Track and Field

Eric Gillis to compete in Toronto marathon after top-10 Rio finish

After the best Canadian Olympic marathon performance in 40 years, Eric Gillis still isn’t satisfied. Fresh off a Top 10 finish at Rio 2016, the 36-year-old runner confirmed on Thursday that he will run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon on Oct. 16.

'It gets me fired up to do this again so quickly,' 36-year-old says

Eric Gillis will compete at the upcoming Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The 36-year-old is fresh off finishing 10th at the Rio 2016 marathon in August. (Rick Madonik/Getty Images)

After the best Canadian Olympic marathon performance in 40 years, Eric Gillis still isn't satisfied.

Fresh off a top-10 finish at the Rio Olympics, the 36-year-old runner confirmed on Thursday that he will run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon on Oct. 16.

Despite the quick turnaround from his Rio run, the Antigonish, N.S., native will participate in the IAAF Gold Label race for the sixth time in his career. But after his impressive Olympic performance, the difference this year is that he is now one of the favourites.

Gillis's 10th-place finish in Rio was the best Olympic marathon performance by a Canadian man since Jerome Drayton finished sixth at the Montreal Games in 1976. On a difficult course under a scorching Brazilian sun, Gillis believes it was the best marathon of his career.

"I would agree with that," the three-time Olympian said in a press release. "I think this is where the consistency over the years comes in. This is where I have strength, not just the race in Rio, but in terms of going to run in Toronto. 

"I kind of know where to risk it a little bit more in terms of getting a faster time. And, if I'm going to do that, certainly having had the best race of my life… helps my confidence that I can do that in Toronto."

With just six weeks to go, the quick turnaround from Rio isn't something that Gillis is worried about.

"I like that fact that Toronto is more about time. It gets me fired up to do this again so quickly," he said. "I know I am in great shape but I did run a marathon [recently] and have got to see what the conditions are like in Toronto and play the field out."

"It was a different type of race in Rio. It was really for placing; it wasn't for time," Gillis said. "So it was a different challenge that way. It was still a great race. I had to be ready to go."

'Not ruling anything out' 

Gillis's best time at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon came in 2014 when he ran 2:14:21. Previously, he has competed in the marathon in order to qualify for other major championships. This time, he could be in it for different reasons. 

Jerome Drayton's Canadian record of 2:10:09 from 1975 still stands, but Gillis wouldn't say if this is his new ultimate goal.

"I'm sticking to the same formula that worked leading into Rio," he commented. "Focusing on setting up each day to have success the following one, and ultimately the most on Oct. 16. What that exactly looks like, I won't know until the finish line. I'm not ruling anything out. I can say, if all goes well, I'd like to have my best Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to date."

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