Jun 25 2012

Toronto Pearson Runway Run – Race Report

It was another sunny day for the 5th annual Toronto Pearson Runway Run. I had fun last year, but my pictures were less than ideal, so I upped the ante this year by bringing my DSLR with the 70-300mm telephoto lens attached.

Did you know that cameras get heavier the further you run? I learned this fact on this very day, but I digress…

Smiling for the camera? Just having a nice photographer to photographer chat that's all. The course was set up the same way as last year, using the entire length of runway 06R/24L. The start and finish lines were set up towards the eastern side, close to the service road that took runners to/from the maintenance hangar staging area.

The route first took runners all the way east towards the end of 06R, then a 180 degree hairpin turn down the full length of 24L, finally another 180 degree turn back on 06R towards the finish.

There was a bit of delay before runners were allowed on the service road and then to the start line. The race ended up starting 10 minutes late.

Hey photographer, let me take your photo! My plan was to start out at a pace just above comfortable, and try to hold it for as long as possible.

For the first 3km, I was stable at around 4:10/km, while breathing was still under control. Perhaps even a 21-minute 5K was possible?

After the final turnaround though, breathing started to become laboured. The effort was finally catching up to me. My pace slowly and steady drifted slower, while the kid I was following pulled away. I think I was approaching 5:00/km, and really had to convince myself not to stop at the water station at 4km.

Smiling no more. I was cooked towards the end... Alas, there was no finishing kick. I was just glad to be able to stop. It probably took me over a minute to be able to breathe again.

I stayed out beyond the finish line to take more pictures of airliners taking off before returning to the hangar for some food. This year, there were warm bagels with cheese and hot coffee, in addition to the usual bananas, juices, and granola bars.


For anyone looking to PB, this is the place to do it. It is important to start near the front, so one does not have to slow down much at the first hairpin. The rest of the way is wide open. It is also helpful (or detrimental, depending on the person) that one can see the finish from opposite end of the runway.
2012 Toronto Pearson Runway Run Finish Line at Pearson Runway Run


  1. Hong

    Fast and Furious like always! Great photos btw!

    1. Henry Lo

      Could have done better…
      Here is a link to the gallery of the rest of the airplane actions shots:

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