Running in Toronto

2012 running events in Toronto

The running season in Toronto is upon us once again. Patios are opening, flowers are blooming and runners are, well, running. Toronto is a fantastic city for organized races (whether our Mayor wants it to be or not) and there are a slew of events for runners of any ability to get out and break a sweat. Here's some of the major running events coming up in 2012. If I missed any, please sound off in the comments.

Yonge Street 10km
April 22nd
Distance: 10km
Price: $45 - $55
The Yonge Street 10km is a great early season run to get yourself warmed up for the season. It has a 1 hour 40 minute time limit so even a casual runner will have lots of time to complete it. Race time is at 9am, which is later than many races start, giving you lots of time to get checked-in and stretched out.

GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon
May 6th
Distances: 5km run/walk, relay,
half marathon run/walk, marathon run
Prices: $30 - $100
The GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon is a world class event. Starting at Mel Lastman Square, it's a beautiful route down Yonge, along Lakeshore and back up University. This is the perfect event for beginners to experience a professionally organized 5k or a seasoned runner to shake off the winter with a half or full marathon. Unfortunately early registration has ended, but there's still time to get in, before the May 2nd deadline.

Mississauga Marathon
May 6th
Distances: 2km walk/run, 5km walk/run, 10km student relay, 10km run/walk, relay, half marathon run/walk, marathon
Prices: $20 - $100 for individuals. Up to $500 for team relay.
The Mississauga Marathon is on the same day as the GoodLife event but manages to differentiate by offering a wide range of events for any level of athlete. The route starts at Mississauga City hall, winding past the University of Toronto campus, a gorgeous golf course, through a series of quiet residential neighbourhoods, along the lake short and ending at Lakefront Promenade Park. It's a mostly downtown course, so it's sure to be a fast one.

Walk of Life
May 27th
Distances: 3km walk, 5km walk/run, 10km cycle
Prices: $35 - $40 (free with $100 donation, $50 donation for students)
Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada holds this annual event to raise funds. Perfect for families and dogs are welcome on the route too. They have beautiful routes planned and it's all for a great cause.

Toronto Woman's Half-Marathon
May 27th
Distances: 5km, half marathon (SOLD OUT)
Prices: $45 - $90
Toronto Woman's Half-Marathon is a very popular event. Unfortunately the half marathon is already sold out, although spectators and volunteers are still welcome. The 5km run is still accepting registration too, so go register now and enjoy a gorgeous route through parks and along paths. They even provide Chocolate Stations along the route to keep the energy up. I wish more runs offered this yummy motivator!

Youth Life International Relief
June 2nd
Distances: 1km, 5km
Prices: $20 - $30 for individuals, $15 - $25 per person for 5+ person teams.
The YLIR is in its 8th year for this event. They're raising money and awareness for youth programs in rural areas of developing countries. Guaranteed to be a beautiful route through High Park and a good event for families and children.

Toronto Freedom to Move for Dystonia
June 3rd
Distances: 5km run/walk
Prices: $7 - $25
Another picturesque route through High Park, the Freedom to Move event is in its 6th year. They're still looking for volunteers and sponsors too, so hit up the link above to get more information.

Toronto Challenge
June 11th
Distances: 1km walk, 5km walk/run
Prices: $10 - $20 ($40 family registration available too)
Held by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Challenge raises money for seniors in our city. It's an urban course through Downtown Toronto, starting and ending at Metro Hall.

Father's Day Walk/Run
June 27th
Distances: 5km walk/run
Prices: $35 (waived if you raise over $125)
This annual event raises money for prostate cancer research and takes place in scenic Ashbridges Bay Park. Great for the whole family. There will be children's entertainment

Toronto Pearson Runway Run
June 23rd
Distances: 2km walk, 5km run
Prices: $25 - $60 for individuals, $400 - $500 for teams up to 10. Family registration is also available.
This 5th annual event is raising funds for Hope Air, which helps transport ailing Canadians to ensure they receive the best possible healthcare. It's a unique chance to run on a Pearson Airport runway. They're looking for volunteers too, so help out a great cause, if you're able.

