Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sporting Life 10K 2013

I've been collecting my thoughts for a few days on this race. There were a lot of issues, most of which I thankfully didn't experience myself. I've decided that this post is just going to be about my experience with this race. I do encourage people to check out this post (including a very scary video) and this post on Kenny's blog. I'm definitely going to think twice before signing up for this race next year.

Race kit pick up was fine and easy for me. I was getting my kit, plus for two friends. I went on Thursday so not too busy and they still had the full range of shirt sizes. Race kit wasn't very exciting - shirt, bib and a coupon for Sporting Life.

Race morning, I took a quick cab ride over the the starting area. SO MANY PEOPLE! I did manage to find my friends relatively easy (thank goodness for cell phones) and we huddled inside the Running Room for a bit. I had gone back and forth a lot trying to figure out what to wear. I hate being too warm when running so went with a long sleeved top and cropped pants.

I went to check my bag (and cozy hoodie) 15 minutes before we needed to be in the corrals. Encountered a line up which ended up being about 100 people long. They finally ended up opening one of the trucks and my friend chucked my bag in (thankfully didn't lose my keys or metro pass).

With my co-workers. I look happy, but I was cold!

In past years, Sporting Life has been quite strict with making sure everyone is in their proper corrals. Not so much this year. They weren't very well marked and no one was checking bibs. I had no idea whether I was at the front or the back of the purple corral.

Waited, waited, waited some more. We had no idea whether or not the race had started. We slowly inched up to the start and were off - very uneventful.

I was going to run with one of my friends who was aiming for 1hr 8mins but he took off pretty quick. I debated catching up, but decided just to run my own race. Put the ipod in and stuck with my 10/1's.

There were so many people so I did a lot of dodging. People walking 4 across. Lots of pedestrians just stepping out into the street.

Despite the cold start, I was generally happy with my clothing choice for the day. Only cold parts were my hands. I had my hand held water bottle in my right hand - eventually had to switch it to the left when I realized that my fingers were numb and turning purple. What a difference a week makes! The Sunday before, I had been dumping cups of water on my head to cool down!

The main stretch of the race down Yonge Street was fun as always. I was using 7 min/km's to keep pace, and was hitting the race markers well ahead of pace so I knew I was in good shape. I didn't speed up though at any point - I was very worried about doing my normal crash and burn in the second half of the race.

Turned onto Richmond. I tried to speed up a bit running by the opera house in case any co-workers were out. Waved to one of the security guards.

More people dodging going down Peter Street. Almost got hit by a bike as someone was crossing at Front Street. Really needed more coarse marshalls.

Was happy to turn down Bathurst and across the bridge. An earlier finisher was yelling "You're almost there! Just around the corner than you can get a BANANA!!!". I was laughing at that.

Lots of people out in the last stretch on Fort York Boulevard. Saw a sign saying "Thank you for sending her to camp" with a little girl standing under it. Choked me up a bit.

I picked up speed for the last 500 metres and crossed the finish line with my arms in the air.
Can kind of see me - with arms in the air.

 Almost smashed into the back of another runner who had crossed the line and just stopped (not cool).

Finished with a time of 1:07:18, over 5 minutes off my previous 10K PB of 1:12:55. Overall pace of 6:44/km which is my third fastest pace EVER according to garmin connect (faster paces were on a 5K run and a 3.25 run). I ran the first 5K in 33:41 and the second in 33:37 so no crash and burn here! I might have been able to shave a bit of time off if I hadn't been so worried about burning out, but I'm happy that I stayed strong for the whole race.

Post race, had to walk about half a kilometre to get my medal (after stopping for traffic for a few minutes at Fleet Street). Since I had done this the year before, I knew the drill but there wasn't anyone giving instructions at the finish line so it was a mess. Got my medal, managed to find my friends (thankfully carried my cell phone with me), picked up a bagel.

Found what I thought was the giant line for bag pick up - turned out it was for free coffee. Managed to find my bag quickly (no one was really guarding the bags) and got my hoodie. I was sooooo cold so very happy to be in something warm.

While I'm very happy with my race times, I'm not sure if I'll be running Sporting Life next year. The race organizers want to increase the size from 27,000 runners to 30,000 next year. I really don't think they were ready for such large crowds this year so unless there are some major organizational changes, I'll be running Yonge Street 10K instead.


  1. Great recap! I have never done SL and I am not sure if I will. The crowds really throw me off. Yes they can be very fun at times but also very frustrating at times also. Maybe I will do the Yonge street 10k.

  2. Congrats on your PB, awesome :) I didn't encounter any of the issues either but feel really bad for the runners that could not cross the finish line!