Race Recap: Toronto Midnite New Year’s Eve Run

Happy New Year!

To say goodbye to 2013 and ring in 2014, Stella and I decided to participate in the Toronto Midnite New Year’s Eve Run – a freezing 5km race around Liberty Village starting at the strike of midnight! We both called in on the morning of NYE to register ourselves for the race. It was $95+tax to do the run and get some goodies and a party ticket.

Before the Run
We got off the subway at King station (free rides on the TTC after 7pm for NYE – yay!) and took the 504 streetcar west to Jefferson Avenue. From there, the Market Bistro was a one-block walk. We arrived around 11:15pm, and due to a combination of lots of last-minute race-kit pick-ups and lack of organization (despite having registered already, my friend wasn’t on the runners list and had to be assigned a new bib and time chip), Stella and I made it to the start line before midnight with only seven minutes to spare. 


We checked in our coats and swagbag at the Danceology studio. This is the most goodies I’ve ever gotten in a swagbag from a race :O

The atmosphere at the start line was great! Despite the -10°C temperature, being amidst the crowd of runners kept us relatively okay. The organizer hyped us up at the front of the line while a television crew from CP24 filmed the event. Also at the front were “Rocky Balboa” and “The Banana” who would lead the whole race. There was such infectious energy and a lot of people came in creative lit up costumes. It was pretty exciting! :D We all counted down to midnight and were off (unfortunately sans fireworks, but I was so excited at this point and didn’t notice).


We got these gloves in addition to our goodies bag. I wore another pair of gloves underneath to help keep my hands warm during the race.

The Run


The start line! (Sorry for the blurriness – my fingers were freezing and I didn’t have the endurance to re-take the shot)

This was actually a difficult run for me because of the freezing air and the icy and dark course. I’m not used to running in the cold (and have decided I thoroughly don’t enjoy it lol) and breathing just felt like tiny daggers going through me! The snow and ice weren’t salted away for at least half of the course. Luckily I didn’t see anyone get hurt, but heard of some others slipping into potholes and the like – hopefully no one got any serious injuries. In terms of scenery, there wasn’t much to see, partly because it’s so dark and partly due to the course itself.


Stella and I all bundled up in layers at the start line

The volunteer marshals on the course were super friendly and supportive! However, there was a lot of confusion on the course and no distance markers. I was really surprised to see the finish line so soon. I finished around 27:30 but don’t think I actually ran the whole distance – it takes me about 30 minutes to run a good 5k, and I was going so slowly over the ice at a lot of points that I was expecting to finish at least 10-15 minutes after. Ah well, I guess. :/ Even though it’s a competitive race, I treated it as more of a fun run and it was still a new and exciting experience.

After the Run
We originally missed the person handing out medals at the finish line and had to go back. We then had a long wait in line for bag/coat check and our post-run meal: one glass of champagne + a can of beer, a sandwich, and soup. You could tell a lot of the volunteers were stressed out and working hard coping with all of the mishaps of this event. We didn’t stay long after our meal but there were a few people at the after-party chatting and listening to the music. Reviews and ratings here seem to indicate the race was better prepared for in its previous two years, so I’m not sure what happened this year. Nonetheless, even though I don’t think I’d do this race again, it’s an exciting way to start the new year and I’m glad I did it once!


Such a pretty medal!

12 responses to “Race Recap: Toronto Midnite New Year’s Eve Run

  1. Woohoo! Happy new year, Holly! What a way to ring in 2014! I’m so glad that you found it to be a positive experience after all despite not enjoying it so much when you were there. Congratulations again! Not many people can do what you just did about 24 hours ago! :)

    • Happy New Year, Karen! :D I really do wish conditions were better (I was so stressed out in making it to the start line before midnight and running over the ice during the race itself) but I’m glad I got to do this run for the new year! Once in a lifetime, haha.

  2. Congratulations! What a way to ring in 2014! I am glad you made it through the race safely and have a semi-good experience out of it! I agree with Karen – many, including me, could not do this race on such frigid temperatures! Bravo!

  3. You’re so brave for doing this one, I was in bed by 11pm. Sounds like despite the little mishaps you definitely had fun and it was a great memory to kick off 2014. Thanks for the recap, always good to read about race experiences! Have you thought about your next one? :)

    • I’m signed up for the Sporting Life 10k in May! I’m also considering the Toronto Women’s 10k and Island Girl Half-Marathon both in August. It’s a little tough with the weather right now to be motivated to train though, lol.

      • Nice! Sporting Life falls on my daughter’s birthday weekend so I chose Yonge Street instead, but I’m curious to see if the new race director steps up his game since last year’s fiasco! Looking forward to your recap about that. Let me know if you decide on TO Women’s 10k, I’m interested! I’ve heard good things about Island Girl, I did the Midsummer 15k on the island last summer and it was a fun route, but getting there and back was a bit of a mess so be prepared to wait in long lines. And I haven’t run almost 3 months, lol, signed up for a few races to get me out of my hiatus. I’m waiting for the MEC races to be announced, they’re cheap and really well organized (emphasis on cheap!).

        • I learned of the Sporting Life fiasco after I had already signed up haha, but hopefully the new race director learned from it! I will definitely keep you up to date about the TO Women’s 10k. :) Oh yes, I did the Midsummer 15k on the Island as well – we’ll see about that one! I am Googling what an MEC race is now, lol. Other than these races, I’m kind of curious to try an obstacle run like Tough Mudder, but am half scared and half worried about the price!

          • My memory is horrible, of course now I remember reading your recap on Midsummer, I think that’s how we found each other’s blog?! MEC usually has a few handfuls of local races that cost less than $20, there’s no fancy loot bag but the people involved are great. I did a 10k on the waterfront path and loved it, I’ll let you know if I hear about info for this year. You would kick ass in Tough Mudder!!! I can totally see you doing a race like that! What’s the cost?

            And to comment on your reply from my blog, I heard the same about the GoodLife half, I think it’s the route. Last year it was a mess with missing markers and overcrowded starts, a friend was running on grass ducking trees for a good 2 minutes for the 5k. Ironically, the GoodLife 5k was my first race ever back in 2011 and I loved it, but I guess it’s changed!

          • Hehe, yes, I think so! That race is still the longest distance I’ve done; I’m glad you got to do your half marathon last year! And thanks so much for the info about MEC – those races sound perfect!! :D

            Right now Tough Mudder’s discounted price is $129!

            Ooh, wow, that GoodLife 5k would be so frustrating. I think my main concern is the weather/temperature in Toronto in April/May – I know it won’t be as cold as the NYE run that I did, but it’s definitely made me severely anti-cold running. lol

            Good luck training for the spring season to both of us though lol :D

          • If you can do 15, you can do 21 ;)

            Eeep, $129 is expensive, but I’m sure it’ll be worth the experience.

            April was cold last year, but not as bad as March. I don’t think I could ever do a race that early again, it was brutal. My legs were numb and it took a good 2k in before I was warmed up. That’s why I’m so impressed you ran on NYE!!!

            And yes, hope to run into you! (HA)

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