Rono to defend Toronto title
Three-time Toronto waterfront marathon champion Philimon Rono has confirmed that he would defend his title in this year’s Toronto waterfront marathon on October 16 in Canada.
Rono holds the all-comers record of 2:05:00, from 2019 when he won the race for the third time. But he has one goal for his return this year to win.
“My aim when I go to Toronto is to do another fantastic job and to be known as the ‘King of Toronto,” he said.
In 2020, Rono ran his second fastest time in Valencia in 2:05:37 and finished 6th in the 2022 Seoul Marathon in 2:07:03 in April of this year. Rono who trains in Kaptagat alongside world record holder Eliud Kipchoge under coach Patrick Sang, has fond memories of Toronto, despite suffering an accident while warming up for his 2016 victory. A barrier he was using while stretching came crashing down on his head. After consulting his agent and a medic he went ahead, and won the race at 2:08:26.
Also after initially featuring as a solid track athlete, in 2011, he hinted at his road potential with victory over ten miles in Tilburg in 47:21 followed by a 46:26 clocking over the same distance for sixth in Zaandam.
In 2012 the Patrick Sang-coached athlete further cemented this view by blitzing to half-marathon victory in Paderborn in a new PB of 60:58. Philemon trimmed a further 19 seconds from that mark with a second place finish at the Lille Half-Marathon but further demonstrated his wide range of talents by winning the Obudu Mountain Race in Nigeria and claiming a shock during the National Cross Country title in Nairobi to qualify for the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Despite an initial reluctance to tackle the full marathon distance on his 42.2km debut, he showed his undisputed quality by running 2:07:07 for third place in Hamburg. In 2015 he enjoyed a pair of rock-solid 2:08 marathons to place fourth and fifth in Hamburg and Valencia, respectively.
In 2016, in his third successive appearance in Hamburg, he placed second in 2:07:20 before later in 2016 securing his maiden marathon success in Toronto (2:08:27) despite falling during his pre-race warm-up.
He opened his marathon campaign in 2017 with a 2:09:22 performance in Rotterdam for eighth-placed before later in the year successfully retaining his Toronto Marathon title with a comprehensive win in a new PB of 2:06:52.
In his most recent marathon, the man known as “Baby Police” produced a blistering performance in the 2019 edition of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, posting a PB of 2:05:00 to claim his third title. The time was also a course record and a Canadian all-comers record.
In his sole competitive performance in 2020, Philemon recorded a swift 2:05:37 to place tenth in the Valencia Marathon.
Rono earned a top-six spot at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Marathon in 2:12:31.The TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon has earned a World Athletics Elite label, making it only the second race in Canada with the title. It is the final event in the CRS calendar for 2022. The race has served as both the Athletics Canada Canadian Marathon Championship and the Canadian Olympic marathon trials since 2017.