The Canadian 5K Road Race Championship takes place this coming Sunday in Toronto. Sponsored by Bang & Olufsen, the course takes runners through a fast and flat course that runs down Bay Street from Yorkville until Dundas, then across to and up University Avenue. It was here that Kenyan Wesley Korir set the Canadian soil record of 14:06 in 2012.
The championship race allows for entry based on age group standards at the 5 and 10K distances. The result is that the field is an interesting mix of names you’ll recognize – Olympians like Charles PT, Nate Brennan, Jess O’Connell and Pan-Am medalists Rachel Hannah and Sasha Gollish – as well as names and faces that make you say, “Hey, I know that guy!” These are the super fast club runners who have a tendency to place real high in or win their age group or maybe even take the crown at some of the smaller races.
I was lucky enough to get some thoughts from two such runners as they prepared to share the course with some running giants.
Mike Thornton (aka @MarathonMike_) is an airline pilot who describes himself as “running to better myself always and see what I’m capable of,” which it turns out is quite a lot given that Mike is a sub-3 marathoner, Boston qualifier, and finished first overall at the Brantford Classic 10K earlier this year. The Yorkville Run gave Mike his 5K PB of 17:27 and this year he’s hoping to get as close to 17:00 as possible.
Lisa Davidson (@torontofitmom to her friends) is a fitness/yoga instructor/mom who has been running since elementary school, dabbling in track and eventually jumping to the marathon. These days, however, her passion is for the shorter distances. Lisa ran her 21:00 5K PB while under the weather so she’ll look to shatter that this Sunday.
Mike and Lisa both admit that the competition scared them a little bit, with Lisa describing her reaction as simply being, “Oh crap!” Mike, who describes himself as the “slowest of the fastest,” says his immediate thought upon seeing the competition was that he was “going to get dusted in this race.”
For both runners, that feeling of shock would eventually give way to the same excitement that any race might bring thanks to the support of the running community and the realization that the opportunity they had was worth celebrating.
Thanks to some words of encouragement from Rachel Hannah, Lisa says she’s simply going to give it her all and give herself permission to enjoy the unique experience she’ll have on Sunday.
Mike is much the same, recognizing that the mere fact that he’ll be at the start line means, “I’ve put in enough work to be in the same league, arena, or galaxy as high performance athletes.” Within his age group, Mike adds that he’s surrounded by friends and acquaintances so there’s no shortage of encouragement among them, which means he’ll have no problem going into the race with a sense of positivity.
Good luck to both Mike and Lisa this weekend! The gun for the 5K Championship goes at 9:00am. Find out more at yorkvillerun.com.