Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon weekend is one of my favourite weekends of the year - and 2017 was no exception. The running community around the city is buzzing.
Last year, my good friend Jean-Paul Bedard decided to run 4 marathons in a row to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse and assault, and showcase the resilience of survivors. This year was another special year as he decided to take on what he dubbed #6intheSIX - 6 marathons, across 3 days. Two Friday, two Saturday and two Sunday - as usual with the last and final marathon being the actual race. That is a whopping 84.4KM per day, for a total of 253.2KMs over three days. In some ways, this could be even more difficult than the quadruple marathon. Getting up and moving again to do that distance 3 days in a row is staggering - and could be, literally. Once again, this was to raise awareness of sexual assault and abuse. And also, let’s be honest - being a social media fiend, Jean-Paul loves a good hashtag. Along for the ride this weekend was a slew of JP’s Team members jumping in and out for various portions of the 6 marathons. For the 253.2KMs - JP never ran alone. And that is the essence that embodies this team - we are never alone. Of course for myself, I jumped in for the ride - well part of it.
Friday October 20th: JP started all of his marathons at the ungodly hour of 3 or 4AM. I wouldn’t know the exact time, because I’m not THAT good of a friend *wink wink*. I met him on Friday morning at around 7:30AM at the start of his second marathon. He went directly from running his first marathon, taking a bixi bike over to CBC for an interview and then back to start the second marathon. Mary-Anne and JP found Cathy, Melly, Krysten, Laurie and I waiting to start marathon number 2. What we also found waiting for us, to our surprise was a police escort Laurie had arranged.
With Mary-Anne, Laurie and Cathy on their bikes; Krysten, JP and myself on foot; and Melly leading the way riding shotgun in the cruiser (ha!) off we went up University Avenue.
As we ran through red lights behind the safety of the cruiser, JP just kept saying “Oh my God, this is so crazy! I can’t believe we have a police escort!” As we turned left onto Bloor Street it became very apparent that we were also smack in the middle of rush hour on a Friday morning. The cruiser inched west, putting the siren on through red lights, as we ran tucked in behind it. I heard Mary-Anne from behind us comment “Look at the line of cars behind us!” I kept my eyes peel straight ahead. I was almost scared to see the chaos we were leaving in our wake across Bloor. I was waiting for people to start cursing at us! “Someone check the traffic complaints on Twitter!” JP yelled! Krysten left us to head to work somewhere along Bloor. This left me running alone alongside JP. As the pace quickened, it all of a sudden became very apparent that with the police car throwing the siren on through intersections, I wasn’t getting the red light breaks I had anticipated, and needed while running with JP.
As we turned down Bathurst I was hitting the high end of my tempo pace chasing him. I must also note, I wasn’t in the best shape. As I sprinted ahead of the group for Mary-Anne to take a photo of me running behind the cop car, a truck driver heading in the other direction leaned out his window and all I thought was “Oh, here we go.” To my pleasant surprise he yelled down “Way to go! You’re doing great!” I left the group about between the 5 and 6KM mark of marathon #2 at Queen Street to head back to work. I waved bye, and walked across Queen for a few minutes recovering from my impromptu police escorted tempo run.
Mary-Anne kept me up-to-date on their whereabouts which gave me to opportunity to walk over to Nathan Phillips Square at lunch and be there to cheer JP into the finish. Day one was done!
After work I headed on over to the Race Expo to pick up my race kit. I was doing the 5K this year. After recovering from stress fractures and a 50KM race, we decided it was best to keep it casual. Knowing I didn’t have a big fall race made me a bit on the lazy side to be honest (hence the struggle with the pace in the morning). At the Expo, I ran into so many friends and spent some time at the Mizuno booth where Kate purchased her first pair of Mizunos from