Summer in Canada lasts for approximately four weeks, give or take. This year, it’s mostly take.
It starts around July 1, when the municipal pools open and most lakes can be entered with minimal teeth-chattering, and ends after Labour Day, when work beckons. In between, we’re supposed to have a few sweltering weeks, clouds of black flies, and the occasional sit in a Muskoka chair. In other words, it’s supposed to be nice outside.
So it’s odd that in this period, there are relatively few road races to be found. Run your marathon in May, and then you’re on your own until September. Log some kilometres, go easy on the BBQ, and find a trail race if you’re lucky. Colour runs and obstacle courses, sure. But for a simple half marathon, you’ll need to wait until the kids are back in school and the leaves are beginning to turn.
Why is this? Ideally, you’d stay in marathon shape from May to October, aiming for an autumnal PB. A few evenly spaced halves would help that. Well, there’s the heat, I guess. But anyone who would venture to run Around the Bay in Hamilton in March is clearly not afraid of a little extreme weather. In the winter, you pull on another layer. In the summer, you stay hydrated and head out a few hours earlier.
And that’s what runners will be doing this Sunday morning at the Beaches Jazz Run half marathon in Toronto. Organized by Dave Emilio and the local Toronto Beaches Runners Club, with New Balance singlets for all, it’s everything a summer race should be: Inclusive, relaxed, and near the water. It’s billed as a tune-up run, which both takes off the pressure and lightly riffs on the musical theme. Starting at 7 a.m., we’ll be able to see how much of that spring training has stuck with us—and we’ll still be the first ones on the patio for brunch.