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TSO Volunteers Take On the 2020 Waterfront Marathon—Virtually!

The Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee (TSVC) has been organizing a TSO Team for Toronto’s Waterfront Marathon since 2013—but this year’s event looked a little bit different.
October 26, 2020

The TSVC is a dedicated group of volunteers (founded back in 1923) who raise funds and awareness for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s programs. This is their eighth year of entering a TSO Team for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), in support of the TSO’s education initiatives—and they have almost reached their goal of raising $50,000!

It’s a real team effort, and there are 63 members of all ages in this year’s TSO Team, from Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians to two TSVC members in their 90s. 

Due to current restrictions, the race was virtual this year, with participants individually walking or running 5k, 10k, or a half or full marathon between October 1 and 31. (The race may be over, but there’s still time to sponsor the participants, with donations accepted until November 21!)

Read on to find out more about this year’s incredible walkers and joggers. Go Team TSO!

Judy Simmonds has been a member of the TSVC since 1959—and here she is in action, completing her 5k walk on her farm. Judy is in her 90s, and inspired fellow TSVC member and nonagenarian Joyce Gutmann to take part, too.

“[Judy] was doing it and that egged me on to do the walk. I realized that if she could do it, so could I! A challenge at any age is good,” said Joyce, who has been a top fundraiser for the event in previous years but has never taken part herself until now.

TSO Violin James Wallenberg is a regular runner, having taken part every year since 2015. “It's quite strange to contemplate doing my actual final 5k run on my own with no crowds to cheer me on,” he said. Still, he’s close to achieving his fundraising target of a whopping $3,500!

TSVC Vice-President Debra Walker was delighted that the flexibility of this year’s virtual event has opened the race up to more participants, “as opposed to arriving down at Exhibition at 7:00am and standing in cold weather on the day!” She also has a standing bet with James Wallenberg to see who reaches their $3,500 fundraising goal first (there’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition as a fundraising incentive).

TSVC member John Robertson took part for the first time, and walked the full marathon distance over two weeks—and he's aiming to raise $2,000! He took the opportunity to explore new places in his neighbourhood, “and not to mention the benefits of walking in the fresh air.”

The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra is just one of the TSO’s educational programs that will benefit from funds raised at this year’s event, and our young musicians have also thrown themselves into the challenge. Here’s TSYO Trumpet Justin Ko and Cellist Ellamay Mantie, who both completed a 5k run.

And the TSO administrative staff have been getting involved, too. Assistant Manager of Patron Services Mor Shargall signed up to take part in the event as a personal challenge “before you-know-what took hold of our lives!”. With everything going on, it would have been easy to defer or just not do it, she said—”but I ran my wet and rainy 5k in support of myself and my orchestra!”

Feeling inspired? Why not get involved? 

Sponsor our participants online now by November 21—and help us raise $50,000 for the TSO’s education initiatives.