should have been, so to those who have their race time down to the minute, this must have been frustrating. I very much enjoyed the food; beans are a great post run food! The door prizes were good too. I had a friend pick up my package for me, so I can't comment on that, but I can say that the swag was good. I didn't care for the hat though. I thought the parking situation was good, and getting around was easy, but there wasn't enough facilities for the amount of people at the venue. All in all, I'd have to think twice about doing this race again in the future because the course was not enticing enough to do a second time. Id like to see less back-tracking and more spectators
Technically the 1/2 marathon was mostly flat, 8 of 21km. Everybody had a chance to look at the route and map it themselves to see the elevations if they so wanted. Tougher than expected due to the advertised "mostly flat" - yes, but the course is the course and a challenge should never be turned down..
A little low in the toilet department - yes.
MY biggest complaint would be the NON silence at 11. I understand that we had a momonet prior to the race but the fact that this was Rememberance Day, it was being held on an army base and it was a based on Remeberance Day I found it strange from the time I signed up that the race would still be running at 11 with no time being dedicated to the real time for the moment of silence. I thought that either a start time an hour earlier or after 11 would have been more appropriate.
That aside, I found the race to be a fun race and the volunteers were great. I agree with some of the people that enjoyed the fact that a few of the military personel were out by the vehicles cheering people along, this was more inspiring to me than anything else as my main purpose of entering this race was to pay my respects on Rememberance Day. I don't say this to take away from the job the volunteers were doing as they were doing a great job at the stations and cheeriong people along by calling their names if they could make them out on their bibs.
For a first event I say congratultions and I hope to see more. Hiccups are always expected with any first time and can be rectified with constructive and polite critisism.
1) As most have stated, the course was NOT flat as described on the website. It had the most hills of any 5K I've ever run, and the hill just before the finish line was intense. Nothing wrong with hills, but don't describe it as flat.
2) Distance markers were off by several hundred meters. I can't think of an excuse for this.
3) Marshals at the finishing loop weren't paying attention and I had to (loudly) ask which way to run.
4) There was 1 plane parks "for our viewing pleasure" and it wasn't relevant to the race. No biggie, but disappointing.
5) A 5K race is short enough that laps shouldn't be necessary. Out and back is preferred.
Overall, I had fun and was happy with my time. However, there are many areas for improvement. I'll probably run next year hoping all of these comments have been heard.
I think the most fair way to approach this is to address the race based on how it was promoted, and therefore my impressions compared to those expectations.
From the race's website: (My comments in brackets)
Certified Half Marathon 21.1k route (13.1 miles) and 5k (My Garmin - and others - measured the course over the 21.1k. I was told on facebook by the race organizer that the course was accurate, and that sometimes GPS devices can be inaccurate. So I guess there were a number of inaccurate GPS devices out there. I hugged the pylons and didn't do any bobbing and weaving between people, so I can't place where else the distance comes from.)
Flat & fast course (NOT flat. Not super hilly like the Oasis Zoo Run, but the park section, which we ran twice, had plenty of hill action... including the final stretch to the finish line. Ouch.)
Start & finish inside Downsview Park (Yes, yes it did!)
Run throughout the Park past the new lake, the 'mounds', hangars, soccer fields and more (We sure saw all those things - twice!)
Run past vintage planes and modern Bombardier jets (Not really. I don't fault the race organizers for the fact that there was only one airplane on the course, despite the course map delineating 6 spots where planes and jets would be located. Clearly, this one is on Bombardier, but it was still kind of a bummer. The planes were a big draw for me.)
Free parking (Yes! And it was CLOSE!! Wonderful)
Technical race hat, goodie bag, finisher medal (Nice hat, lots of great treats in the goodie bag - side note, are Werther's Caramelts the new big thing for races? I sure got a lot this season! - and finally, the MEDAL. The medal is GREAT. It is a big part of what drew us to add this race this year as we train for another half in January.)
Remembrance Day ceremony with military personnel, bagpiper & more (Very nice, and very respectful. It was a nice touch.)
Aside from all that:
There were great, supportive volunteers along the course (I was only almost mis-directed one time).
There were a handful of military personnel hanging around the parked military vehicles (including a wee tank) and I got a big kick out of them saying "Good job, ma'am".
The course didn't seem too crowded, despite the narrow pathways (although that could be because we were well in the back of the pack!), so the number of runners felt right.
Having a place indoors to wait for the race, stretch and cool down afterwards was a huge plus.
Things I'd like to see improved?
