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Race Report: Rock N Roll Oasis Montreal Half Marathon

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 by in Running | 0 comments

In 2012, I opted to run the inaugural Rock N Roll Montreal Half Marathon.  It was the first time Competitor Group staged a RnR event in Canada, and being a music lover I was enthralled by the  “music every mile” concept.  When the opportunity presented itself to return in 2013 at a discounted rate, I snapped up a registration.  Only on race day would I regret the decision.

Where to start…

  • Several weeks before the Montreal event, Competitor Group dropped its elite funding.  The company had shifted its focus to “lifestyle”, not “sport”.   This mentality is supposed to help draw first time runners, especially those with slower paces or a preference to walk.  Sadly, this new promise backfired in Montreal when Half Marathon runners were pulled off the course at a 3 hour limit, instead of the promised 3 hour and 45 minute cutoff.
  • In 2012, Marathon and Half Marathon participants were asked to exit at the Jean-Drapeau station.  This year, the race organizers forced a change, refusing access to Pont Jacques-Cartier from Jean-Drapeau.  Instead, we were forced to exit at the much smaller Papineau station.  Due to the sheer volume of runners, we were unable to leave the subway cars onto the platform.  STM staff deserve kudos for trying to get everyone out in a timely and safe manner, it was truly chaos.
  • Leading up to the race, RnR Montreal sent out emails offering access to the Brooks VIP Porta Potty for $5.00.  Turns out I should have coughed up the money, as it took most of us over 1.5 to 2+ hours to hit the loo.  Disgraceful to have over 14,000 runners on a bridge, with virtually no access to washrooms.  La Presse details the “cash cow” in all its glory.
  • This is a Fall race.  I expect cooler temps, high winds, even rain storms.  Turns out Mother Nature dished up all my favorites (no joke, I wait all year for this weather).  A storm had passed through Montreal the night before the race, leaving the La Ronde with unavoidable, ankle deep “puddles”.  Further, it poured rain during the event.  The least one can expect at the finish is a thermal blanket.  Turns out the foil warmth was too costly for RnR to purchase.  Seriously?

In terms of my race, it was okay.  I knew from last year it was best to capitalize on the downhill momentum for the first 2.5K.  This helped me nail a wicked 5K split – 22:34.  I started losing steam towards the 10K split, which I crossed at 53:15.  My pace suffered after the 11K mark.  I blew over 8 minutes waiting for a porta potty (lack of access at the start = long lines on course), and then started to get leg cramps after the first hill in the Vieux Port.  By the time I hit the dreaded Berri Street climb at 19K, I was toast.  According to my Garmin, I wrapped up in 2:06 – my bib time shows 2:11.  Seriously, I could have cared less.  I just wanted to get my blue lips back to the hotel, take a hot shower and get into warm clothes.

Bottom line: not enough porta potties, foolish use of the Metro system, lack of thermal blankets, overcrowding at the finish line park, lack of hydration (cups ran out) at water stations, and so much more.  While I will return to run Montreal in the future, it will not be under the Rock N Roll banner.

Half Marathon Results
Chip Time: 2:11:04.7
Overall Place: 7568/11640
Gender Place: 3195/5996
Women 35-39 Place: 586/1029


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