Running rocks at Montréal’s new-look marathon

Jamie O'Meara

It doesn’t get more rock’n’roll than running 42 km in less than six hours. Unless you’re doing it to the live sounds of rock’n’roll itself. Every year, thousands and thousands of runners take to city streets for the Oasis International Marathon de Montréal, part of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series that takes place in cities around the world. And this year, the Marathon’s stepping up their running game.

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The beat goes on… and on, and on

From September 21 to 23, the Oasis International Marathon de Montréal will once again see the city overrun, literally, with wave after wave of competitors. There are five different races under the umbrella of the Marathon: the 1 km (for kids from 3 to 11 years old), 5 km, 10 km, the half-marathon (21.1 km) and the main marathon (42.2 km). The half-marathon course must be completed within 3.45 hours, and the main marathon within six hours. The races and all associated activities of the Marathon are designed with the whole family in mind, though there are some age restrictions when it comes to the individual competitions. To participate in the main marathon, you must be at least 18 years old and 12 years old for the half-marathon. The deadline for online registration for the Marathon is September 16, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST. (Please note that there is no race day registration.)

The marathon is changing course

The big news this year is that the Marathon has relocated from picturesque Parc La Fontaine in the city’s trendy Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood to the lively, downtown Quartier des spectacles. And with that comes a change in the Marathon’s courses, which have different starting points scattered around the downtown area depending on the length of the run, though all conclude on Le Parterre of the Quartier des spectacles (a big, central green space that plays host to numerous events throughout the year, such as concerts during the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal). This year, the new routes will see competitors traverse some of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, including the Plateau, Old Montréal, Griffintown, Pointe-Saint-Charles and the historic Lachine Canal. The main marathon will even go and circle the Botanical Garden across from the Olympic Park. You can check out the new routes here.

Music to your feet

It’s not called the Rock’n’Roll Marathon for nothing – music is core to the event, and in 2018 organizers are promising even more of it. To wit, live bands, DJs, drum lines and more will mark every mile of the course from start to finish, and pacers (who run with participants to help keep them motivated) will be running with music so that competitors keep rocking and rolling all the way to the finish line. A post-race headlining concert featuring a well-known, as-yet-unannounced band will await competitors following the conclusion of the main marathon on Sunday afternoon, September 23.

Get clinical – for free

The whole thing kicks off on Friday, September 21 with the two-day “Health and Fitness Expo” that is free and open to the public. It will feature clinics by renowned speakers, the latest in running technologies and fitness apparel, health and nutritional information, and interactive displays. The Expo takes place prior to the Rock’n’Roll Marathon at downtown Montréal’s Place Bonaventure (directly across from Central Station). Participants can also pick up their personalized bib, gift bag, STM transit card, t-shirt and other runny goodies here as well.

Staying on track

And lastly, one of the other fun features of the Marathon in 2018 is the creation of a new app that includes real-time runner tracking (participant times, paces, estimates and places in real-time). Other functions include interactive course maps, push notifications as progress is made on course, event information and messaging, live leaderboards and social media sharing. Indeed, participants can share the app with friends, family and fans so they can track the runner’s progress on race day.

Jamie O’Meara

Jamie O’Meara, blogger

Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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