running toronto

The top 10 running events in Toronto for summer 2015

Running events in Toronto this summer have reached fever pitch, with Toronto firmly in the sporty spotlight with the PanAm Games, motivating everyone in the city to shake a leg and get moving. This year's list of running events has a bit of something for everyone, from couch potatoes to ultra-elites, there's a route and a run for everyone.

Here are my picks for the top running events in and around Toronto this summer.

Prison Break- Saturday, June 27
If running from the police is a favourite pastime of yours then consider yourself ready for this capture the flag style run (5 or 7.5km) just north of Orangeville. Similar to a Warrior Dash, the Prison Break Run combines barriers like crawling under barbed wired and leaping over an open fire with the added bonus of cops chasing you too.

Pride and Remembrance Run - Saturday, June 27
This celebration race kicks off Pride festivities with a route that meanders its way around the village. Starting at Church and Wellesley, runners choose from a 5K run or 3K walk course raising funds and awareness for the LGTBQ+ community. Free shirts, timed bibs and other swag are up for grabs at this feel good event.

Jazz Run- Beaches Tune Up - Sunday, July 12
This run is a Toronto fave, especially with serious runners looking to keep things tight for the upcoming Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Kicking off at Kew Gardens, this 5K, 10K or 20K route will have you whipping around Lakeshore Blvd on the scenic Martin Goodman Trail.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Series - Saturday July 18 & Sunday July 19
Blue Mountain is home to this run, with a truly cringe worthy max route of 50 miles (for you American friends) or for the commonwealth cowards the 50km route would still prove pretty knee shattering. Boasting the most pronounced elevation gain in all of Ontario races, this bruiser of a course features gains and losses of 800 feet, with the scenery of the escarpment and valleys to keep you focused while you wonder what you got yourself into.

Toronto Women's Run Series - Saturday, August 29
This popular race is just for the ladies (although men are technically allowed to sign up), benefiting a very worthy cause - POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario). Weaving through Sunnybrook Park, the route is on pristine tree lined paths for either 5 or 10K distances. Ladies will be perfectly hydrated on this run, with firefighters manning every water station on the course.

Oasis Zoo Run - Saturday, September 12
Leaping lion, galloping gazelle, or stealth decide which is your spirit animal in this run through the Toronto Zoo. Word to the wise, get there early as the corrals are tightly wound through the animal exhibits, making it difficult to snake your way through the busy crowds. Kids love the 500m fun run and while the 5K distance is a cinch for most, the 10k hits up the hillier aspects of the zoo and is a pretty challenging route.

B&O Yorkville Run - Sunday, September 13
This has been dubbed the fastest Canadian 5K road race for the past 4 years and this year marks the second time they've tacked on another running event, the Canadian 5K Road Race Championship. Speed demons can apply to snag a spot in this elite race, so if your 10K time looks like most people's 5K, then sign up to secure a spot.

RBC Run for the Kids - Saturday, September 19
Hit the mean streets of North York for this 5K, 7K or 15K run in support of youth mental health. This race starts at Mel Lastman Square, whips around the neighbourhood and finishes off with a big party back at the square. All proceeds go to support Sunnybrook's youth mental health initiatives.

Terry Fox - Sunday, September 20
Everyone's favourite one legged athlete made his mission to cure cancer, and while his life was cut short by the disease, his goal of every Canadian donating one dollar to the cause was something he accomplished long ago (currently at $650 million in donations). Runs are throughout the city, with courses in North York, Sunnybrook Park, Seneca College, High Park, and Scarborough to name just a few.

Runway Run - Saturday, September 26
You'll wanna fartlek your way through this run, as the added bonus of jet fuel in your face will either leave you determined to finish quick, or to pause briefly to give your lungs a break. The 5K marked route (or 2K walk) starts at the southernmost runway with planes taking off and landing on the adjacent tarmac.

What did I miss? Add your favourite summer running events to the comments.

Photo of the Runway Run via Facebook.

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