By Mike Anderson

A record number of runners took part in what is fast becoming the unofficial kick-off to summer in Georgina.

The Georgina Spring Fling Marathon & Half Marathon, with 10k and 5k run/walk events, drew nearly 1,100 registered participants on Sunday, May 5, up from 700 last year.

Cindy Lewis-Caballero, co-race director, says the event continues to gain traction with runners because the Lake Drive course is certified and counts as a Boston Marathon qualifier.

According to Lewis-Caballero, the flat, scenic route also helps runners improve their times, with many achieving a personal best.

“The 10k has seen the biggest jump. People are learning that it’s certified, which means it’s accurately measured. People can use it for qualifing,” said Lewis-Caballero, who pointed out that many runners were from York Region.

“Today’s race is the same day as the Toronto Marathon, so more of our participants are from Aurora, Newmarket, Stouffville, and Georgina, all north of Toronto.”

With the rain holding off and cooler temperatures, conditions for the race were almost perfect.

“The times are faster in weather like this. When it’s hot, people slow down and have issues. People may slow down slightly if it starts pouring, but a few sprinkles are fine,” she said.

Rick Mansueto wins marathon. Photo: Tom Sandler
Ellen Guytingco was top female in marathon
Fernando Bralha & Rachel Hannah, winners of the half marathon. Photo: Tom Sandler

Rick Mansueto, 43, from Stouffville, was happy with the conditions and won the marathon with a time of 2:47:16.

“This is my first win, so it feels good,” Mansueto said.

“Running by the lake is beautiful. It’s like you don’t even think about how tired you are. It’s 42 km of running, but it gives you some energy.”

Mansueto ran with a friend who helped him keep up his pace for the first 27 km, but he finished the rest of the race alone.

He hopes to bring other runners with him next year.

“I’ve run other races, but this is amazing. It’s small but well organized.”

Ellen Guytingco, 35, from Toronto, won the female marathon with a time of 3:03:14.

It was also her first marathon win.

“I had a baby this time last year, so I just started back. I ran New York in the fall and then started training for this in February,” she said.

“The whole run was hard for me. But, from 30k onwards, it was a battle. But I kept thinking of my little girl.”

Guytingco also loved the course and says she will be back next year.

“I hadn’t done a flat one in a while, so having a super flat one was nice. And there was decent support out there, too. Lots of local people came out, which is nice,” she said.

Fernando Bralha, 37, from Aurora (1:14:40), and Rachel Hannah, 37, from Port Elgin (1:17:40), were the half-marathon winners. Bralha was last year’s marathon winner.

The event continues to attract local runners from Georgina.

In the marathon, Simon Macey, 38, finished 55th (3:51:34). In the half marathon, Joseph Baldassarra, 31, finished 23rd (1:37:56); Paul Tait, 62, finished 43rd (1:44:30); and Justin Boarder-Allen, 24, finished 58th (1:50:51).

In the female half marathon, Valeria Rocha, 34, finished 57th (1:56:51); Victoria Moore, 30, finished 71st (1:59:23); and Meaghan Puttock, 35, finished 98th (2:08:13).

The 10k and 5k run/walk events were also popular with residents.

Jeremy Brumm, 42, from Keswick, ran the 10k with his wife and admitted it was his first race ever.

“My wife forced me to run; we’re getting older and we want to be healthy,” he said.

“It was fantastic. I live just ten minutes away and my three kids were here cheering me on. I want to thank all the organizers and the participants and everyone for putting it on.”

When asked if he would run again next year, he responded: “100 per cent, yes!”

Jeremy Brumm with his family
John, Gabriela, Daniela & Norma
Jane Kersh
Dave Neeson

Other notable runners included the Sayers-Cubilos family from Newmarket: father John, mother Norma, and their twin 12-year-old daughters, Gabriela and Daniela.

It was their first time running competitively together, and the girls didn’t disappoint. Gabriela was the top female in the 5k run, and her sister Daniela finished third.

While many runners were visiting Georgina for the first time, Jane Kersh probably took the prize for the greatest distance travelled.

Kersh, 58, from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, had planned to run the marathon, but an injury forced her to run the 5k instead.

“Unfortunately, I had to run the 5k after I pulled my hamstring two weeks ago. But there was no way, after planning this trip, I wasn’t going to come,” Kersh said. “So I managed to do the 5K and got second in my age group.”

While in Georgina, Kersh and her husband enjoyed dinner at the Lake Simcoe Arms Pub in Jackson’s Point.

“We had some poutine. I told my husband: ‘I don’t know what this is, but gravy and cheese curds sound good,'” she said.

Ward 3 Councillor Dave Neeson also took part in the race.

While registered in the 5k, he walked the half marathon distance, roughly 21 km, in a time of 3:14:51

Despite some aches and pains, Neeson was upbeat about the race and its contribution to tourism in Georgina.

“It’s a huge spotlight for the community,” he said. “It puts us on the map, especially as a Boston qualifier.”

“A lot of these people are booking hotel rooms and going out for dinners, so all that contributes to our local economy. And people running along the lake say they can’t believe our views here.”

To view more photos of the event, visit / Gallery name SPRING FLING PUBLIC – password Georgina.