Every year, hundreds of marathons, half marathons, and other races take place in the Greater Toronto Area, just waiting for participants to sign up and run. They’re lots of fun, bring people together and help motivate many to get in shape. And, you’ll find most of these marathons and races partner up with charities, so you end up running for a good cause too.
For most, it’s your choice whether to walk or run, and it’s up to you how seriously you want to take it. Participants of every age, athletic background, and competitive level are welcome, as the ultimate goal of all is to have fun and come together as a community!
If you’re planning on running in one or multiple of these races, you’ll want to make sure you’re in the best shape you can be. The key to being in the best shape you can is a combination of exercise, and nutrition, with your nutrition being the major factor. However, managing your food habits while maintaining an active professional, social and athletic life can be incredibly difficult. But, that’s where ActivEats comes in.
For those in the Greater Toronto Area, ActivEats provides access to healthy, nutritious and delicious meals that are cooked fresh and delivered to your door. ActivEats offers gluten-free and vegan options, making it easy to stay on track with your nutritional needs without it taking up huge amounts of time. ActivEats makes meal prep easy, letting you stay on track and get in the best shape you can for races, marathons and your everyday life!
MEC Toronto Road Race is a collection of 6 races (priced at $120 for all 6) spread out across the year with 5K and 10K races held in January, April,. June, July, August and October. Each race is spread over road and trail, and offers unlimited bananas!
The Robbie Burns 8K race has been held for 40 years, and aims to raise money for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, combining a fun race and a great cause. While as of this writing the event just passed, it’s held yearly and is something to keep an eye on each year!
Snowshoe Kawartha offers the opportunity for one to compete in, or learn the joy of snowshoe racing, taking on a 5K or 10K race that is sanctioned by Snowshoe Canada, the official governing body for Canadian Snowshoe racing. Racers of all levels are welcome!
Re-Fridgee-Eighter is an early year, 8K race that kicks off the beginning of the Run Waterloo annual race calendar. While a little out of the way of Torontonians, it provides a great opportunity to begin training for the Spring and Summer races and has been staple for Waterloo racing since 1998.
The Olde Girdled Grit 50K marathon covers 3 parks and features a 2-mile trail loop, a 9 mile trail loop and an out and back on 1.75 miles. There are aid stations, restrooms and water stops spread across the course, helping to keep you going on a long trail for the marathon or half marathon.
Now re-named the Peter Adams Winter Run (named after one of the original directors), for over 40 years this YMCA led race has raised money each year for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign in the Greater Toronto Area.
Polar Paws offers a 5k and 10k winter trail race through Durham Regional Forest. Your biggest hurdle is the elements, as possibly snowy and icy conditions will affect how you prepare and how you perform. They’re partnered with Rescue Foodie, a charity dedicated to helping animal rescue shelters and foster organizations.
The Hypothermic Half Marathon is a half marathon held in winter cities around Canada and Minnesota, that emphasis running in the cold to test your limits and push you beyond them! It’s fun, active and a community feel!
For those looking for a little twist on their race, the Polar Rush features 12 obstacles and a lot of snow spread across 5 kms. After you finish, you can enjoy BBQ, bonfires and more, as a group of like-minded people party and celebrate a fun day of athletic challenges!
The New Balance Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, not too far out from Toronto, offers three races including a 21.1K half marathon, a 5K race and a new Frigid 10k race. In addition to three varying races, they’ve partnered with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation, raising money for a great cause. They offer free entries into races if one can secure $250 in pledges for the Frosty 5K and $500 in pledges for the Chilly Half Marathon.
The Secret Marathon is a race inspired by a young woman who secretly trained for the marathon of Afghanistan. It’s a 3K running or walking marathon that emphasizes and looks to build towards equality and is partnered up with “Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan”.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run is a race in Downtown Toronto that offers a 5km and 10km race. They’ve held the race since 2000 and allows teams to come together in teams to raise money for their favourite charities.
The Laurier Loop is a 2.5k relay race held In Waterloo and organized by students at Wilfrid Laurier University. This race is about fun, community and raising money for the Sun Life Centre for Physically Active Communities.
The Good Friday Road Race is an annual event held by the Burlington Runners for over 45 years. If features a 1km Bunny Hop Kids Race, along with a 5km and 10km race. It’s all about bringing together a fun sense of community before families get together for Easter dinner.
In 2019 the 125th annual Around the Bay Road Race will be held by Running Room and is a 30K marathon that dates back three years before the famous Boston Marathon. It’s a staple of the Hamilton community and brings Olympic gold medalists, Boston Marathon winners and athletes from around the world to Hamilton’s natural harbour. Test yourself against the best in one of the original marathons!
The Pancake Prediction Run is a fun and unique 8km race that takes place on gravel road. It puts a unique twist on the marathon/race concept by having each participant predict their finish time ahead of the race. The winner is not who finishes the fastest, but rather finishes closest to their predicted finishing time. And when you’re done, you can indulge in a post-race buffet featuring pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and lots of Mad Trapper Maple Syrup!
These are just examples of some of the races taking part in the Greater Toronto Area during the first few months of the year, but there are so many more spread out through the rest of the year including: