Toronto Women’s Half Marathon & 5K
Women Set The Pace® in 2016 for the eighth consecutive year at the 2XU Toronto Women’s Run Series presented by GoodLife Fitness® for Women.
We kick off our season with the Half Marathon/5k on Sunday May 29th, 2016. Our 10k/5k is on Saturday August 27, 2016 and we will wrap up our season with the 8k/5k on Saturday October 22, 2016. Our races sell out, so register now to secure your spot at the start line. Join more than 4,500 women who set the pace and run/walk through Sunnybrook Park and the Toronto Park system, in the heart of the city, in one of Toronto’s most popular running series and largest women’s running series in the country.
We are committed to creating opportunities for women to be healthy and active in an inspiring, fun, and friendly environment. Make these races as fun, recreational or as competitive as you want. Please consider fundraising for our exclusive charitable partner, the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) and help us raise more than $40,000 in 2016. Come set the pace with us in 2016! We look forward to seeing you at the start line!
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Start Date/Time May 28, 2017 @ 8:20 am
End Date/Time N/A
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This race is very appealing. Not very many half-marathons to run at the end of June so I was excited when I found this.
The decision to cut the race down to 12.3 k was disappointing, so when I got home, I ran 8.6 k to "finish" the race.
People were quite upset about the shortened distance ... if this was your first race, okay I get it I would be upset too- but i do understand the safety side of this decision.
To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the route, found it boring.
Also, the mesh of MEC runners was unappealing.
I think the heat and shortened race made a lot of people care a lot less about keeping up a good pace, felt very motivating to see so many people walking and blocking narrow paths.
This was my first time running the race and I was fairly disappointed.
A lot of what I was disappointed about extended beyond the shortening of the race.
The course is fairly nice and I regularly run the same terrain recreationally. But it seems far to small to have the number of women that were running that day. I'm not sure if the course was so packed because of the last minute change which saw many bottlenecks because suddenly the 5 km runners and 12.3 km runners were sharing the same course. Anyway I'm of the belief that if the organisers made the decision to shorten the race then they should put more forethought into this. Was there not a back up plan ahead of time? It seems as if having a backup plan would be event planning basics.
Beyond that the fact that the course was also being shared with MEC runners (a great deal who were men) made things rather stressful and chaotic. Yelling out which way runners are supposed to go seemed rather troubling and most likely put a burden on the volunteers as well especially when there were such large numbers of runners.
From what I saw the day of conditions appeared even less safe because of how much an overlap of runners that there were and the fact that there were large bunches of women that made the course chaotic and difficult for some faster runners to make their way through and also would have slowed the progress of emergency vehicles on the course as well.
I will say however the volunteers did a great job in terms of the enthusiasm and cheering women on and that aspect certainly seemed great!
And now on to the elephant in the room. Far from wanting my money back (it is a charity race afterall for a very worthy cause) I just feel fairly let down in regards to the distance change.
This is for several reasons. The decision seems to take away from the decision making capabilities of the women running that day. In my mind a simple reminder of the conditions and an explanation of the effects that can have on the body could have gone a long way in having women informed and thus able to make decisions in regards to our personal performance that day.
When I asked a volunteer why the course was being shortened (before the medical director spoke about why the race was being shortened) she told me it was for our safety and the Ottawa race weekend had shortened their distances. I found this a fairly bizarre statement since I know the race weekend didn't shorten their distances.
I found it bizarre as well and upsetting since I've run the Ottawa race weekend in hotter and more humid weather that we had in Toronto on that day.
I would hate to think that the reason the distance was shortened is because we are women and couldn't handle the same conditions that men and women in Ottawa ran that same day.
I also thought the medical director's explanation about bodies acclimatising to weather to be rather bizarre. He referenced a single day when the temperature was outside of historical norms. Yes it may have been rather chilly 2 weeks previous but that was a single day that seemed like an outlier. By that reasoning it was also 19 above a single day in February so shouldn't that mean that we were all super prepared? Unfortunately weather and bodies don't work that way.
What frustrates me and I think a great number of other women is that we were more than grateful and ecstatic to support a women centric race for a great cause and that's why we picked the race rather than Ottawa or the St Claire or any other number of half marathon distances in the Ontario and Quebec region over late May and June.
The fact that we were treated differently than other racers at other races is very saddening and greatly complicates training and spring planning schedules.
So with that rather wordy response I know I won't be running this race in the future or recommending it to other women.
I also wish there were several options of rating for various aspects of the race. If there were I would rate the volunteers 5 bananas and rate the race organiser's 1 banana.
