No laps here, just one not-quite loop, clockwise round the edge of this rapidly-developing park to the NorthWest of the city. You can head straight to the start (9:30 start time), but there may be few people there. They meet at the TOHU building on Rue des Regrattiers, heading over to the start at 9:25.
Although it looks like a large green area, the centre is under development, so parts are just a path with fencing. A local said the fencing was a recent addition, so if you come, you might find a whole new park to explore. You can see contours on the map – the centre drops away from the path you run round, so you get quite a view over it.
The course is also undulating, starting off downhill. The surface is hard; tarmac in a few places, otherwise gritty paths. Fast, but not that fast. On this summer day, it was warm but not hot, without sunshine some of the time. Perfect running conditions, but nothing could help my lack of recent running, and I struggled. Several minutes slower than my last parkrun, 7 weeks ago. I had run to the venue from the centre of the city. The metro will get you to within a mile of the start if you use it. D’Iberville station is recommended. St Michel is pretty close, too, but with a less-nice walk to the park, along busier roads.
The briefing was in both French and English, and first-timers were brought to one side and given a little extra information. The most crucial instruction is that on the right route, the path won’t change width. If it does, therefore, you’ve deviated. It’s pretty straightforward, with cones to the sides marking turns you should not take, and a couple of marshals, just in case.
I took advantage of the fact that I was carrying my phone, and couldn’t get going much quicker, to snap a couple of pictures on the run, which was a rare treat. The sun came out shortly after we’d started, but there was plenty of cloud cover, as you can see.
I had met David and his son Archie before the run, so we grabbed a photo during our chat afterwards. There was a sizeable number of tourists in the 81 finishers – one Australian, one South African and Brits into double figures. Seven people entirely new to parkrun, too, which suggests the healthy numbers are going to nudge up nicely. There’s certainly room on the course for more people, and the start is wide enough to let people go off at their own pace without problems.
After the run, people head to the TOHU building again for chat and coffee. I joined in for a while, then walked back through Montreal, soaking up sights in different districts as I went.
Results from Frédérick Back parkrun, event 101.