Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When will the other shoe drop on Toronto's runners

We all remember the whole anti-marathon campaign here in Toronto last fall, when the then-candidate suggested banning marathons from city roads? Remember how that guy went all populist, speaking to the driving, commuting crowd, saying how maybe marathons could be run in a hilly park where you could, at best, do 5K loops, or at a former military base?

Well, we elected that guy, Rob Ford, and runners have been wondering ever since what would become of all those threats.

Okay, not news his position on our sport, but I did think about him today when I heard that an entire portion of the Lakeshore was shut down (on a weekday, no less) so a Hollywood production could shoot.

As the CFRB 1010 report says, lots of benefit to the city

The film's budget is around 200 million dollars and is the biggest production Toronto has ever seen. It's believed a production of this size provides about 500 local jobs. The film is a remake of the 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So yes, I'm waiting for front page news to deride the traffic-stopping movie production so a few hundred people can get jobs (not as important as 20,000 people investing in physical fitness), but really, I'm waiting to see if the other shoe drops.

And as I read about how bike lanes are being closed in this city, I shudder, even as we herald in the arrival of a forward looking bike sharing program Bixi, much like the Capital Bike Share DC has had in place recently.

Crossroads? You bet.

Toronto Life printed an article that a few of us runners have read, about the growing ranks of our citizens who have flocked to running. It mentions something that many of us have noticed over the years. More people in this city have turned to this sport. You see it on the trails, on race registration stats, and even by the very the fact that my workplace can start a running club and within two weeks we have five people out. Excuse my math, but I think we have a full 10th of our office out.

So then we have all these questions, as services like libraries (really?) face some trimming. Will our fall racing reason survive? Will marathons be forced off the roads? Will the 8K of path between my condo and the Humber Bay Bridge be cleared of snow in the winter, allowing for cyclists and runners a clearing to commute and work out?

Who knows what public policy our city's leaders will enact to stymie fitness, but I think the bug has caught on. It really is a virus, this running boom. The recession fuels it. Global warming may perpetuate it. What can stop it other than another trendy sport or gym to take a hold over our city. Fat chance, I'd say.

5 comments:

Robin said...

So true...waiting with anticipation to see what happens.... I look at Ford and think to myself...he could do with a little running

macnic said...

Oh snap, Robin. Too true! I love Toronto, but I'm glad I just work there. I really feel I get the best of all worlds this way.

Marlene said...

Well said, as always!

We may need to stage a protest marathon in the streets of downtown. Perhaps during rush hour to really make our point?

Laura said...

Amen. Today's council meetings may prove to be very interesting.

ghada said...


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