There are so many pluses about this race, I honestly can't help but list them:
- Many charity races are primarily focused on fundraising and while the walk or run is secondary. This event manages to successfully combine the support of a cause with being well respected by high-caliber runners.
- The race offers two rarer distances. Since Toronto lost Midsummer's Night Run 15K and the Nike 15K failed to return, there are very few 15K races available. The 7K distance is even more rare. For those looking to broaden their race distance spectrum, these are great options! The 5K distance serves as a great option for those with kids, dogs, families, groups or alternately, for the speedy runners wanting a straight-forward out and back course.
- The organization of this run is incredible. The race start and finish are centered around Mel Lastman Square
- This event is centrally located in the city, right on the subway line. While many races are held on Sunday, this race is on a Saturday making the subway an option for travel. For the past two years I have driven (and carpooled several runners) parking close by, paying only $5 for over hours.
- Unlike some other charity runs / walks, there's no registration for this race. The organizers suggest a fundraising minimum of $100 for adult participants.
- Typically races have bib pick up at a location close to the race two days prior to the actual race. RBC provides a full 5 days of pick up options across the city.
- Each participant receives a tech shirt and bib with your name on it.
- Unlike other races where it is somewhat taboo to wear the race shirt for the race, it is odd to NOT wear the shirt for this race! There is nothing like seeing a sea of blue ahead and behind you on course.
- The quality and range of food options at this race are seriously incredible. Chocolate milk, coffee, yogurt popsicles, grilled cheese, decadent pastries are just a few options available at the post race party.
- Speaking of parties, this is one race that people stick around after the race! There's entertainment for kids and awards. The park is very conducive to chatting with other runners and celebrating the day.
- The volunteers at this race are informed and happy. A special kudos goes out to this year's water station in the hydro field park. This group who was singing, smiling and cheering came along at a perfect time in the race when energy was dwindling!
- The charity supported by this race is the Family Navigation Project. This program helps youth that are suffering from mental health issues navigate the health care system to find the help they need. This year the race rose a record breaking $2.2 million dollars to assist families in need.
- Things like a confetti cannon at the start, having Toronto's Mayor John Tory to send off the runners, a fun sign in the reflecting pond of Mel Lastman Square (making for a great photo backdrop!), plenty of porta-potties, roaming characters like Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants are all appreciated extras.
- As one of several ambassadors, we were provided with the tools required to provide information and create hype about the race on social media. We had fun ambassador training runs at New Balance stores throughout the city. We were thanked repeatedly for my efforts and made to feel like I was making a difference. Overall, it was a really fun experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
And because photos sometimes speak louder than words, here are some of my fellow ambassadors and I celebrating race day: