When the Toronto Waterfront Marathon returns in the fall for the first time in three years, runners are in for a few surprises.
On Tuesday, the marathon said that IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will replace Scotiabank as its new title sponsor through November, 2026. The partnership will give participants access to the TCS marathon app, which allows runners to race with augmented reality, share their on-course location with spectators in real time, help them calculate their environmental impact as they run and travel, and enjoy an improved virtual offering if they choose to race from home. The Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the first road race in Canada to adopt the technology, following in the footsteps of other major races such as the New York City and London marathons.
“We really want to offer our runners and spectators an enhanced digital experience,” said Charlotte Brookes, event director of Canada Running Series, the organization behind the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and several other large road races in the country.
“The [TCS] app provides an opportunity for people to feel connected to the event experience.”
Supporters will also be able to create a digital cheer card that will flash on screens as specific runners pass. In addition, the app will enable racers to track their environmental impact throughout the weekend, and offset it with a suggested donation to an environmental charity of their choice.
Virtual racers, meanwhile, will have access to many of the same features, and may also get to download an audio track that mimics sounds of the Toronto course as runners reach certain milestones. Upon completing their race, those runners will unlock a virtual medal and a usable backsplash of Toronto’s finishing area to reproduce an end-of-race photo.
“As technologies evolve, we’re adapting to the needs of the new world,” said Michelle Taylor, global head of sports sponsorships at TCS, “and hybrid racing and events is where we’re at and we do see things staying here.
“The goal is to replicate the experience of the city no matter where you are,” she added. “If someone chooses to run in the virtual race, they can do so in a way that still gives them a taste of Canada, a taste of Toronto wherever they are in the world.”
Toronto follows other major marathons in digitizing its event; a trend accelerated by the pandemic and its travel and health restrictions. The London Marathon used the TCS marathon app for the first time this year, and now gets runners to wear Restrata tags, which use GPS technology to contact trace for COVID-19. The New York City Marathon, meanwhile, offers a 3-D interactive race map that provides in-depth looks around the start area on Staten Island, highlights landmarks along the course, and shows its elevation changes.
Those features are a long way ahead of some of Canada’s early pandemic iterations of virtual races, such as comparing time trials among training partners online, 900-kilometre relay runs across Newfoundland, and countless versions of Instagram “end-of-run-selfie-tag.” But continuing lockdowns and case surges, as well as varying comfort level of racers, has made it worthwhile for races to bolster a world-class hybrid race offering.
Brookes said the appetite for virtual racing is slowing among Canada Running Series participants. She predicted only 10 per cent of the series’ registrants to race from home in 2022, down from what felt more like a 50-50 split last year. But even if the pandemic wanes, she said, the inclusion of a virtual-race option might give more people who live far away, and more people who do not want to pay the in-person fee, a chance to partake.
“I think hybrid racing is a new standard, it makes it more inclusive,” she said. “Having world-class in-person and virtual options is an added way of reaching out to the new wave of runners that the pandemic created.” New research shows that nearly 30 per cent of current runners started after the beginning of COVID-19, and Strava, a fitness-tracking app used by runners and cyclists, said its average monthly growth rate doubled throughout the pandemic.
The Toronto marathon is the first race in Canada to adopt the TCS app, but other races are not far behind in bolstering their digital offerings. Kirsten Fleming, executive director at Run Calgary, said the first few virtual races her road-racing organization offered were primitive, and operated on the honours system: runners timed themselves, took a picture of their result, and uploaded it. Now, Run Calgary uses the Runkeeper app, which facilitates registration and timing, and provides audio cues for virtual racers.
“People like to be connected digitally, that’s a must for races now,” said Fleming, who said all nine of Run Calgary’s races will be delivered in a hybrid capacity this year. “Virtual racing isn’t going anywhere.”
Still, like Brookes, Fleming expects that a majority of runners will prefer in-person races in the wake of lockdowns. A Run USA study of 4,500 runners had shown that up to 86 per cent of respondents wanted to go back to in-person racing in 2021. Quinton Jacobs, a marathon runner from Woodbridge, Ont., partook in both virtual and in-person races last year. He said that good tracking technology and virtual offerings helps to connect more people to the sport, but that nothing beats the in-person experience.
“Having an app like this one is exciting, but no matter what you do to spice up virtual races, it just can’t compare to the energy that comes with pushing yourself with someone who is struggling just as much as you are,” he said.
“I can’t wait to toe that line in Toronto in person this fall.”
Instigator call the turning point in Rangers’ Game 4 win over Hurricanes – Sportsnet.ca
Yep. They picked up right where they left off.
Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes ended with tensions high and there was some obvious carryover into Tuesday’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden that saw the Blue Shirts even the series with a 4-1 victory.
Whistles were few and far in between during a frenetic first half of the opening period as both teams traded chances. The Rangers controlled much of the high-paced action and eventually began winning more puck battles than the Hurricanes.
Then the key turning point of Game 4 occurred.
Jacob Trouba absolutely walloped Max Domi near the penalty boxes with a hard hit at the 11:38 mark.
Steven Lorentz was in the vicinity when the open-ice hit was delivered. Instead of merely taking Trouba’s number, Lorentz immediately came to the defence of his teammate and dropped the mitts with Trouba in a rare playoff scrap.
Trouba unquestionably contacted Domi’s head, just as the Hurricanes’ forward’s feet were sliding out from beneath him mind you, yet the officials deemed it a clean hit.
The sequence resulted in an instigator call on Lorentz.
Carolina’s bench, plus head coach Rod Brind’Amour, were visibly upset when Trouba only received five for fighting.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant told the broadcast at the first intermission “it was a great hit” before adding “Domi had his head down a little bit.”
Domi, of course, was involved in the rough stuff at the end of that heated Game 3 over the weekend.
The instigator call certainly seemed to affect the Hurricanes on the penalty kill and the Rangers capitalized with Lorentz in his team’s locker room as part of the 2-5-10 he was assessed.
Carolina was relatively sloppy while a man down and a turnover in their own end led to a missed opportunity to clear the zone. That led to Adam Fox patiently making a cross-ice saucer pass to Andrew Copp who neatly slide the puck to Frank Vatrano and the winger beat Antti Raanta low glove to open the scoring.
Brind’Amour, while wanting his players to be more disciplined, was fairly subdued in his post-game comments. He did mention he thought Trouba should’ve been given a cross-checking minor for getting his stick up on Lorentz prior to the brief punch-up.
“We’re not out there to catch guys (with their heads down) or play stupid or anything like that,” Copp said of Trouba’s hit after the game. “We’re just trying to finish our checks when we’re there and play physical when we can and make smart decisions. At the end of the day, them taking the two minutes changed the course of the game. … It’s not headhunting at all. It’s a good hit and their response warranted a penalty.”
Copp added his second assist of the period moments later when Fox, who leapfrogged Cale Makar for the active post-season lead in points among blueliners, tipped in his fourth of the playoffs on a Ryan Lindgren shot.
Lindgren, who has been excellent for the Rangers since returning to the lineup, was named the second star thanks to his two-assist night. Copp and Vatrano, both acquired in March trades, were named first and third stars of the game, respectively.
While there’s plenty of blame to go around on the Carolina side of the equation, Raanta’s performance is not why the series is even as it shifts back to PNC Arena.
Raanta did allow four goals on 28 shots, sure, however he also made a handful of highlight-reel saves to keep his team in it.
Alexis Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin were both separately stopped by Raanta on breakaway backhand deke attempts and he flashed the leather on Chris Kreider, yet his best of the night was against Mika Zibanejad.
The bigger concern for Carolina continued to be the lacklustre power play. It was only 5-for-43 in the playoffs prior to Game 4 where the issues persisted.
