10,000 Runners Tackle 11th Mississauga Marathon
Each and every year, the much-anticipated Mississauga Marathon -- a Boston Marathon-qualifying race -- grows bigger.
This year, race organizers at Landmark Sport Group are anticipating a whopping 10,000 runners will tackle either the fun and moderately challenging 2 K runs or the full 42 K titular Mississauga Marathon, which will commence on Sunday, May 4 at 7:30 am at City Centre Drive and Robert Speck Parkway and end at Lakefront Promenade Park.
The marathon, which boasts seven races -- the full marathon, the Recharge with Milk Half Marathon, Valeant Pharmaceuticals 10 K, Starbucks Hazel 5 K, 10 K Student Relay, Petrillo Law Relay Challenge, Subway Restaurants 2 K Fun Run/Walk, Running Room Friendship Run and the MaraFun for kids -- manages to provide participants and spectators with a little something for everyone. Also, the city's iconic Mayor -- who is serving her last term -- also plans to come out and support everyone running her Starbucks Hazel 5 K.
"We have a 'Run for Everyone' slogan," says Krystal Duz. "We get people from 2 years old to 81 and we get a lot of school participation because of our Enersource MaraFun Program."
In terms of the race being for everyone, the event consists of more than the races themselves. Runners and run-supporters are free to attend the Runner's Expo on May 2 and 3 at the Port Credit Memorial Arena. The expo, where participants can register and pick up their race kits, also boasts exhibitor booths manned by such high-profile (and possibly givers of fun and good samples) vendors as Golf Town, Panera Bread and Skechers.
"It [the expo] will be similar to last year and our vendors and sponsors will be there to showcase their products and supplies," says Duz. "Panera Bread will give out product samples and Golf Town will have a mini-putt set up. There's free parking and admission and it's open to runners and the public. There's something for everyone."
Since running (even light running for short distances) is typically challenging, runners -- and their enthusiastic supporters -- will also be treated to live entertainment.
"We have entertainment at the finish line," says Duz. "We've confirmed Boomerang Band [a local vintage music cover band] for Saturday evening and we'll have local bands [TBA] set up along the route."
For the second year in a row, the marathon organizers are working with the Scotiabank Charity Challenge -- a partnership that raised over $135,000 last year for various participating charities. This year, runners are able to register to fundraise for organizations such as Autism Ontario, Canadian Red Cross, Heart and Stroke Foundation, SickKids and more. As to whether or not the charitable component of the already popular event brings even more participants out of their homes on sunny (or rainy) May mornings, Duz says the fundraising only adds to the event's appeal.
"Charity can drive more runners, as the charities themselves might recruit from their networks."
The chief draw is, of course, the runners themselves. This year likely hasn't been easy for either amateur or experienced marathoners, what with the supremely icy temperatures, numerous snow and ice storms and generally awful training weather. That said, most dedicated athletes don't let inclement weather stop them, and they can train for the run at Running Room or Cyclide -- an official online training program that marathon organizers have partnered with for the first time.
"It's hard to train in snow and freezing rain," Duz says. "First-time runners can reach out to Running Room or Cyclide to prepare. They should make sure to eat and train properly."
As for safety during the run, participants can expect water and Gatorade stations every two kilometers and free chocolate milk at the end of the run. There will also be, as in previous years, medical facilities positioned along the route to help ill or injured runners in the unlikely event of an emergency. There will also be course marshals positioned along the route to ensure no one runs off course.
As for winners, Duz says prizes will be given to people who come first, second and third in different race, gender and age categories, and that those prizes are yet to be announced. One thing race organizers do know, however, is that it's important to get as many people out as possible -- whether they come out to run, cheer the runners or celebrate the race at the finish line.
"We encourage all Mississauga residents to come out and support the runners and come out for the entertainment and prize ceremonies."
For more information on transportation, hotels, fees and prices, check out the marathon's extremely detailed website.