Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let the marathon debate begin: Mississauga v. Toronto

When it was announced that Toronto and Mississauga would have marathons on the same day, drivers took a collective sigh about what streets to avoid in two neighbouring cities. Meanwhile, runners thought, which one should I choose?

So the big headline out of this mega marathon weekend in the Toronto area?

Positive
50% more runners ran in race this past weekend than in last spring. Hooray for fitness! Running boom is here!

Negative
Mississauga and Toronto suffer drops in attendance. Can we ever build a big-city marathon ever?

The numbers are interesting to look at. For the marathon, 2390 people ran this year in the combined races while last spring, 1711 did Mississauga in 2010. Toronto attracted more racers for the full, half and 5K. I didn't count relays.

In total, year over year, Toronto saw the number of finishers drop 24.3 per cent in 2011, compared with 27.1-per-cent fall for Mississauga. Mississauga is interesting because they offered a deep discount early in the registration window.

Anyways, I take it as an interesting study that's not complete until Ottawa is finished and we see the number of finishers across all distances. But interesting numbers nonetheless.

See my fun (and kinda poorly organized, sorry) Google table below.

The real story will probably emerge when we see the number of finishers for Scotiabank Toronto in October. If that can't get more than a 40% rise (as the marathon distance did get this spring, then we may have run out of steam.. Marathon bust in Toronto?



https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AuaFqb5xrYiQdFZfd1phbVJmUTFfcHlvT0doR0V3MEE&output=html

4 comments:

Adeel said...

The idea that there only be one marathon per city per weekend, two weeks or month is one I've never gotten. Seoul can have as many as four full marathons in the city proper in one weekend, never mind its suburbs. There are even two marathons in the same part of town on June 6.

Granted, most of them don't really close off the streets and run along the equivalent of the Martin Goodman, but even if it did, no one complains in a city with the same area as Toronto but four times the number of people.

Marlene said...

Interesting to see these stats - I wondered how it would all play out.

So next year we have Toronto on May 6th and Mississauga and Sporting Life on the 13th.

Did you also see that they've changed the Scotia start time to 9am? BOOOOOO!

Marky Mark said...

Very interesting and yes it will be even clearer after Ottawa and perhaps Scotia. All being well I will do that half. And 9am that time of year isn't that bad, no? Otherwise it it dark at the start. When I did GoodLife as a half at 8am in October, 2009 that is how I remember it. The full started at 9 though.

Patrick said...

Interesting analysis.

Why do you think there is such a vocal negative attitude toward the marathons in Toronto? We have those attitudes here in Ottawa but most people seem to embrace Race Weekend here.