Runners of all ages celebrate the first 100 years of marathon distance at the Runner's Expo kicking off the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon festivities

    Athletes, spectators, families and friends are encouraged to Run, Pledge,
    or Cheer and participate in Toronto's Marathon.

    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
officially began today at the Runner's Expo, as elite athletes from around the
world met with young participants of the marathon to receive their running
bibs and offer words of advice to the future track stars. The 9th annual
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon falls on the 100th year anniversary of
the first full length (42.195k) marathon run.
    "It's apparent how far marathon events have come from 100 years ago, and
the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon showcases just this," said Kyle
McNamara, Managing Director and Head, Scotiabank Small Business. "This is a
great race for this great city because it brings so much back into our
communities and encourages participation from everyone. We encourage everyone
to join us on Sunday and run, pledge or cheer - there are many great reasons
and opportunities to do so."
    More than 60 community and neighbourhood charities have registered for
the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge and the Neighbourhood Challenge - which
raise funds through pledges collected by marathon, half-marathon and 5k
participants. This year, organizers are hoping to raise more than $1 million
for community causes. Prizes of $6000 will be awarded to the leading charities
in each of the three categories: The charity with the most runners; the
largest amount of pledges per runner; and the most pledges raised. The
Neighbourhood Challenge offers neighbourhood cheering and entertainment to
spectators and the most spirited neighbourhood is awarded a prize or $6000 to
its representative charity. Since its inception in 2003, the Scotiabank Group
Charity Challenge has raised more than $2 million for local causes.
    "We're proud to be dedicating this year's Scotia Toronto Waterfront
Marathon to the Centenary of the marathon distance," said Race Director Alan
Brookes. "42.195km really is a magic distance, 'the pinnacle of road running'.
The drama of the 1908 London Olympic race with Longboat, Dorando and Hayes
created the first-ever 'marathon mania'. We're looking forward to marathon
mania 2008-style, with the best marathon ever run on Toronto's streets this
weekend. Please join us to RUN, PLEDGE or CHEER!"
    One hundred years ago, on July 24th 1908, the complete distance of 26
miles, 385 yards (42.195km) was run for the very first time at the London
Olympics Marathon. Prior to 1908 a marathon was any distance from 15 - 25
miles. Canada's own Tom Longboat was competing against Pietri Dorando of Italy
and Johnny Hayes of London.
    Today, close to 15,000 runners from 35 countries and 40 US States are
participating in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon weekend, including
1,300 students in grades 4-to-8 who have been running in daily intervals of a
marathon since the start of the school year. On Sunday, they will be
completing the last five kilometers of a full marathon. These young athletes
are participating in the Scotiabank MarathonKIDS program which promotes a
healthy and active lifestyle from a young age while providing kids with the
opportunity to increase physical activity and to work towards reaching a goal.
    Both marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. sharp, following
opening ceremonies and an Oh! Canada performance by Canadian Idol finalist
Mookie Morris. Neighbourhood festivities will continue until 2 p.m.
    For the first time ever, this year's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront
Marathon was given Silver label status by the International Association of
Athletics Federation (IAAF) making it one of only five internationally
recognized marathons in North America, putting Toronto on the map in the
global athletic community. While the race is certainly gaining international
profile, it has also gained profile within the city. Earlier this year,
Toronto Mayor David Miller invited the race to move its Start/Finish line to
City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront
Marathon is a two-year Boston qualifier, attracts participants from more than
35 countries and aims to raise $1 million this year for more than 60 local
community charities. Visit for more

    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 2007 the Bank provided more than $43 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

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Livy Feldgajer, Scotiabank Public Affairs,
(416) 866-6203 or; Julia Clarke, Narrative
Advocacy Media, (416) 922-2211 x 3281 or

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