ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: A bit of a race report

By October 18, 2011News

I figure if I didn’t get something up in the next day or two I wouldn’t bother in the end. So here’s a brief summary of my race:

Things were going well through 30km. We were on, or slightly ahead of pace up to that point. The pacing was good throughout the race. Maybe a little overzealous at a few points early on, but nothing crazy. Our last pacer bailed at 28km. Gillis took control at that point. I was still feeling good but wasn’t getting excited as I knew there was still a ton of ground to cover. My big concern from about 15km was a tight left hamstring. I was waiting for it to go at any minute.

I started to feel the burn all over at about 32km with the gradual climb along Queen St toward our final turn around. I was just staring at Gillis’ back trying to hang on. I started yo-yoing off the back right around 32km but kept surging to get back up with Eric. I lost contact around 34.5km. I still thought I was on for the Olympic standard at that point. I was definitely tightening up, but wasn’t totally rigging.

By about 36km, when we hit the worst of the wind I was hanging on for dear life. The stretch along Eastern ave seemed so long and daunting. I tried to stay focused but was panicking about how quickly I was losing ground on Eric.

I knew by about 39km that the standard was out of the question. I started looking back. I was going so slowly I expected a ton of guys to start flying past me. I regained a bit of focus past 40km knowing that I was going to be able to make it to the finish and even tried to reel in the guy in 5th. I couldn’t gain an inch on 5th place and was in complete survival mode at the last mile or so just trying to run in a straight line. I had a check at my watch at 400m to go and gave myself a bit of a pep talk and dug deep to try for sub 2:13. I got there and was relieved to be finished, but obviously very disappointed.

It was a great day for Reid and Eric. They are two of the best ever in this country and they absolute know how to get it done when it counts, the sign of truly great athletes. Eric was so focused out there and once the pacers dropped gave me a few shouts to encourage me to stay with him. And as I said to Eric at about 20km into the race “F@%! Reid is an absolute baller”. I don’t even know what that term means or why it came to mind. But, that guy is full of confidence and throws down the results to back it up.

I’ll hang my head low for a few more days, but ultimately know that the race wasn’t a complete disaster. If that Olympic standard wasn’t dangling in front of me for the past 6 months I probably would’ve been satisfied with the result.

As of now I have no firm plans for another attempt at the standard. I hope the powers that be will recognize the strength of my performance and provide me with the support to continue to train with the focus and intensity I have the past year or so.

You can watch a replay of the CBC coverage here.



  • Michael Harris says:

    What a great effort!! I have only run 10k races and have it amazing the different things you can go through in that distance. I can’t even imagine all of the mental toughness you need to get through an elite marathon. In the Canadian running community there is so much pride in the way you guys tackled that race. Congratulations and I hope you can find another opportunity to get that Olympic standard and Join Reid and Eric.


  • barrie wykes says:

    Congrats on a great effort…sounds like you were sooooo close!
    Any other qualifying ops??

  • Derrick says:

    Congrats on a great race and gutsy effort out there. Getting a performance in like that on a tough day is guaranteed to help for next time. Recover well.

  • Barb Mitchell says:

    Don’t hang you head, you had amazing results and should be proud. You trained for and wanted the standard but you can’t control the conditions and on another day may have made it without trouble. Be proud of your efforts, the team at Mizuno is very proud to support you! You are a true Brand Ambassador with a lot of class! Head up and keep on running – your achievement was outstanding!
    Your Mizuno Support Team!

  • Matt says:

    “Weeks”……..I mean Dylan…!

    Having biked along with you and Eric for most of the race, you gave it your all and with a little less wind you both would have run sub 2:10. You both ran smart races and should be proud to have run close to a PB when the conditions were as brutal as they were! Sorry for calling you “Weeks” out there on race day…heard someone else call you that…?

    You have the ability to run 2:10. All you need is one good race over the next 6 months. Keep your head up and get back out there! I expect to see you in London!

  • […] and Reid Coolsaet solidified his spot with a PB of 2:10:55, also good for 3rd overall in the race. Dylan Wykes ran a nice PB, sub-2:13, but he’s a little down. I don’t know what that last bit about the powers that be means. Is he hoping to get selected […]

  • patrick voo says:

    hey dylan – wow, superb effort man … and thanks for putting the thought and energy together to share these insights. stwm 2011 was my first marathon ever, and as someone who had all of my leg muscles spasming at the 33k mark, i can only imagine the fortitude that it took for you to run it out at your pace all the way to the end. you inspire so many of us – thanks!

  • reid says:

    No reason to hang your head low. That was your best marathon to date, things are moving in the right direction. We both know the power of that wind and what it did to us, good things will come.

    I guess I should have kept the “not pronounced weeks” label on my blog, haha.

  • kiskiw says:

    You made everyone proud Dylan! it was so much fun to follow along the last 2 years watching you progress. There is no need to hang your head low. Refocus and get back after it, we know you can do it.

  • Matt says:

    Great effort, man. As others have said, the conditions were far from ideal, and you would have been real close to the standard on a calmer day. The marathon is a cruel mistress.
    If London 2012 doesn’t pan out, you’ve got time for more glory. Rio’s a more fun city anyway!

  • Greg Lehman says:

    Thanks for posting this Dylan.

    Everyone that knows you knows that you have great performances in you. Sunday was great and better ones will come.

    Looking forward to watching more,


  • Audrey says:

    I otally agree with all of the above – you were AMAZING on the weekend. Your performance was completely inspirational to so many of us. You were gutsy, you gave it everything you had, and you dared to go after your dream. I hope that AC recognizes just how amazing you are right now…and how that’s just a small indicator of what you’d bring to London. Congrats, Dylan. I hope you can be even just a tiny bit as proud of yourself as we all are of you!

  • Kim Maser says:

    G’day Dylan. That was a really great performance you had on the weekend. You’re very talented and have a great career ahead of you. The race report was great. I knew Richard Lee back in the day and competed against him. You’ve got a good crew backing you up. Hopefully the powers that be at AC recognize that we know have some marathoners now. That was a really gutsy run on the weekend given the conditions.

    Kim Maser

  • Mike Shanks says:

    Dylan a great run and nothing to hang your head about. The great thing about running is that you know if you gave it your all. Given your recap there is nothing more you could have done on that day. Given that wind coming in you sure could argue that there was significant time added on, specially at the toughest part of the race. Hope you give it another go, would be awesome to see 3 Canadians in London!

    Maybe you, Rob and Simon can have a go at the same race just for the drama…3 men, 1 spot. I am sure that would push each of you to run to the limit!

  • Johnny Lee says:

    Great race, tough conditions in the back half. Just shave 4 seconds per mile and you’re there. 🙂

    Dylan Wykes spotlight:

  • Trevor D says:

    Hey Dylan, I was the timing coordinator from Sportstats at the 40k split and I can testify to the pain in all of your faces that it was a tough race! Reid and Eric are amazing athletes and so are you dude. You had a great performance yet you did not hit the standard. So…there is still time…you can go faster…redirect the energy…lace up and…go for it brother-

  • Trevor D says:

    I just read the news now! Way to be!!! Can’t wait. Run fast.