Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

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Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:19 pm

I'm looking for options to avoid the potentially hot weather in Ottawa in late May, and thinking one of these races three weeks earlier might be a good alternative. Does anyone have compelling arguments for one vs the other? I know there have been many debates on here about the various GTA races, but I never paid close attention since I wasn't running them.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby La » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:35 pm

Both are point-to-point, both are net downhill. For me, it's an issue of logistics with respect to pre/post race. I'm not sure how Toronto works things with respect to transportation from the finish now that it's at Ontario Place (where there is no public transit close by). Also, I've never run the marathon in either race - I've done the Missy half three times and parts of the TO race as a relay, though the course has changed A LOT over the years (it rarely remains the same).

Coming from out of town, transportation to the start line will be the same regardless of which race you choose (depending on where you stay, I guess).

Traffic in the GTA (Toronto especially) is a mess right now, so factor in a race with road closures and it's a complete nightmare. For that reason, I'd pick Missy over TO.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby fingerboy » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:07 pm

I'd say the opposite. But I've only ran the Missy half once. It was a nightmare **** coming off the highway trying to find parking. I promised myself never again.

Toronto International aka Goodlife used to be a beautiful course run in the fall with Rosedale Valley Road in its full fall bloom. Now its run at the same time and well the weather is going to be the same as Missy.

There's lots of places to park near the start, and good places to keep warm like North York City Centre or the North York Running Room.

There's definitely a finish shuttle near the finish. I forgot where it took me? Downtown? Back to the start? Honestly I don't remember. Mississauga also has shuttles at the end. I remember our driver getting a little lost, and it definitely took a long time getting back.

I can't say the crowd support is particularly good in either case - its not bad in TO - the North York area is good, the forest hill is good, Lakeshore is not so good for this race (its really good for STWM). Obviously its all weather dependent.

Mississauga had some crowd support near the start, and along Mississauga road. Neither were particularly that amazing but since my last few races have been Boston, New York and Chicago - its nothing like any of those.

I'd rather do Goodlife but Missy may have updated itself. I'd probably actually rather temp fate at Ottawa (since I've never run it), but there's always waiting til the fall for STWM. They do a pretty decent job and the crowd support is really good. Just 22-24kms and 36-38 are kind of void of people, but we'll see if the new course has helped that.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby alexk » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:56 am

I've never run Mississauga but have done GL the past 2 years. I loved the course. You get a great tour of the city & running down Yonge Street for 10kms was lots of fun! It's fairly fast w/ just 1 significant hill about 5kms in.

As for transportation: buses to the start are provided. Just be sure to sign up for this when you register (an extra $9). I didn't the 1st year and had to take cab. I stayed at the Marriott Eaton Centre & the bus pick-up was just a 10 minute walk (Hilton). I also took a bus back to the Hilton after the race - all very smooth w/ no issues.

I really like the casual vibe of this race. For a big city race, it has a small-town feel. It's not that big - maybe 1500 entrants - so crowds, water-station chaos etc. aren't an issue. And as FB mentioned, there's a community centre to hang out in at the start if it's chilly - which it was this year. There are lots of porta-potties at the start - always a good thing! The temp got a bit warm in 2013 but conditions were perfect this year, except for a nasty headwind! Like Ottawa, it has a 7:30 start, which I like.

Coming from a small town, I want to be in the city if I'm racing in the city so my vote would be TO. But you're coming from a city so you may not feel the same :).
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby erinmcd » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:15 am

I did the Mississauga 1/2 a couple of years ago and I was very pleasantly surprised. I had no issues with parking (at the giant mall), the atmosphere at the start line was amazing- Michael Burgess sang O Canada.

The course was a lot nicer than I thought it would be- when I think of Mississauga strip malls and warehouses come to mind, but it wasn't like that- it went through some really beautiful neighborhoods and then down along the lake.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby purdy65 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:26 am

fingerboy wrote:There's lots of places to park near the start, and good places to keep warm like North York City Centre or the North York Running Room.

Or Lisa's Place :wink:

I've done the Missy half 2 times. It's a nice course, but the crowded shuttles back to the start were awful for me.

Now that GL is on the same weekend, it's hard to justify a trip to Mississauga when I have GL starting right outside my door.

I've done the GL full 2 times (BQ'd once!) and the half 4 times, and volunteered twice. It has a place in my heart, so I may not be the best person to ask objectively.

The course really is lovely though - as many agree.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby La » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:40 am

When I do point-to-point races I rarely rely on public transportation to/from the start/finish and try to coordinate parking a car at the finish and then driving up to the start (so, you have to have at least 2 people, and 2 cars).

With any race, you can't expect to show up 30 minutes before the race and find parking and have enough time to use the potty if needed. The earlier you get there, the less hassle you'll face (esp. with parking). That applies to both Missy and TO.

