Toronto Marathon Ban - Banning Marathons Because of Road Congestion
Here we go again, another group of marathon haters start throwing tantrums and their uneducated two cents worth because roads get closed early on a Sunday morning for a few hours for the Goodlife Toronto Marathon. This marathon for those that don't know used to run in October 1 month after the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon and was recently moved to May by the City of Toronto. Recently a local Toronto newspaper columnist wrote about her experience running the half marathon and talks about road management etc.
Well of course, this article gets some stickiness and the marathon haters and runners battle it out in the comment forums. Marathons do shut down traffic which may be an inconvenience for some but there are weeks and weeks of advance notice given through Print, TV, Road Signs Radio to make alternative arrangements so I don't really feel sorry for the whiners. Get over it!
Its nice to see intelligent debate over marathons but the ignorance of some is amazing. One person pointed out how the Chicago Marathon, NYC Marathon, Boston, London and Berlin Marathons are embraced by the residents and the race course is lined wall to wall with fans cheering. They were also quick to point out the Toronto marathons are weaker in terms of overall fan support. Having been to Chicago, NYC, Boston and both Toronto Marathons I would have to agree, the fan support in Toronto is not comparable to the other marathons. This doesn't mean the marathons aren't great races to run, well organized and should be on your race calendar.
This doesn't surprise me since Canada in general has never been ultra supportive of amateur athletics. Its a shame because there are amazing athletes in Canada that can't get athletic scholarships in their own country. In fact, unless the rules have changed corporate sponsorship of high school sports teams has never been allowed. I guess they would would rather see no sports because of lack of public funding, then God forbid a corporation benefiting from some advertising that supports children's athletics.
Its well documented that both male and female Canadian runners have satisfied B standards to gain entry into the Olympics, but Athletics Canada will not send the runner even though several other countries will. Athletes in Canada that don't realize they are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to support should wake up a smell the coffee. Participation in fitness and sporting events like marathons have benefits that go well beyond some money for the city coffers.
Runners and athletes need to speak up and voice your opinions otherwise these squeaky wheel, traffic complaining, lazy, anti marathon, negative complaining whiners might get their way. I would love to see the success levels attained by the people who complain about road closures during Marathons in Toronto and elsewhere.
Join us on the RunningPage Facebook page for more discussion.