Signed up for the half marathon and was disappointed when race organizers elected to shorten the race to 12k "fun run" due to the heat and humidity. I wasn't expecting a PR but was fully prepared to run the full distance regardless of the weather. I signed up for this particular race as it is run later in the spring with the hope of having warmer temperatures and trained with that in mind as I'm sure many of the participants did. It would have been nice if they had either elected to start the race earlier or given the participant the option of running either the full distance or the shorter course and still receive their finisher's prize.
But outside of the decision to shorten the half marathon distance the race was very well organized. The course was very scenic and well marked (even with certain portions of the trails being used by both this race and a MEC race at the same time).
Having completed several of the Toronto Women's races in the past, this was my first half-marathon race. I am always impressed with the amount of organization and volunteer support that goes into this series.
The race organizers provided ample communication regarding the high temperatures, giving us notice to be prepared for a worse-case scenario. Inevitably there were many runners (myself included) that were disappointed to learn the run would be cut short. While I am quite aware of my own level of fitness, I would not have been prepared for 21.1km in this type of humidity after having done the majority of my training during the cold winter/spring months. It was the right call to make, to ensure everyone's well being.
This run prides itself on creating a fun and friendly environment, accommodating all abilities from recreational to competitive runners. It supports a great charity. The volunteers and course marshals were all on hand to help everything run smoothly. The necklace finisher medals were a nice touch, and post-race food was plentiful.
At the end of the day we came out for a great run and we got it.
I had registered for the half-marathon and trained diligently for race day. The weather was hot and I was glad the race was shortened to 12km. The medical director and the race director (who is an amazing athlete) made a decision for the 95% of us women who know there will be another HALF-MARATHON to complete either later this year or next. Like most participants at the starting line, I felt the weather seemed decent but after 3km and less than 15 mins into the race, I knew they were right and it made sense to reduce the distance. I would have walked the last 3rd of the race in the heat and in self disappointment. Actually many people were walking after 8km. I heard a couple people wanted a refund ..this event is for POGO, the proceeds go to a charity. All the volunteers showed up, water stations set up….everything we expected was made available and vendors were generous and I cannot believe why some runners demanded a refund. For the 5% of the people who are up-set please run the remaining 9.1km and get that negative energy out of your system. It is just one race of many to come. This is a race that is well organized, have people on board (professional medical director, race director, medical team) nice course, lots of stuff in the finisher bag, smart volunteers (not ones who just want/need hours signed off), great location, beautiful finisher medals and FREE parking. The proceeds are for POGO which goes right back in our community. You can purchase previous years shirt for only $5. I give it 5 bananas.
I am a frequent runner of all three races in this series and to date have loved them. I enjoy the challenge of trying to place top 3 in my category and have the plaques on my wall to commemorate those times that I do. I am disappointed with the decision today to cancel all age category awards due to the hot temperatures. I understand that yes it was hot today, but it should be on the trained athletes to slow down and judge their own bodies. I did take it slower then normal based on the weather, but still placed in my category and feel that I should be acknowledged for that. I signed up for a race, not a fun run. I can only speak for the 5k as that was my registered distance. Very disappointing from a race that I usually love (and would normally score 5 bananas)
I ran the 5km and s usual it was great, well organized, nice course, nice goody bag of food after, plenty of water, overall a great experience. This is my 3rd time doing the May run.
I was a little disappointed hen at the start of the race they announce it was now a "fun run: and there would be no age group awards. My goal is always an age group award and to not have that motivation there I think it may have impacted my time abit as in the back of my mind I was thinking what am I running for now? Yes it was hot but some of us come out to compete so taking away the age group awards was a definite downer (even though I was 4th in my group so wouldn't have won one anyways. I understand the need to keep the runners safe but I think alot of us were disappointed. I will be back in August to try for an age group award and I'll be back in October too, this is a great event it's just unfortunate that the weather didn't cooperate. I give 4 bananas ONLY due to the awards situation.
I did the 5K event this morning and fully enjoyed myself. The Toronto Women's Run series events are always well organised and supportive.
I understand people's disappointment with the distance change for the half-marathon too a 12K but, speaking as a person who has done the half marathon in the past, I think the decision was the right one. There's not a lot of shade along the route and as the sun got higher in the sky the temperature and humidity became quite high. I think it is better to make the hard decision before the event then run the risk of people becoming dehydrated and suffering heat stroke. For the most part we haven't been training for this type of weather (If it was August these conditions would not have been an issue)
An always excellent event that I look forward to each year
I loved this 5 km race! The organization was fabulous and the cheering was amazing! Great motivation from all the volunteers helping out. As my first 5 km run I will definitely be doing this one again! Cheers!
I was extremely disappointed in the decision to reduce the half marathon this morning to a 12km. I can understand the concerns due to the heat, but these are athletic events afterall!
