Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon gears up for biggest year yet as the
marathon marks its 2,500th year

More than $2.5 million to be raised for 115 charities at Toronto's premiere marathon

TORONTO, June 21 /CNW/ - What began as a victorious run by the legendary soldier Pheidippides in Athens 2,500 years ago, has evolved to what we know as "the marathon", a classic footrace of 42.195 kilometres. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) will mark its 21st year on September 26th, proving that even after a couple millenniums, this historic athletic event is as popular as ever. This year, the internationally-acclaimed race expects its most successful year yet for number of participants, fundraising, fast times and Canadian content.

"At the beginning of each new race season, the question is how we can possibly top the remarkable successes from the previous year," says Alan Brookes, STWM Race Director. "When the event began in 1990, we raised just a few thousand bucks for the YMCA Community Fund. Today, we are excited to announce our biggest Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge yet; 115 charities are registered and our goal is to raise more than $2.5 million to help enrich the lives of Canadians."

This year's Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge highlights the enormous growth in charities supported over the past two decades. Each year, three of the official charities are featured as partners. This year those charities are Gilda's Club Greater Toronto, Hope for Children Foundation and Second Harvest. Fran Walsh is the Executive Director for Gilda's Club Greater Toronto and is "thrilled to have the opportunity to profile the organization."

"This year, we are racing in memory of David Pecaut - a good friend and avid Toronto supporter," said Walsh. "All the funds we raise will help maintain our free programs to support people living with cancer - and their friends and family. A big thanks to STWM for making this possible."

"2009 was a landmark year for us at the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge," said Joanne Scott-Jackson, the Director of Development at Giant Steps Toronto/York Region. "Our team raised an incredible $120,000 to help children with autism. We are truly thankful for the opportunity to participate in this world-class event again."

The STWM has retained the prestigious IAAF silver label for the third consecutive year and is expected to draw more than 22,000 people from over 40 countries to run in the event. Whether racing to support your favourite charity or set a personal best, the STWM offers three race choices for recreational and elite: marathon (42km), half-marathon (21km) and 5 km run.

It is one of only five officially recognized International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Label marathons in North America which has helped put Toronto on the map in the international athletics community. "Our goal is to build a Gold Label marathon by the Toronto Pan Am Games in 2015," added Brookes.

Olympian Eric Gillis, from the Speed River Track Club in Guelph, is confirmed to headline a strong Canadian challenge amongst the professional athletes competing for more than $200,000 in prize monies. "After researching the options for my next marathon, I decided to run the STWM because it has an excellent reputation as a flat, fast and well organized event. Plus with a mix of both elite and recreational athletes it offers a competitive edge but still maintains great energy and atmosphere," said Gillis.

Gillis encourages Canadians to join him at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 26th. "Running is a great social activity offering a lot of health benefits and with different races to suit your experience, SWTM is a great event. If running is not your thing then I encourage people to come and cheer on myself and the other athletes."

"As Emil Zatopek once said, 'if you want to run a race, run a mile. If you want to change your life, run a marathon.' STWM is the perfect opportunity to do just that, while also changing the lives of many others in need at the same time," concludes Brookes.

To be part of an unforgettable weekend, register to run TODAY, as entry fees increase June 30. Make your experience extra special by signing up for one of the 115 charities in the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge and make a difference in the lives of many Canadians. If you also need help and support with your training, the Running Room is offering Official STWM Clinics across Canada this summer, for runners and walkers of all levels. To sign-up or for further information, visit www.stwm.ca.

    
    About Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
    --------------------------------------------
    

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada's premier Fall Marathon, and the country's No.1 big-city marathon. It holds the record for the fastest marathon on Canadian soil (2:08:32 run last year by Kenneth Mungara of Kenya) For the third consecutive year, the event has been awarded a prestigious Silver Label by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) making it one of only five internationally recognized, IAAF Label marathons in North America, and putting Toronto on the map in the international athletics community. The event attracts participants from over 40 countries and this year's goal is to raise $2.5 million for more than 115 charities. For more information, visit www.stwm.ca

    
    About Scotiabank
    ----------------
    

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2009 the Bank provided about $39 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

SOURCE Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Tricia Soltys, Narrative Advocacy Media, tricia.soltys@narrativeadvocacy.com or 416.644.4128; Livy Feldgajer, Scotiabank Public Affairs, Livy_Feldgajer@scotiacapital.com or 416-866-6203


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