I think both courses have their lovely parts and their crappy parts. Missy can get congested at the finish since the last few kms are on a narrow recreation path (mostly for the 3-hour marathoners who are finishing at the same time as the 3-hour half marathoners and trying to weave their way through).
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby Robinandamelia » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:10 am

Everyone has the races they love...I've never ran Toronto and have no desire to because of the logistics of race day. I have run Mississauga 4 times and love it there...Have some of my best races in Mississauga.

It's really just a preference thing though. You'll get a lot of opinions but in the end, it's really just a preference. I'll be back at Mississauga though this year I'm sure....

I park at Cawthra, which is about half way between start and finish and have had no issues at all. You have to shuttle both directions, but the ride is shorter and less crowded.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby BJH » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:40 pm

What do you like in a race? Are you planning on combining some visiting and where do those folks live?

I've run the half, multiple times, at both and I find it comes down to what I'm in the mood for. I live a few blocks off the Goodlife course though, so logistics are easier (TTC bus to start, drop off bag, run race, pick up bag, walk to Liberty Village Goodlife to clean up, go on about my day).

Both courses are attractive. Goodlife has a a more urban course and more people cheering. The autopilot-just-follow-the-road-between-the-trees part of the race is longer in Mississauga (Mississauga Rd vs Rosedale Valley Rd). Neither is a bigger race like Ottawa or Toronto Waterfront. Mississauga has fewer touristy things to do if you are planning on making the trip into a getaway.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby canalrunner » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:05 pm

I am a big fan of Toronto Goodlife. Fundamentally fast course--especially for the half but also the full. Downhill front is great. Never had any logistical problems staying in midtown Toronto. Lots of TTC options after race from CNE: Dufferin bus, streetcars, Go train. Have run half once and marathon three times. Might do again in 2016.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby canalrunner » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:07 pm

I am a big fan of Toronto Goodlife. Fundamentally fast course--especially for the half but also the full. Downhill front is great. Never had any logistical problems staying in midtown Toronto. Lots of TTC options after race from CNE: Dufferin bus, streetcars, Go train. Have run half once and marathon three times. Might do again in 2016. Even like their stats analysis package which shows where you were when your age group finishing cross the line and bunch of other stats about pace. Not usre they still have it but they used to have tons of massage therapists after the race.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:46 pm

Man - you guys make good cases for both events! if I do mississauga, I'll likely drive down and stay near the race. if I do toronto, i would either drive or train, and then stay with a friend or my sister (and likely use public transit).

how do the races compare in terms of numbers? i want to feel like i'm running with other people. i tend to prefer bigger races with more excitement, if that makes sense.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby Robinandamelia » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:55 pm

Goodlife is probably bigger though not that much bigger I don't think. If you are staying at hotel, and don't have to commute then it's really which one do you want to try as the logistics won't be an issue as much.

Good luck deciding :)

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby HCcD » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:13 pm

You could run with our 3:45:xx ZRC crew at Missy .. host hotel is only a 500m walk to start line ...

Think Goodlife wins with the humongous medal but Missy offered a spinny medal this year ... :)
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby deerdree » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:10 pm

scrumhalfgirl wrote:how do the races compare in terms of numbers? i want to feel like i'm running with other people. i tend to prefer bigger races with more excitement, if that makes sense.

i'm glad i looked it up because i wouldn't have believed it otherwise - in terms of numbers, toronto is the bigger race. having cheered at both, i honestly thought it was mississauga!

GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Marathon | 1558 participants
(964 men & 541 women with average time : 4:09:03.97)

MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Marathon | 728 participants
(409 men & 308 women with average time : 4:14:57.3)

GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Half Marathon | 4067 participants
(1918 men & 2142 women with average time : 2:05:48.38)

MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Half Marathon | 2129 participants
(1028 men & 1094 women with average time : 2:05:58.54)

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby fingerboy » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:17 am

Interesting facts on the numbers. It does give credit to Toronto being the faster course - 2x as many people and 5min faster.


Also to compare:

STWM (Full)
Marathon | 3662 participants
(2332 men & 1273 women with average time : 4:11:53.59)

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby BJH » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:54 am

scrumhalfgirl wrote: i want to feel like i'm running with other people. i tend to prefer bigger races with more excitement, if that makes sense.