Get Bombardier to pony up the airplanes
A turnaround chip reader
Reword the race description (some rolling hills through parkland, baby)
The road to the military base was muddy (slippery) and full of holes - obviously the organizers can't go out there and fill the holes themselves, but I hope that the road is in better shape next time
Clear signs (not just volunteers trying to deal with hundreds of runners) showing "1/2 marathon, this way" "5K, second loop, this way" - and maybe clearly colour-code the km signs - they got confusing in the 5k loop.
Overall, I had a good time. The weather happened to be perfect, and so it added to my enjoyment of the race so I was more forgiving than I would have been had it been gross outside. While I had a good time, and enjoyed a PR I'm not sure I'd hurry back next year without some changes.
My absolute biggest disappointment was that @ 11AM, the music continued to blare and the was no moment of silence observed. Yes, you cannot expect the finishers to remain silent as they cross the line, but come on! Wasn't this tagged "A Race To Remember"? Despite all the great efforts of the volunteers and the military presense, I will not run @ Downsview again.
Did the 5K, Yes, I'm slow, but getting to the 1km marker my phone said 12 minutes. So I think the 1k marker was really 1 mile (which would coincide with my actual time for the 5k). It was very demoralizing to see that it took me 12 minutes to do 1km (or so I thought.) Also the 2 loops was confusing and myself and a number of others turned off not knowing that we needed to do another loop. We had to go back,so that wasted time (over a minute for me) and was discouraging knowing the time could not be made up.
On a positive note, I found all of the staff/volunteers wonderful! They were so encouraging and friendly, and there were a lot of them!
Not to mention the great weather :)
Please move the finish line next year so that we don't have to run uphill at the end, that was really hard for me!
Using 2 different GPS systems and some editing and filtering of GPX files, I cannot get the start-finish distance to be any less than 21.49km. Which means, like for others who enjoyed the cool morning to triumph, my PB was even better!
Tough 5km. Was ~ 5.25km according to many at the end of the race. Unfortunate to have a "certified" course be off by as much as 250m. Echo comments made by others about the merge with the 1/2 marathon and inaccurate splits. Not fussed with the hills - that is simply part of racing. Beyond this, good organization, and thank you to all volunteers. Get the course right next year and you will have the start of something special in the future. It is nice to have a good 5km this late in the season.
I liked the race! Everything about it. For an inaugural run it went of smoothly and efficiently. My watch measured 21.2112 km but with how wide some of the race sections were I'm not surprised, and totally think it was tangents vs a mis-measured course. I think the markers may have been off slightly but the course seemed to be the right length. Was it flat, no, but I didn't mind the hills, added to the challenge. I think the volunteers were great, lots of service at the water tables, great race packet and love the hat instead of a shirt! Ran my fastest 1/2 marathon ever (PB by 5 minutes) so no complaints here.
I ran the 5k. The km markers for this race were very confusing, I am still not sure if there were km markers for the 5k race or if I was looking at the km markers for the half. Next year try to avoid having the little loop at the beginning and end of he race. Also, if there is enough room in the park an out and back course would be preferable to the double loop. The exit from the second loop was confusing; I missed it and had to double back.
Good points. Music at the start=awesome, beans, bread, apples, bananas at the end=awesome, the volunteers all helpful and friendly=awesome
Good job for the first time. I will run the race next year hoping you are able to make the 5k course less confusing.
I ran the 5K. I did not like the course at all. It was not flat as advertised. I didn't like running the same loop twice. The KM markers were very confusing on the first lap of the loop. I saw 4km, 18km 3km.
And as for the hill at the end. Who the heck thought of that. I like the medal. The food and goody bag was fine. Toilets-who thought that 10 porta potties was sufficient. Really? Someone needs to rethink that.
Enjoyed running this race...thought it was well organized and the volunteers communicating on the course were great. Only problem was that the km markers were not accurate....just slightly off to the GPS
Some of the makers for the last few km's were either knocked down or missing all together
Would run this again for sure...great season ender after the marathon in Toronto
I ran the 5K as well, found it to be mostly up hill, then found the results on-line to find that someone else has the same bib number as myself and now I do not have a time. I paid good money to run a chipped race.....very disappointing
The course was alright, though not "mostly flat" as was advertised, a heads up that there were some slight hills along the course.
But my main concern was that my Garmin read 21.44km at the end (the time read the same time as the chip results, so I started and stopped at the proper times). The extra 340m was really heartbreaking for me as I was trying to set a PB and the extra mileage did not help.
The food and race kit were fine.
Uphill finish was deadly!
Easy packet pick up on race morning.
Close parking lots.
Not enough toilets.
