The ACURA Toronto 10 miler & 5K, to be run on August 14th, has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent fixture, with great character, in the Canada Running Series. But to most of us, this reputation has been built around a relatively low-key, well-organized, mid-summer race with a beautiful scenic [flat] course out in Tommy Thompson Park, a great venue and super setting for post-run celebrations at The Historic Distillery District, nice shirts, great finishers’ medals, good swag, and an important “tune-up” outing on the way to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon or Half [now October 16th].
Now we need to add “a thrilling, highly-competitive race up front, and a tune-up preview for the de facto Olympic Marathon Trials at Scotia Toronto Waterfront on October 16th,” for this year’s edition. This year’s race for the Acura men’s and women’s titles is shaping up to be a dandy! There were hints of the growing momentum in Canadian distance running and its impact on “The Acura” last year, when Reid Coolsaet showed up to dust the field in an impressive course record of 48:24. Last year’s seeds have blossomed into a full-blown RACE, in its own right. Reid Coolsaet has confirmed he’ll be back on the Start line to defend his title. But this year he’ll have a little more competition than the visiting Tolassa Dadi he had in last year’s event. Speed River TFC teammates Eric Gillis and Rob Watson are also confirmed. Ensuring that this will not be a tempo training run for the “River Rollers”, Athletics Toronto/Brooks Project stars Matt Loiselle, Rejan Chiasson and Lucas McAneney have also thrown their hats into the ring. All these main protagonists will be battling it our for 3 Olympic places at Toronto Waterfront in the Fall. And while they are all in the midst of 200km+ weeks on the road to STWM and London 2012, The Acura will be important to test progress, and for the “talent” to test each other out, to establish — or upset — some kind of pecking order.
Coolsaet clearly starts in the poll position. Not only did he win last year’s Acura 10, but his subsequent 2:11:23 at STWM was the fastest marathon ever run by a Canadian on Canadian soil, and the fastest marathon by a Canadian in 24 years. On that perfect September morning, Gillis was only 38 seconds back. Loiselle was 7 minutes back that day, but has been developing and growing in confidence since then — especially at the 15k/half-marathon distances. While Coolsaet broke away from Loiselle handily around the 11k mark in a gusty Parc Jean Drapeau to take the National Half marathon title in April, Matt was the only one who fearlessly went with him, and ended up just 34 seconds adrift. In late May, Loiselle ran a smart race on a hot, humid evening in Ottawa, to close hard on Eric Gillis in the ORW 10K to finish just 8 seconds back (See VIDEO post-race interview). Then in June he pushed wily veteran Kip Kanagogo thru 18k of the Scotia Vancouver Half, before dropping off on the challenging climb over the Burrard Bridge (see VIDEO) – leaving Rob Watson in their wake for 3rd (63:22; 63:47; & 64:20, respectively).
So what’s in store for August 14th? We only need to review the thrilling Finish to this Spring’s Sporting Life Toronto 10K (VIDEO) to get excited about what used to be a lower key affair. Let the Games begin!
If Speed River TFC appear the pre-race favourites, Athletics Toronto may take home the Women’s title in what appears to be an equally absorbing Women’s contest. While last year’s Acura 10 champ, Leslie Sexton [then of Kingston, now off London] is confirmed to return, she’ll be hard pressed to repeat, with Women’s National Half marathon Champ Megan Brown [Athletics Toronto/Brooks] and exciting new talent, Dayna Pidhoresky set to start. Pidhoresky has had a great year so far, with convincing victories at the Around the Bay 30K and Harry’s Spring Run Off Toronto 8K, before moving onto a much-touted duel with Megan Brown at the Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal Half marathon Championships on April 17th.There, Megan was the decisive winner of the duel, the disappointment clearly event in Dayna’s face after the race. The two haven’t met since April, so there’s much to look forward to in the re-match at The ACURA! Add in Leslie Sexton, Speed River’s Courtney Laurie, and Toronto’s Jane Cullis, and there will be an intriguing race.
Are YOU entered yet? As of today, there are only 450 places left before we hit the cap in the 10 miler; 100 places in the 5K.
Grab one NOW! http://www.canadarunningseries.com/torontoten/index.htm