If your idea of a great vacation involves running, this list of Ontario races is for you. Each year communities across Ontario host running events ranging from the Toronto Marathon to the Beat Beethoven 8K. Here’s just a few of our picks. Add your own in the comments section!
Sydenham Lakeside Run – Sydenham, Ontario
Dates: July, 2014 date tba
Distance: 2K, 5K, 10K
You may have never heard of Sydenham, Ontario, a small town of 1,000 just north of Kingston, but each year the Sydenham Lakeside Run brings running fans from near and far to run the beautiful Cataraqui Trail. The trail is a four season trail for hikers, cyclists, equestrians, snowmobiles, and cross-country skiers, and follows the former Canadian National Railway line from Strathcona near Napanee to Smiths Falls. Stick around to discover local gems in this 200-year-old town, including one of the oldest general stores in Canada.
Wolfe Island Classic – Wolfe Island, Ontario
Dates: July – 2014 date tba
Distance: 5K and 10K
If a post-race swim is a must for you, the Wolfe Island Classic is worth adding to your running calendar. Travel to the race from Kingston by ferry (free) and you’ll find yourself just about at the starting line as you step off the boat. This race has lots of history behind it – the 33rd annual race was run July 7th, 2013! Travelling with your kids? There is also the “Kiddie Kilomoter” which gives children a chance to experience the fun of a race.
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – Toronto, Ontario
Date: October 19th, 2014
Distance: 5K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon
For many runners the cool, crisp days of fall are the perfect conditions for a run – which makes the Toronto Waterfront Marathon a perfect fit! Whether you run 5K or take on the Full Marathon, the waterfront route takes you past beautiful views of the CN Tower, Toronto Islands and much more. There’s lots of race related fun to enjoy as well, from the pasta dinner the night before, to prizes for costumes during the race.
Around the Bay – Hamilton, Ontario
Date: March 30th, 2014
Distance: 5K, 30K
This race is a must for runners who love a challenge. As the oldest race in North America (first run on Christmas Day in 1894 – 3 years before the Boston Marathon!) each year brings lots of excitement to Hamilton and friends and family come to cheer on the runners. The first 20K of the race takes you around the harbour from Hamilton to Burlington and back again, while the last 10K includes some grueling rolling hills to overcome on your way to the finish line. One way this race keeps you motivated – each kilometer is marked with inspirational messages like these.
Ottawa Marathon – Ottawa, Ontario
Dates: May, 2014 dates tba
Distances: 2K, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon
Take your love of running to Canada’s capital – then choose your distance! The Ottawa Marathon has runs for athletes of all levels, whether you enjoy short or long distances. Make a weekend of it and round out your trip with a bike along the Rideau Canal or a delicious pasta dinner in Byward Market.
Beat Beethoven Run – Kingston, Ontario
Dates: Typically June
Distance: 4K, 8K
In 2012 this run was listed as one of the most unique runs in Canada by iRun.ca. This race is for runners and music lovers alike, and features the Kingston Symphony playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 3. Runners aim to finish the race before the completion of the piece, as they take on a route that tours past some of Kingston’s historic sites. Runners might even catch a ghostly glimpse of Beethoven himself running the race.
Perth Kilt Run – Perth, Ontario
Dates: Typically in June
The proud Scottish heritage of this beautiful Ontario town is evident not only in the town name (it was named after Perth in Scotland), but also in the annual Perth Kilt Run. Each year runners gather from near and far to run 8K in their finest kilts. And the fun doesn’t end after the race. Typically, Perth shows runners a good time with entertainment at the Crystal Palace as well as free beer samples from local brewers.
Be sure to plan some extra time in Perth after the race – the parks, historic buildings and Tay River that runs through the down are the perfect way to add a little R&R to your trip.
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What is your favourite run in Ontario! Let us know in the comments below.