Toronto Waterfront Marathon Gets Global Broadcast
By Paul Gains
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
October 4, 2013
Running fans across the globe will be able to watch the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in its entirety live October 20, thanks to a unique partnership fashioned by race director Alan Brookes.
The affable Brookes proudly espouses the virtues of this IAAF Silver Label Race and appears delighted to share it with the world via a live stream broadcast on CBC television’s website.
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“It’s going to be a top-quality broadcast in terms of production and content,” Brookes reveals. “Having Tim Hutchings work with (Canadian Running Magazine editor) Michael Doyle on commentary is just top drawer. I think we’ll have some great races, some great stories on the 20th, and the broadcast will carry our event across Canada and around the world – no geo-blocking.
“We’re trying to promote our sport, promote our city, as well as our event. And so the more people see it, the better. It’s great to think folks will be watching it from Nunavut to Nairobi, from Ecuador to Ethiopia.”
Brookes credits title sponsors Scotiabank, a production team from the southern Ontario based EPMG company and CBC television’s CBCsports.ca for making this happen. Six HD Cameras including the acclaimed ‘RED Epic’ will be used during the broadcast ensuring the highest quality video possible.
Hutchings is a well known voice in athletics broadcasting having worked for Eurosport, Sky Sports, NBC, BBC and ESPN over the years. Few know that he was a world class distance runner in the 80’s having twice won silver medals at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (1984 and 1989) as well as finishing 4th in the 1984 Olympics 5,000m final.
He will arrive in Toronto direct from commentating on the Chicago Marathon for the local NBC affiliate. Asked to name highlights of his twenty two years as a commentator he hesitates for a moment.
“Gosh, I guess, superlative performances,” he declares. “It’s the world records the Olympic races, like (Haile) Gebrselassie versus (Paul) Tergat at the 2000 Sydney Olympics which I think is probably the greatest race ever; it’s Paula Radcliffe’s world record at 2:15; Sammy Wanjiru winning the Beijing Olympics in sweltering heat going out at what we thought was suicidal pace and he just kept going. There are dozens of amazing races you feel privileged to call.”
Hutchings was in Toronto two years ago as the color commentator for CBC’s coverage of the 2011 edition of the race and has an appreciation for the city and for the event. He is also well equipped to compare the quality of broadcasting that many of today’s marathons enjoy.
“It would be silly to pretend that live stream, as yet, has the same reach as TV,” he explains. “But it is obviously the way things are going because it so prohibitively expensive to have live coverage on TV. You are talking a six figure sum. It’s absolutely out of the reach of the majority of races and live streaming is a very good substitute.
“It’s not the same as TV yet, but, it is gradually clawing its way up toward being a substantial player. So it is important that races like Toronto and others keep ticking the box and people view their race and the numbers will continue to grow.”
Brookes has assembled a quality field and points out that several great international athletes will tackle the top Canadians in both the men’s and women’s races. He calls it ‘great drama.’
“The broadcast certainly gives all Canadians, and the marathon-viewing public around the world the chance to see some great racing in Toronto,” Brookes adds. “It puts us on the world stage. Last weekend it was Berlin, next week it’s Chicago, then Toronto, then Frankfurt and New York. It’s the next best thing to being here.”
While Hutchings enjoys watching and commentating on fast results he is a fan of head to head competitions and has his fingers crossed that viewers witness an epic duel between the leaders. Looking over the names of runners announced thus far he believes the course record of 2:07:58 held by Kenneth Mungara could fall.
“Deressa Chimsa, a 2:05 guy is running, and that is very exciting because a bad day for a 2:05 guy should be 2 08,” Hutchings points out. “It always comes back to conditions which are always critical. If the weather is good there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see a course record. That’s got to be vulnerable. And with all due respect Kenneth Mungara is not a 2:05 guy. There are lads out there who can run a minute off it.
“Again, I would come back to we should always be reigning ourselves in from being infatuated with quick times. If it’s a 2:09,2:10 race it doesn’t matter if there are three lads knocking chunks out of each other the last 10 km, you want something that is really gripping for the viewer.”
Brookes invites fans to go to the marathon website at www.stwm.ca and click the link to CBC sports on race day beginning at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time. The race starts at 8:45 a.m. The live stream will continue for six hours.