If some women are not in shape or under-trained to manage themselves, they should drop down to the 5km or just not show up. Or, bring extra water, slow it down, etc. My friends and I have been training really hard for this race and we deserve the right to finish our full distance and be given accurate times even though there won't be any PB's today.
Race Directors have become so paranoid today we don't get it.
I ran the 5K and had a fantastic time. This was a very well-organized event. Friendly volunteers, nice post-race snacks, motivational signs placed strategically along the course, and a positive and supportive vibe. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently. The race kit contained a well made and lightweight shirt that has quickly become one of my faves.
The 5K medal, which was also designed by FOXY Originals, was a unique design and a gorgeous shade of turquoise - something that I feel really proud to have earned.
The course was a scenic out and back through Sunnybrook Park. It was really nice to have the shade of the trees and the nature to look at. The path got narrow at only a couple of points, but there were two corrals so the runners were well spaced out.
A couple of suggestions for next year:
1. shuttle buses to and from the park, since there is limited parking and the location isn't on a subway line. I had to cab it there (expensive), then take a TTC bus back (took a lonnnng time to get home).
2. Move the chocolate samples to after the race, not during. It's a cute idea, but I'm not sure how many 5K runners would want to stop for it. (I sure didn't.)
I had run the 8km event in this series in the fall and was excited to run the half marathon. The venue for this race is great, however, make sure you arrive early if you are by yourself and have to park and then get your race kit, as spaces fill up very quickly. The route is very scenic, but does have a few hills which I didn't expect - given the warm temperatures on race day, it did make for a more difficult run. The volunteers were all very motivating and friendly, greeting the runners by name. There was never a wait for refreshments. I agree that the chocolate and gels should have been earlier on in the race. Overall, I did enjoy the race and the finisher's necklace, plus there was ample pre-and post- race refreshments and food.
I liked this race more than I thought I would. I don't care that much about women-oriented events, hate the colour pink, etc. I've also done too many races at Sunnybrook Park before and just signed up for this half because I didn't have any other races at this time of year, not expecting much.
Unlike 5k/10k races at Sunnybrook, the half wasn't overly congested once you got past the first 5k or so. The race had three waves, which also helped space things out. Sunnybrook is actually a great venue for a hot-day run, because there's plenty of shade and babbling brooks to keep things cooler than a standard road race. I liked the course because I like hills. There are quite a few of them, so that might be worth considering depending on your attitude toward altitude.
I like the idea of jewelry as a medal, and the quality of this necklace was nice, but I'm not crazy about the design, and the necklace is too short, so I likely won't wear mine. If it were a bracelet, I might feel differently. It was nice to see Foxy showing off some of their other designs at the post-race event.
The colour of this year's shirt was nice, and admittedly a deciding factor in me signing up this year. A nice indigo, and definitely not pink! The material appears to wrinkle easily though.
I'm not sure if I buy the marketing hype of a "really great" race kit. At packet pickup, I got a pack of eLoad gels/powder (great) and a mini clif bar. That's it. Not really comparable to the swag at other women's runs like the Niagara Falls Women's half. You'd think this would be a great marketing opportunity for companies looking to target women with an interest in healthy lifestyles and an above-average spending potential. The kit was more than sufficient for free swag, but writing on the website that it's "really great" leaves for some disappointment.
The race was well organized with lots of great volunteers. My only issue was that the gel station was located a bit late, at 13k, and AFTER the water stop. I was already running out of steam by 11k, as were the runners around me, and could have used the gel one water stop earlier. Also, the chocolate at the 19k stop looked lovely, but was honestly the last thing I wanted to eat while dehydratedly kicking my way through those last 2k. Would have been much nicer after the race.
Post-race food was decent. Volunteers gave us a packed bag with a banana, morning rounds buns, chips, and a chocolate bar. We also got a bottle of water, plus there was a table full of cups of water and eload. Very much appreciated on this hot day!!! Other post-race samples included clif bars and Starbucks coffee and tea. All in all a great spread for a half marathon, especially compared to what some of the other Toronto races offer to famished runners stranded in the middle of nowhere.
I might run the half again next year if I need a race at this time of year. I'd consider doing all three races in May/Aug/Oct because I like earning bonus awards, but only if they made the completion award something different than just another of the exact same medal again.
I ran this race in its first year and again in 2013. Based on those two runs I won't run another. The first year, none of the shirts, even the largest they had fit me and I was told "well, usually the shirts aren't small enough to fit most of the participants." I learned only SMALL women count.
In 2013 I was held up by the police at a couple of the last stop lights. Faster friends didn't have this problem. I learned only FAST women count.
This woman? Yea, I'm not playing here any more.
This is a very well organized race. Great atmosphere, decent food and kit, and nice volunteers. I didn't like the cyclists on the course or the lack of parking. I will attend again though. I really enjoyed being in a race geared towards women. Oh, and the shirt and medal are both super cute!