Carolina didn’t have trouble entering the zone when a man up. It’s just they couldn’t do much beyond moving the puck around the perimeter once the zone was established.
Their first man advantage of Game 4 occurred midway through the second period although the best scoring chance and only shot on goal during that PP was generated by the Rangers.
Brind’Amour’s group couldn’t get anything going with Lafreniere in the box serving a goalie interference minor early in the final frame either and they finished the night 0-for-2.
The Hurricanes were down by three goals heading into the third period and to say putting three behind Ilya Shesterkin in a single period is a tall task would be an understatement.
The soon-to-be Vezina Trophy winner had his shutout bid ended by Teuvo Teravainen in the third but that’s all Carolina could muster.
Brind’Amour didn’t even bother pulling his goalie in the final few minutes with the score 4-1.
There was some more pushing and shoving at the final horn with Ryan Reeves giving Domi the business – which was likely more fallout from the Game 3 rough stuff – but nothing escalated further.
The Hurricanes are winless on the road this post-season but perfect at home so they’ll appreciate Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.
This series is now officially a best-of-three.
Oilers push Flames to brink of elimination behind Nugent-Hopkins, Kane's 4 combined goals – CBC Sports
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the night with 3:27 left in regulation as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Tuesday to take a 3-1 lead in the teams’ second-round playoff series.
Evander Kane, with his NHL-best 11th and 12th of the post-season, and Zach Hyman had the other goals for Edmonton, which got 29 saves from Mike Smith. Leon Draisaitl added three assists.
Connor McDavid also had two assists to give him a league-topping 25 points in 11 playoff outings this spring for the Oilers, who kept their foot on the gas with a third straight victory over their provincial rival.
Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.
“The main thing was that we had to keep pushing,” Nugent-Hopkins said after Rasmus Andersson scored short-handed from 150 feet away to claw the visitors all the way back from a 3-0 deficit. “Stuff like that happens, it’s hockey. Bounces happen.
“There was no quit.”
Edmonton interim head coach Jay Woodcroft credited Nugent-Hopkins, who was playing just the 32nd playoff game of his 11-season career, for stepping up with the team wobbling.
“It’s inspiring,” said Woodcroft, whose Oilers are now one win from making the Western Conference final for the first time since 2006. “There’s room for greatness from everybody on our team.
“Tonight was Ryan’s moment.”
After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through 40 minutes, Calgary improbably knotted things in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56 and stunned Rogers Place.
WATCH | Flames’ Andersson scores short-handed goal from distance:
But with the Oilers wobbling, Nugent-Hopkins shovelled home his fourth of the playoffs from Markstrom’s doorstep to send the nervous crowd into a frenzy.
Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it into an empty net.
“I can laugh now, right?” a relieved Smith said as throngs of Edmonton fans cheered wildly on the street outside the Oilers Hall of Fame Room where the team conducts its media availabilities. “I don’t think there’s been a time in my career where I’ve lost the puck, where I have no idea where it went.
“You don’t want that to happen … ever. It was an unbelievable goal by Nuge at the end there … a win is a win.”
WATCH | Nugent-Hopkins leads Oilers to big victory over Flames:
Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss.
They won’t be thrilled with this Game 4 either, but got the victory for a stranglehold on the series.
“We all believe in this group,” Andersson said. “We’ve been a good team all year and we’ve been strong on home ice. We’ve just got to go home and focus on winning one game and take it from there.
“Obviously we’re in a tough situation.”
Markstrom’s struggles, Oilers’ early lead
Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score line, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick for him to bury his third inside a deafening arena.
The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).
Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the visitors pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight to bury his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.
The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked off blue-liner Nikita Zadorov.
Calgary finally showed some life on slick power play in the second with Kane off for slashing, and Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.
Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.
Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before the home side got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.
Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who became the first player in NHL history to register three-plus points in four straight playoff games with an assist on the Oilers’ empty-net goal.
Button believes Vasilevskiy is the best in the business: 'There's not even a debate' – TSN
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