Canadians Coolsaet and Gillis qualify for London Olympics at 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Eric Gillis (left) and Reid Coolsaet celebrate at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) after qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)

Kenneth Mungara of Kenya wins his 4th consecutive Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) with a time of 2:09:51. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)

More than 22,000 runners take to the streets of Toronto for the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011), raising more than $3.5 million for charity. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)

British Sikh 100 year-old Fauja Singh completes the 42.2km 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) with a time of 8:25:16. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)

Toronto's premier running event raised more than $3.5 million for 164 local charities

TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Today was a spectacular day for Canadian pride at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), with Canadian runners Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis qualifying for the London Olympics. More than 22,000 runners took to the streets in windy conditions, raising more than $3.5 million for 164 local charities.

Coolsaet and Gillis, his training partner at Speed River Track Club in Guelph, ON, finished third (2:10:55) and fourth (2:11:28) respectively at STWM, meeting the Canadian Olympic standard and ensuring their spots on the 2012 Olympic Team. Coolsaet's time was the fastest time ever run by a Canadian on Canadian soil and the second fastest time ever for a Canadian over the classic 42k distance. Gillis, who met the qualifying standard by merely one second, previously represented Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10,000m.

Kenya's Kenneth Mungara won the overall men's title with a time of 2:09:51. Ethiopia's Shami Dawit narrowly lost a thrilling sprint to the finish line, also being timed in 2:09:51 for second. The women's race was equally exciting. Despite battling a tough headwind over the last seven kilometres, Ethiopia's diminutive Koren Yal, equaled the course record of 2:22:43 defeating fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba by 42 seconds to claim the top prize. Yal's performance was the ninth fastest women's marathon run in the world so far this year.

"This was a remarkable breakthrough day for Canadian marathoning," said Alan Brookes, Race Director. "Over the past few years our IAAF Silver Label race has established itself as one of the best in the world and today's times confirm that. Most exciting today is that our Canadians ran with the best in the world and punched their tickets to London. We're thrilled and so proud of not only our elite athletes, but also the 22,000 other runners that collectively raised a record-breaking amount for charity."

"I am extremely proud to report that the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has raised over $3.5 million for some incredible Canadian charities," said John Doig, Senior Vice-President, Toronto Region, Scotiabank. "STWM is an amazing event where people from all over the world can run, cheer on loved ones, or raise money for charity. It's a great combination of athleticism, philanthropy and community spirit."

Marathon Highlights

  • Men's Race - Kenya's Kenneth Mungara was crowned Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon champion for the fourth consecutive year, with a finishing time of 2:09:51. Mungara previously broke the record for fastest time on Canadian soil at STWM in 2010 (2:07:57).

  • Women's Race - Koren Yal, from Ethiopia, placed first in the women's race (2:22:43) just ahead of fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba who came in second (2:23:25). Russia's Silvia Skvortsova came third in 2:27:51.

  • Canadian Standings - Reid Coolsaet of the Speed River Track Club in Guelph, ON, led the Canadians with an overall third-place finish with an international-class time of 2:10:55, qualifying him for the 2012 Olympic Games. Also qualifying for the London Olympics is Reid's clubmate Eric Gillis who finished fourth at 2:11:28. Particularly noteworthy is that six Canadians finished in the top ten in this world-class event.

  • Half-Marathon - Thomas Breitbach won the men's half-marathon, with a time of 1:07:21, and Leslie Sexton took the women's title with 1:16:32.

  • Milton, ON phenom, Ed Whitlock, 80, continued to re-write the record books, running 3:15:54 for a new M80+ age-group world record. The longstanding previous mark was 3:39 which Whitlock took down to 3:25 in Rotterdam in April before slicing down nine more minutes today at STWM.

  • Capping off an incredible event, 100 year-old Fauja Singh (India) is set to break the world record for the oldest person to complete a marathon with a finish time of 8:25:16.

The full list of results for the 22nd Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is available at www.stwm.ca.

The Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge and Neighbourhood Challenge together surpassed the $3 million target with a total of more than $3.5 million as of press time. This remarkable achievement exceeds last year's total of $2.54 million. In addition, Scotiabank will award $6,000 to the three charities with the most runners, the largest amount of pledges per runner and the most money raised in pledges.

Along the marathon course, 12 Neighbourhood Cheering and Entertainment stations encouraged the runners to the finish line as part of the Scotiabank Neighbourhood Challenge. To honour their exuberance and support, Scotiabank will award them a charity bonus of $6,000 for having the most people, best costumes, best entertainment, and above all, creating the most noise. This year's challenge was the best-ever with tons of spectators and incredible costumes, with the final report on the winners being issued later this week.

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM)

For the fourth consecutive year, the STWM has been awarded a prestigious Silver Label by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). This designation makes the STWM one of only five internationally recognized IAAF Label marathons in North America. In 2010, the STWM was ranked as 6th fastest marathon in the world, 3rd fastest women's race in the world and holds the record for both the fastest men's and women's marathons on Canadian soil (2:07:58 run last year by Kenneth Mungara and 2:22:43 by Sharon Cherop equaled today by Koren Yal). The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon attracts participants from over 50 countries and this year's goal is to raise more than $3 million for 164 charities reached $3.5 million as of press time.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon includes a 5km, half-marathon (21.1km), and full marathon (42.2km) run. For more information, please visit www.stwm.ca.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, 'Bright Future.' Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $44 million annually to community causes around the world over the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

Image with caption: "Eric Gillis (left) and Reid Coolsaet celebrate at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) after qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111020_C4568_PHOTO_EN_5204.jpg

Image with caption: "Kenneth Mungara of Kenya wins his 4th consecutive Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) with a time of 2:09:51. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111020_C4568_PHOTO_EN_5205.jpg

Image with caption: "More than 22,000 runners take to the streets of Toronto for the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011), raising more than $3.5 million for charity. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111020_C4568_PHOTO_EN_5206.jpg

Image with caption: "British Sikh 100 year-old Fauja Singh completes the 42.2km 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 16, 2011) with a time of 8:25:16. (CNW Group/Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111020_C4568_PHOTO_EN_5207.jpg




For further information:

or to arrange an interview please contact:

Julia Wall-Clarke, Narrative Advocacy Media;
julia.wall-clarke@narrative.ca or 647 298 0533 (cell)

Tricia Soltys, Narrative Advocacy Media;
tricia.soltys@narrative.ca  or  416  509 0955 (cell)

Patty Stathokostas, Scotiabank Media Communications;
patty_stathokostas@scotiacapital.com