What a great marathon. A qualifier for Boston I expected it to be a lot busier but with approx 1200 in the marathon it was ideal.
But I rush ahead of myself. We arrived in the city on a wet, cold and windy Thursday evening. Although the hotel was about a mile away we decided to get a taxi to it. We were in Quebec’s oldest hotel the Claremont. Right in the centre of the Old Town and ideally situated for the marathon expo, start and finish.
We went to the expo on Friday. I registered, collected my goodie bag and we had a stroll around the vendors. We left the expo and located the start and finish areas then headed back to the hotel thinking that everything was done until Sunday.
The weather was looking decidedly cold for the race so on Saturday we headed back to the expo and I bought a pair of fleece lined tights. A rather opportune purchase as it turned out.
Sunday morning dawned dull and 3 Deg. I rose had some food and headed to the start which was at a small park near a main boulevard. This year’s route was totally within the city 42.2 km through the 10 main districts. The surface was mainly road or pavement with some cobbles and parkland. I elected for road shoes and made my way to the start.
The race started 0800 I arrived at about 0730 and joined other runners milling around at the start in a small park in the Saint-Jean area of the city. Although Quebec prides itself in its bilingual culture I could not hear any announcements in English, they were all in French. I might be wrong and just didn’t hear them as my teeth were chattering so much. The runners made their way to the start line for a further 10 minutes milling around with much arm swinging and running on the spot to try and keep warm. Many runners were as well wrapped up as I was although there was a few hardy souls in shorts!
The traditional countdown started and we all began to shuffle forward under the start. I found myself next to the four hour pacer and although quicker than I wanted I decided to stick with him and try to get some heat into my body.
The first 5K was all downhill and the route flattened out as it ran along by the Saint Charles river.
We ran through the Saint Roch and Saint Sauveur a mix of residential and business premises. The half marathon route split from the marathon route between the 4 and 5 k mrk and rejoined us at 17k. We continued along footpaths by the side of the river crossing the river just short of the 10k mark.
The pace had warmed me up and I could now feel my toes. I decided to stay with the 4 hour pacer as I was feeling comfortable and he was using a walk run strategy! We left the river and picked up some weary half marathon runners at the 17k mark. We headed down the ramp and into the Pont tunnel Joseph Samson. A major artery which had been closed so the race could use it.
The route now took us out along by the river and then along a parallel street and uphill into the Old Town as the route neared the hotel I was accompanied for a few hundred metres by Carol quite a surprise as I only expected to see her at the finish.
We continued east through the Plains of Abraham and out into a fairly resedential area known as Sillery and at about 36k started on a 6k dash to the finish area. As I came down the mat I could see my time was just over 4:30 afterwards my official time was given as 4:30:47. I was quite pleased with that and I had finally heated up!
Carol was waiting for me at the finish and unlike larger city marathons like Berlin and Paris she found me easily and could accompany me around to the finish area. At the finish area after you had collected your medal bananas, water and pastries were available and McDonalds were providing free coffee.
Time 4:30:47 elev 913 feet. A great marathon and one I would recommend.
Dotted around the course were a number of bands everything from bongo drummers to rock and rollers.