Ontario Run for Huntington Disease
June 24th
Distances: 5km run/walk, 10km run
Prices: $20 - $45
This run takes place at Wilket Creek Park. They're raising money for a really grat cause and it's sure to be a great event. You also have the chance to earn free race entry by referring 5 friends, so spread the word and save a few bucks! They are looking for pacers too, so visit the link above to get details.

Pride and Remembrance Run
June 30th
Distances: 3km walk, 5km run
Prices: $35 - $45
The 2012 Pride and Remembrance run is celebrating 17 years this year. It starts in the heart of the Village, at Church and Wellesley and is raising money for The Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line and the HIV & AIDS legal Clinic Ontario. They're looking for volunteers too, so visit their site for more information.

Jazz Run - The Beaches Tune Up
July 29th
Distances: 5km, 10km, 20km
Prices: $25
Called the "Official Tune Up Training Run for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon", the Jazz Run is a perfect place to stretch those legs before the season starts to wind down. The starting line at Kew Gardens will begin a sunny (hopefully) run through The Beaches, along the boardwalk and paths. One of my personal favourite places to run. For only $25 and with pacers from The Running Room, this is a fantastic chance for anyone to participate in a great race.

Toronto International 15k & 5k
August 12th (Dates & Locations TBC)
Distances: 5km, 15km
Prices: TBA
Unfortunately details are slim for this year's event, but in the past it has been quite a successful run. This is another run that calls itself the "Official tune-up for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon." Keep an eye on the link above for details, as they come.

A Midsummer Night's Run
August 18th
Distances: 5km walk/run, 15km walk/run, 30km run
Prices: $40 - $120
This is a unique evening run, starting at 5:30pm (for the 30km). You'll be running along the Toronto's East end trails, starting next to McLeary Park. The sun will set as you run and you'll be finishing under the moon light. You couldn't ask for a better time of day to run, especially on a hot August day. Don't miss this one, there's a distance for everyone this year.

Toronto Women's 10k/5k
August 25th
Distances: 10km, 5km
Prices: $35 - $60
A great end to the season for the 10k runners out there. This is a woman's only event and takes place in Sunnybrook Park. It's an early one, with Race Kit pick-up at 6:45am and the race starts at 8am.

Terry Fox Run
September 16th
Distances: Vary by runsite.
Prices: Free, donations are strongly recommended.
One of the most legendary charity runs in the world. The Terry Fox Run is an annual event raising money for cancer and in rememberance of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope and the sacrifices he made for his goal. There will be several Terry Fox events around Toronto on this day. Click the links for more information:
- Beaches
- Central YMCA
- High Park
- Mooredale
- North York
- Scarborough
- UCC/Forest Hill
- West Hill
- Wilket Creek Park
- York University

CBCF/CIBC Run for the Cure
September 30th
Distances: 1km, 5km
Prices: $40 (Free with minimum amount raised. See link)
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation & CIBC hold this event all across the country and it has proven to be very successful. Offering both a 1km and a 5km run/walk, it's great for families. You can even bring Fido along for the fun!

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
October 14th
Distances: 5km, half marathon, marathon
Prices: $35 - $110
One of the most highly anticipated races of the season, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the perfect goal to work towards. It's at the end of the season, so the weather is generally a comfortably cool temperature and the route is always well thought through. As one of Canada's largest marathons, it's impeccably organized. As a spectator, it's always a fantastic chance to see world-class runners compete for a prestigious title.

There's a couple less traditional events coming up this season as well.

City Chase
June 23 & August 11th
Prices: $120 - $150
City Chase is a 4-6 hour urban scavenger hunt. You can you run, walk or use public transit to navigate the city as you hunt for and collect ChasePoints. This event will challenge you mentally and physically as you're faced with tough decisions and challenges all through out the day.

Tough Mudder
August 18th & 19th
Prices: $90 - $150
Tough Mudder is more than a race. It's a full blown battle against your physical limits. Cross-Fit on steroids, boot camp for civilians or just plain hardcore; whatever you call it, you better be tough.

Writing contributed by Alex Flint. Photo by Simon Remark in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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