This was supposed to be a recap of my fifth marathon, but the story ended up a little differently. Instead, the delayed review of my 14th half marathon (and second Canadian race–I ran SeaWheeze in 2015): RnR Montreal Half Marathon.
Expo: Smaller than most RnR Expos, and I was disappointed that neither of my favorite brands (Honey Stinger and Nuun) made an appearance. While the site itself was easy to find, navigating within the convention center took awhile. I don’t like expos that make you walk so much just to get to the entrance. Shirt distribution also seemed a little disorganized.
Weather: Unseasonably warm for Canada, which led to the cancellation of the full marathon. The race stayed in the 70s all morning with high humidity and the temperatures continued to creep up throughout the day. It felt exactly like running in Texas; I checked, race day temperatures were the exact same in Montreal and Dallas!
Support: Canadians were very scared of the unseasonably warm temperatures, so they added extra water stops and support. Every fire hydrant along the way was open, which seemed a little bit overkill but were fun to run through like a child in the sprinklers. Local run clubs and Lululemon staffed cheering stations near one of the final hills. I ran the free Lululemon Shakeout Run the day before, so it was nice to look forward to seeing new “friends” along the course. They even invited us out for drinks and poutine after the race, which we declined in favor of recovery naps. The city showed up to support this race, which made it one of the most fun I’ve ever run.
Course: I’d been planning to run this race for a couple years because of how much I love Montreal. The views did not disappoint. We began* on an island, circled around to another and then crossed into the main city (technically also an island)–running along the old port most of the way. One of my favorite parts was through the art installation over Saint Catherine Street in Gay Village. We finished in the park with a large beer garden and plenty of entertainment. *Take note that this is a point-to-point course, and the start line is accessible only by metro then walking about 20 minutes. Neither the start nor finish is close to the old port, but the finish does have a metro station nearby. The race provided every participant with a free one-day metro pass.
I would run Montreal again and again, especially if the temperatures lived up to a true Canadian fall next time. My only complaint is the distance from Dallas makes it unfeasible as an annual tradition. Marathon finishers (in this case, half finishers who had originally registered for the cancelled marathon) received a finishers jacket written in French, unique to other Rock’N’Roll race events.