New Georgina Marathon and Half-Marathon set to debut this fall
High-quality road races are few and far between in Ontario this fall. Options south of the border are off the table, while most others are sold-out or have limited options. Enter the exciting and absolutely new event the Georgina Marathon and Half-Marathon.
This race, scheduled for Oct. 17 and located one hour north of Toronto, is new this year and is a well-organized and scenic half-marathon and marathon along the shores of Lake Simcoe. The race is a Boston Marathon qualifier, certified by Athletics Canada, and measured by Peter Pimm.
“Once we started moving into stage three (of Ontario’s pandemic reopening plan) we said, alright, let's kick this off again,” says Sandie Orlando, a co-founder of the event along with Cindy Lewis-Caballero. “And we just started to fast-track everything. It’s exciting.”
The first year will see both a half-marathon and marathon option, and the event can have as many as 1,000 runners. The course winds along a very flat lakeside drive with cottages on one side and the lake on the other. And, there are plenty of places along the route for spectators to come and cheer without having to congregate in one setting.
Both of the race organizers have athletic backgrounds especially as coaches in the multi-sport world. And the new event was inspired by the desire for more opportunities to race in person and give athletes something for which to train and strive.
“We thought, why don't we just see if we can put something together and see if we can make this happen,” Lewis-Caballero says. “So that's really the inspiration. We just wanted to give our athletes something to work towards as well as every other runner out there who has nothing and is getting a little tired of virtual stuff.”
The Georgina area is popular with cyclists and is nice and flat, which should present an opportunity for some great times for those hoping to qualify for Boston. For others, it is a fantastic first half-marathon experience, with a gorgeous and fast course.
Those who have taken up running this year, planning for a fall half-marathon right now will add some oomph to training plans. It’s all about setting goals and reaching them.
“We did a couple of small race simulation days up there to explore around a little more, and see what people thought about it. And you know, everybody just loves it,” Orlando says. “It's a really beautiful community. It’s quite small, but it's well suited to athletes going up and sharing the space.”
Of course, there will be COVID-19 measures in place, so it might not be a typical marathon experience, but it is something and it is something that will grow into, Orlando hopes, one of the premier races in the Greater Toronto Area.
“This year, it’s a little bit more intimate and a more grassroots experience,” Lewis-Caballero says. “But it's a race that we're planning to do each year, and grow to become one of the popular ones on the race scene going forward.”
For more information about the race head to the website.