Goody bag was good.
It was definitely not a flat course; the uphill finish was a killer! In most halves I see people smiling and waving after they cross the finish line: here I saw a bunch of people leaning on the railings trying to catch their breath (me included of course), that is not necessarily a bad thing, but some sort of notice would have helped.
In general was well organized, the volunteers were amazing, the food was fine. Loved the fact that it is in TO and it is a small race.
The only negatives for me were the limited number of toilettes, and the confusing distance markers (some of them were WAY off)
I was disappointed with this race. The course had rolling hills, which is fine - but it was BORING. The race was advertised as having planes, etc along the route and I thought there would be a lot to look at. I even double checked the course map to confirm that there were supposed to be several planes from Bombardier along the route. However, there was only ONE plane. It also seemed like we ran from parking lot to parking lot. Not exactly scenic. Also, I would rather run two loops at the start - it was difficult to run past the finish line and know you still had another loop to do. Course markers seemed to be off - my GPS had me ~400m ahead of the markers. Not enough washrooms - three inside and not very many outside. Aid stations were well supported and gels were handed out at one point. Food was okay. Medals were awesome. I will most likely not be coming back to Toronto for this race.
I ran the 1/2 and would agree that "mostly flat" is mostly inaccurate. But nothing like Hogg's Hollow and other hills in the GoodLife in the spring; not even close to the elevation change.
And yes, narrow in spots and broken to none pavement in places but hardly a problem - in fact, slightly more entertaining that way. And I would take a course like this over a strictly road course anyday - we only had 2-3km of co-existing with traffic unlike other Toronto races.
As for the marker distances, everyone agrees that they were not right - we all have ridiculously accurate GPS phones and gadgets and some were a hundred metres off.
Thankfully, at a smaller event like this you get a whole lot more "warmth an camaraderie" and for that feature, the event stands out.
And it must be said that while we complain about our challenge in running this half marathon for our own satisfaction, we must Remember what today means and what our brothers and sisters before us endured to give us the luxury of leisure sport.
Congratulations to Downsview Parc and the organizers.
Thank goodness for decent weather - course is very open and unprotected so a mid-November event here going forth will be a crapshoot at best.
Definitely some narrow spots as mentioned - but the capped number of racers wasn't high enough so that became a real problem of any sorts.
As for the finish line at the top of a hill? Liked it. Makes you work harder and it could become a signature portion of the event (a la Spring Road at the Harry Rosen Run Off).
Biggest complaint - was it just me or were the kilometer markers - though prevalent and visible - WAY off. Thought it was just me but when a pack of GPS watches go off 150-400m outside of the posted sign it really screwed with pacing to the point where some wouldn't know what to trust. Part and parcel of that I have to ask and put it out there...long course? Thoughts?
Biggest highlight - Michael is just such a nice guy and despite having to be "on" and working the entire day he was always smiling and greeting old friends (and new ones ). Will wait to hear all the feedback on this event but definitely willing to give it another shot.
Great race, great course, well supported at aid stations. Would run again if I wasn't moving away.
2nd 1/2 marathon and a good race. Definitely not flat - would say it had rolling hills. Well marked with every km, however seemed like some of the markers were a little off on distances. Some of the tarmac was a little beat up and broken which could have been improved. Great race marshalls and volunteers - so encouraging and loved having our names on our bibs as they called out your name - very encouraging. Overall a good course and would do it again
Beautiful race. loved running near the lake and the airfield. The hills were a little tough. Some parts were very narrow. Overall was worth it!
I did the 5k Downsview run and would have to say that while the idea of a race late in the season, at downsview park, is really appealing, the actual organization of the event needs more work. For one, doing to loops for a 5k was highly confusing, especially by the second loop, when the runners were merged with the half marathoners and the 5k runners who were doing only their first loop. I almost missed the turn to the finish line and I noticed some runners did not go for the second loop and just went for the finish line (mind you they were the slower runners anyway). Also, right before the finish line, there was a little roundabout that needed to be done and some runners didn't go for that and went straight for the finish line...there were not enough race officials to properly direct the runners.
Suggestion for next year: do an out and back 5k course that doesn't merge with half marathoners.
signs were confusing
route was good
food was amazing
I really like the Discovery Centre and the idea for this race... the actual course though was waayyyy to narrow and it honestly felt like the whole thing was uphill. I mean really, who puts a finish line at the top of a hill?? Still fun day though. Well organized and great volunteer support.
Great race, very scenic. Much of the race was uphill, which was tough, but still managed a pretty good finish. It was nice to run in a smaller race than most of the GTA area.