© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

Seventeenth-century courtier and politician, Sir Anthony Weldon, coined the oft-used phrase, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The aphorism is so common today that those who utter it, need not finish saying it — “Fool me once…” should suffice. The same goes for the alleged repeat offenders, the Toronto Marathon and its participants.

Not to be confused with the October-run Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label race, the other Toronto Marathon in May is receiving a social media backlash, again.

Mass complaints

Yogi Berra’s “It’s like deja vous all over again,” is apropos here. As it did just last year following the 2023 edition, the event received mass complaints about inadequate road closures, too few water stations and chaos at the finish line. The chaos caused issues relating to some participants being unable to collect their medals and find post-race food or beverages.

Race director Jay Glassman had to publically apologize for the mayhem. Fast forward to 2024 and indeed Berra’s spoonerism applies.

While Glassman apologized for 2023, he also dressed down participants, according to an article by, Heather Mayer Irvine, published in Runner’s World Magazine on May 15, 2023 (Runners, Race Director “Disgusted” By Behavior at Toronto Marathon, The Toronto Marathon experienced mayhem at the expo and the finish line), “It was just pure greed—that mob mentality,” Glassman told the news outlet.

He noted that older women who were working for him were told to, “Get out of my way you f——g c—t,” and that high school students who were volunteering experienced racial slurs.

“I have never been more disgusted in my life,” Glassman said.

On May 7, 2024, Katrianna DeSante, wrote an article for Canadian Running Magazine, (The Toronto Marathon: a series of unfortunate events), “The start line was packed with runners standing shoulder to shoulder, forcing many to stand outside the barricades. In a desperate bid to join the race, I was forced into being a steeplechaser, leaping over a barricade and into the craze of elbows and ankles. There was no time for a warmup; the race jolted to a start, and the sea of runners surged forward.”

“Spectators and pedestrians darted along the route, cutting runners off and tripping some.” 

A Reddit thread has exploded with complaints about the event.

But it wasn’t all complaints

In fairness, there were plenty of social media posts from participants who enjoyed the 2024 event.

For example, the Toronto Marathon re-tweeted (re-Xed?) “My very first half marathon! Not only PB but also had tons of fun doing it! Thank you to the organization and all the awesome volunteers!!” No one has pointed out that her first at any distance is going to be an auomatic PB.

Someone with the pseudonym akilhrk1989 wrote, “Crossed the finish line at the Toronto Marathon 2024 5K! 🏃‍♂️💨 What an exhilarating experience pushing through to the end. Grateful for the support and proud of this accomplishment!”

Perhaps akilhrk1989 finished early enough having run the 5K and missed the alleged choas.

Back to reality

An X user named “Lara Brown” wrote, “@torontomarathon the bib pickup was an embarrassment. People from 50 counties came to run the race and that’s what you did? Couldn’t get an expo? I didn’t get an email with my bib # and had to stand in line with only two people on computers.”

And, “@torontomarathon in the running community, this race has the WORST reputation and now I know why. NEVER AGAIN.”

There were many more complaints including having just five people manage race package pick up for thousands, and overcrowding at the start area, to the point that runners were unable to leave a building to get to the start area.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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