Spectator + Support Crew at the T.O. Marathon

On Sunday I spent the morning cheering on members of the marathon clinic (and all kinds of strangers, too!) at the Toronto Marathon. I have to admit, I kind of love waking up at 5am for race day when I’m not the one racing.

I was out the door early to meet Kelly and Danya (racing) and fellow supporter Nik to drive us all to the start. It was a perfect, cool morning and seemed like it would be a really good day to be running a marathon. I hoped the sun wouldn’t heat things up too much for our runners as the day went on.

We made it to the start easily and met up with all of our other friends from the clinic. The starting line at the Toronto Marathon is simple and chaos-free – no worries about finding bag check or bathrooms, and you don’t have to line up long before the gun goes off. We exchanged lots of good lucks and high fives and took photos before seeing our runners off.

Goodlife-Marathon-005 Goodlife-Marathon-003Nik and I hopped back in the car and made our way to stop #1: 10K.

gfcweWe got there in plenty of time to see the leaders and anxiously waited for our runners to start coming through, cheering for everyone else in the mean time. We were both decked out in our Boston jackets (duh) so it was fun to get lots of comments and congrats on those. It seemed like a lot of people who had run Boston were out for redemption. Several said: “Much cooler today!” And then there was one $^%& who said something along the lines of: “Wow, they give those jackets to anybody these days.” Reeeeal nice, buddy. We refrained from responding and silently cursed him, secretly hoping that karma would pay him a visit later in the race.

Anyway, all the peeps from our group were looking happy and strong. We made a couple of pre-arranged bottle swaps and sent them on their way with good wishes for the rest of the race. I know how much I love to see a familiar during the race, so it was nice to put smiles on some faces out there.

546728_10150736359522511_626447510_10024215_557918941_nI got to see Lish, too! Make sure you check out her recap and give her congrats – psssst, she killed it! I also saw Kenny who was running his 800th marathon (or so it seems) and making it look easy, as usual!

Once we had seen everyone, it was time to pack up and head down to the finish area which would also situate us at 28K before the out-and-back on Lakeshore. We hit a couple of traffic/road closure issues along the way, but made it in time to park and schlep our stuff over to the grass in between the bike path (28K for the “out” portion) and Lakeshore Boulevard (42K for the “back” portion).

It was fun to start cheering for everyone again and lots of runners recognized us from our last spot. I had a bunch of watermelon wedges and I started handing those out. The runners gobbled them up! I figure this just one small way of paying it forward after all the support I received from spectators at Boston. The watermelon was running out fast and I had to be careful to save enough for our runners.

It was nice to see everyone again and check in on their progress, offer some encouraging words and promise that we’d see them for the finish. We had tons of bottles to swap this time and had them all laid out in the order we expected to see them.

Goodlife-Marathon-006I was stoked for some of our runners who were absolutely killing it and on their way to a strong finish. It was tough to see that a few of our peeps were struggling and that it wasn’t turning out to be the race they had hoped/planned/trained for. With some extra pep talks, water, sugar and advil as needed, we got them all on their way again. I really felt for them because I knew it was turning out to be a grueling day – trust me, I have been there! (numerous times)

552881_10150736354302511_626447510_10024210_935299997_n1One of the ladies actually thanked me later for giving her “permission to just finish.” Sometimes when our time goal has slipped away and we feel just terrible, it’s hard to find the motivation to keep going. I knew she could do it (and she did). It feels good to play just a small role in helping someone through a tough mental spot. Again, I have been there! (numerous times)

After seeing the last of my peeps, I simply had to turn around and re-position myself to watch for runners coming back the other way to the finish. It was just a few hundred metres away, but it’s right in that spot when it still seems to far away. I did my best to encourage all the runners to just keep pushing and finish strong, assuring them that they were truly almost there.

Goodlife-Marathon-008This is where it got really exciting to see my runners finishing. I cheered like mad, jumped in where I could to run along-side for a few strides, snapped pictures, took water bottles/belts, etc. I screamed til my voice was scratchy and loved every minute of it. So proud of all of them! Every last one of them finished – lots of PRs, a couple of BQs and a whole lot of determination to that finish line regardless of the time on the clock.

It was such a thrill to be a part of this day and the perfect way to commemorate the end of our marathon clinic. Congratulations, Team!


17 thoughts on “Spectator + Support Crew at the T.O. Marathon

  1. Thanks so much Marlene for the shoutout! It was amazing seeing you on course….You looked fab and are such a great cheerleader! It was the perfect day!

  2. You were such runspiration on race day, especially with your Boston jacket on! Loved seeing you at multiple points, thanks for being there!

  3. Sounds like you had a great time cheering. It’s nice when you have enough experience doing races yourself to know what your friends (and others) need the most!

  4. I love supporting others in races and yes, it is so relaxing to get up and know you are not running on the day. But I’ll choose running any day!

  5. Spectators really do make all the difference. While I was running, I was thinking if I was a spectator I would have a big stereo blasting. Sometimes a bit of music really pushes people.
    I never knew you were going to be at the start, I would of looked for you.

  6. Spectating is so much fun. Sounds like you had a wonderful, rewarding time spectating and inspiring and supporting all your people.

    Dying to see more puppy pics and just a little jealous that your toilet training is progressing so well. Ah well- persistence will one day pay off.

  7. It must be fun to stand at the other side of a marathon as a spectator. You sound like a proud trainer, you did a great job helping them with the training and on marathon day.

  8. What a rewarding experience! A huge time commitment, but I think it’s amazing that you returned the “Coach” favor to fellow runners and friends. We should all be so lucky to have someone telling us that whatever happens on that day is OK 🙂 It’s nearly impossible to convince yourself of that, but if someone else says it, it sticks in a different way.

    On another note, it makes me so sad to think that some a-hole had the nerve (much less the THOUGHT) to say that about your jacket. Woof. Keep wearin that thing proudly, as you should!

    • Thanks H. It *really* got to me… more so later in the day when I remembered. Wish I had thought of something clever to retort, but he’s not even worth it.

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