I'd give slight edge to Toronto in that case. There are just more people around, so you get a more out cheering. The start at Mississauga is a bit more fun. Toronto starts on a side street, and you make a couple of turns to get onto Yonge St. Mississauga starts in the mall parking lot, but there is a bit more of a fuss. I guess next spring will be the first year without Mayor Hazel McCallion starting the race with a speech about becoming bigger than Boston (she's retiring). ;)
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby canalrunner » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:37 am

deerdree wrote:
scrumhalfgirl wrote:how do the races compare in terms of numbers? i want to feel like i'm running with other people. i tend to prefer bigger races with more excitement, if that makes sense.

i'm glad i looked it up because i wouldn't have believed it otherwise - in terms of numbers, toronto is the bigger race. having cheered at both, i honestly thought it was mississauga!
GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Marathon | 1558 participants
(964 men & 541 women with average time : 4:09:03.97)
MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Marathon | 728 participants
(409 men & 308 women with average time : 4:14:57.3)
GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Half Marathon | 4067 participants
(1918 men & 2142 women with average time : 2:05:48.38)
MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Half Marathon | 2129 participants
(1028 men & 1094 women with average time : 2:05:58.54)


And to throw in some only slightly related data, Toronto Scotiabank had the following average times:
2013 Half Marathon average — 2:03:48
•2013 Marathon average — 4:05:02

Does this suggest that a flatter course is better than downhill courses or that a fall half or marathon is likely to be faster because there is better weather for training? Discuss amongst yourselves. I think it is the latter.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby deerdree » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:29 am

canalrunner wrote:
deerdree wrote:
scrumhalfgirl wrote:how do the races compare in terms of numbers? i want to feel like i'm running with other people. i tend to prefer bigger races with more excitement, if that makes sense.

i'm glad i looked it up because i wouldn't have believed it otherwise - in terms of numbers, toronto is the bigger race. having cheered at both, i honestly thought it was mississauga!
GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Marathon | 1558 participants
(964 men & 541 women with average time : 4:09:03.97)
MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Marathon | 728 participants
(409 men & 308 women with average time : 4:14:57.3)
GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON
Half Marathon | 4067 participants
(1918 men & 2142 women with average time : 2:05:48.38)
MISSISSAUGA MARATHON RACES
Half Marathon | 2129 participants
(1028 men & 1094 women with average time : 2:05:58.54)


And to throw in some only slightly related data, Toronto Scotiabank had the following average times:
2013 Half Marathon average — 2:03:48
•2013 Marathon average — 4:05:02

Does this suggest that a flatter course is better than downhill courses or that a fall half or marathon is likely to be faster because there is better weather for training? Discuss amongst yourselves. I think it is the latter.

this is still correlation, so it could just be that faster people are attracted to scotiabank. same with the numbers for goodlife versus mississauga: given that the ratio of men:women is much higher for goodlife, i'm not surprised that the average time is faster and i don't think we can make any conclusions about the course on that basis.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby temporun » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:37 am

From a weather perspective the average temp during both marathons is about the same but the relative humidity is close to 20% lower in May. This is something to consider especially if you sweat a lot.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby La » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:50 am

Are those times "averages" or "medians"? ;)

STWM also draws a much bigger contingent of elite runners. If the times above are averages (not medians), that will drive the average time down.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby purdy65 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:21 pm

La wrote:Are those times "averages" or "medians"? ;)

STWM also draws a much bigger contingent of elite runners. If the times above are averages (not medians), that will drive the average time down.


But it also draws a lot of slower, newer runners because of it's size.
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby gnu » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:27 am

I have done the Mississauga Marathon twice and never had problems with logistics. The one thing I didn't like is towards the end - where you go down to the trail, up to the street, down to the trail, up to the street...I don't know how many times. It's a little mentally tough when you're tired. But the crowds are pretty good towards the end; I thought the overall crowd support was pretty good considering the size of the race...

I have never done Goodlife.

Interestingly, when doing STWM I found that the Toronto crowds are big but relatively quiet outside of the "Cheer zones" (it's like they stand there looking for their one runner, cheer for that person, and that's it! so weird) - nothing like you get in Ottawa.

I am glad you started this thread though, because I am looking at both of these as options again - the weather that weekend can possibly be rainy and/or windy, but overall, it's usually a better bet than Ottawa when you're not acclimated to the heat.

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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:23 pm

gnu wrote:
Interestingly, when doing STWM I found that the Toronto crowds are big but relatively quiet outside of the "Cheer zones" (it's like they stand there looking for their one runner, cheer for that person, and that's it! so weird) - nothing like you get in Ottawa.



I hate those people! If you're standing out there, might as well put your hands together!
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Re: Mississauga vs Toronto Marathon (May)

Postby Double Bellybuster » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:54 am

I've run the Toronto Marathon the last three years and will moving to Mississauga same day this spring.

I feel that the Toronto Marathon and Sporting Life 10K races that are a disaster waiting to happen. Not all their own doing - certainly the Mayor and his droogs giving preferential treatment to Canada Running Series events is a contributor.

2012 occurrences of The Mayor yanking the Toronto Marathon finish line after yanking the date the year before, water shortage at the Toronto Marathon and finish line backup at the Sporting Life 10K due to lack of road closures are things that come to mind.

Mississauga supports its marathon. The Toronto Marathon is not supported by its city. The Toronto Waterfront Marathon is supported by its city but occasionally using nasty methods that make me remember that people in photographs with the city mayor meet unfortunate outcomes.
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