River Oaks parkrun, Ontario, Canada

My seventh parkrun in Canada, and the first of the many that have popped up around Toronto in the last year or so. The area is referred to broadly as the “GTA’. If you visit, expect to hear that phrase routinely, but don’t get excited, it does not mean someone is coming for your car: Greater Toronto Area.

This run is a fast and flat one, with a couple of loops. It is just over the berm that separates the community centre car park from the ‘pipeline’ (wide tarmacced path). The course runs along the pipeline to the other end, then back on yourself, turn left along a trail and follow that round, back onto the pipeline, up to the end again, round the loop again, then turn back towards the start/finish. It’s pretty simple, and there are marshals at key points in any case.

Club mate Lawrence finishing.
Lawrence, my host and club mate, finishing. And a nice view of the finish.

We drove from more or less the centre of the city, which took about half an hour. Parking is plentiful, and we couldn’t miss the run – the people were hidden by the berm, but the parkrun flag was flying proudly. We were among the first to arrive, at 8:30, and so had the luxury of a warm welcome from the multi-national event team. It was a cold but not freezing morning, and I’ll take that at this point. With the sun on our backs post run, it was quite nice, though you’ll see from the photos that I didn’t actually take my gloves off. Could have. Didn’t.

Me, getting my result scanned
Me, getting my result scanned, as the event director looks on.

I have been getting fitter and lighter, and that combined with a couple of tough sessions with the Kingston Road Runners meant that today I ran a couple of quick miles in succession for the first time in a while, and ran the quickest time since New Zealand in April. I’d like to think I can go quicker from here, but it will depend on getting a course as friendly as this one.

Post run we joined several others in Fortinos. It is a supermarket, but like Whole Foods Market in the US, a supermarket with comfortable seating, a cafe, coffee bar and so on. Tesco cafe, this is not. You can eat and drink to your heart’s content, and shop afterwards, if you want.

Lawrence and me, squinting into the sun
Lawrence and me, squinting into the sun.

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