Nice course. Nice medal. Parking lots could have been filled more before claiming lot full.
Nice, relatively small race with a friendly atmosphere. Did this for my first time in 2014. The route is simple and there is no traffic because it is on a cycling trail. The trail can get kind of crowded with runners going in both directions. Also, if you are used to running with men and finish closer to the front, this will be a very, very lonely race. More of a tempo run with your watch than a race. That being said, the small touches were nice (encouraging signage, necklace at the finish that you can actually wear again). They could have used about double the amount of water stops. Post-race refreshments were more than adequate. Parking was less than ideal so get there early! Overall I think this is a nice race with a friendly atmosphere.
I ran the half marathon. Great volunteers, well organized. 2nd year running the half and will run again. Due to construction had 2 hills that was a bit challenging, as my training was not where it should have been.
Though I have done several other of the Toronto Women's race series (the 8k and 5k distances), this was my first time doing the half. It was overall a fantastic experience! The finisher medal is so neat and unique: it's actually a pendant necklace that you can wear (without looking like a chump, haha). The shirt was a nice technical V-neck in a muted grey/green.
The course was overall rather nice, and I couldn't have asked for better weather. The trails along Sunnybrook were nice and shady for the most part, so I didn't get too warm. The route modification was, as others have mentioned, a bit brutal. I think the Don Mills Road hill was around 6% grade (but don't quite me on that!): not quite what I would consider a "moderate" hill, considering it was almost 3/4 of a kilometer long!
The volunteers were fantastic! The water stations were well-staffed with friendly, enthusiastic people. Course marshalls were visible and ensured everyone stayed on course. There were even medics patrolling the course on bicycles in case anyone needed medical attention.
Great course, great medal, great shirt. Overall great race. My big HUGE disappointment was running (very slowly) up the killer hill to be stopped at the top by a traffic cop. He cleared the entire intersection. He should have seen the gaps and slowly let one or two cars through, if anything. One intersection was affected, in my opinion there was absolutely no reason to let cars through at all. If the race has the same route next year I will not be doing it for that reason alone. I was on track to take 6 mins off my PB, still ended up with one but was very disappointed about my time.
Great race--great route although the modification to the route where there was a massive hill on Don Mills rd was a killer at the 18km mark! eeks! If that hill was there i'm sure people's personal times would have been at least 2-3 minutes better!!
I ran this the first year and really enjoyed it. Didn't slow down to enjoy the chocolate or the firemen but liked the route, the venue and the concept.
This was my first time running this race. I got my best time - the flat course was helpful but the paths were crowded so I can't help but think I could have done better. There were many times when you were stuck not being able to pass or were slowed by cyclists and walkers who have access to the trails during the race. The race medal - a Foxy necklace made up for it at the end.
I had no problem with race pickup. We live over a 100K from Toronto so emailed the organizers and picked up the kit at the race the morning of. Lots of portable johns, lots of encouragement from the volunteers and a nice atmosphere for the start and finish made it a great race. I don't know if I would do it again but I would say it is a great one for ladies doing their first half.
This is my frist all women's event, very well organized, loved the nature run! I would definitely run this event again (coming this Oct 2012)
This is a well organized race excellent for those new to running, such as myself. I've taken part in three of these runs and I've been happy with it. Would like to see a few prizes for those of us who don't (or may never) see the winner's circle. Also, race kit pick up is a bit out of the way - even for those of us who live in Toronto.
2012 - this was my first time running this race. Very, very well organized and a thoroughly enjoyable run. I love the finisher's necklace! So much more practical than a medal, and pretty enough I will wear it often. I appreciated the corralled start as well, it made the first few km where the route was crowded fairly pleasant since people were generally lined up in the right places.
My complaint about this race is that the kit pickup is really difficult for those of us who are out of town, but not far enough out of town to qualify for race day pickup. I'm not sure what the solution to this might be, but as long as the kit pickup is at such an inaccessible location for someone at my end of the 905, I won't be running this race again. Surely there must be a Running Room location that is both accessible by public transportation and close to a major highway for those of us who have no choice but to go by car? The Rosedale location is not convenient, especially with the Subway not running on Saturday and buses clogging up Younge street.
If the kit pickup was easier, I would definitely run this race again!
2011 review - This was my first half-marathon! The course was basically flat with some slight elevations.. I will do this one again! Loved the firefighters at the main water station and the entertainement along the way..the chocolate towards the end melted in my hands before I got to the finish. Loved the finisher's necklace and the colour of the raceshirts...the sizing of the shirts was a little small though! Great energy and the volunteers were there along the way to cheer us on to the finish! :)