Photo credit: SportingLife10K.ca
The Sporting Life 10K is a race I try to do every year – the money raised goes to a wonderful charity Camp Ooch, which sends kids with cancer to camp. The race itself is a lot of fun as it goes through downtown Toronto making it a fast 10K. Even though the race took place a week after the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon, I was still looking forward to running it.
Pre-Race: Packet pick up was at the Sporting Life Store on Yonge Street in North Toronto. It opened the Tuesday before the run and went all week to Saturday evening. Out of town runners were allowed to pick up their kits on race morning but only until 7:00AM. I liked the idea of having packet pick up open for several days. It made it very convenient for everyone to pick up their shirts and bibs.
Race day: Bag check opened at 6:00AM race morning and was divided by corrals. Each bag check station closed at different times to ensure the trucks would reach the finish area by the time the runners did. Everything was well marked and the volunteers were clear in letting runners know when the stations would be shutting down.
The view of the start line from the yellow corral at the Sporting Life 10K
The race was divided by several corrals, each with their own start time. The first corral started at 7:30AM, with the last corral leaving at 9:00AM. With more than 20,000 runners registered, the corrals took up several city blocks.
2016 Sporting Life 10K route (Photo credit: Strava.com)
The race started on Yonge Street, north of Eglinton Avenue, headed south through the downtown core and finished on Fort York Boulevard. Runners then had a quick walk to the finish area in Coronation Park.
Because I was still recovering from the GoodLife Half Marathon the previous weekend, I was given instructions not to race. My coach explained that a week in between races was not sufficient for recovery and even though I felt great, my body was still recuperating. Racing that morning increased the possibility of a running related injury. No thank-you. So instead, I was told to run 8K at a slightly faster pace of 6:00-6:15 min/km and then to run at 5K pace for the final 2K. It sounded like a good plan to me!
Running down Yonge Street at the Sporting Life 10K
Not racing is easier said than done, especially on a downhill course with runners zipping by. It was hard to resist the temptation of running faster. So I worked on maintaining good running form, practiced drinking water while running through water stops and even stopped for a picture or two.
Just cruisin’ along for the Sporting Life 10K
Post-Race: Finishers’ medals were handed out shortly after the finish line while water and food were located a short walk away in Coronation Park – the finish area. I picked up my bag from the bag check area. I was a little surprised to see it was basically self-serve, runners walked in and picked up their belongings and then had a volunteer check that their bib matched the number on their bag. After that, I headed off in search of brunch with my friends.
Overall, it had been a great morning for a run! The weather was perfect and I was on target with my pacing for both segments of my run. And for a race of that size, I would have to say Sporting Life did an awesome job of organizing and executing the race!
2016 Sporting Life 10K medal