Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for Mont-Tremblant

Spectating Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant


Pros beginning the swim course on Lac Tremblant

Occasionally, a day is well spent just watching athletes do what they do. Rather than lining up at the start or supporting a friend through a race, its great just to observe and cheer. 

So it was today when we set out at 7 a.m. to arrive at Lac Tremblant for the 8:00 swim start of Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant. It was warm for an early summer morning when the Laurentian Mountains usually require a light jacket. 

The sparkling, flat surface of Lac Tremblant, helicopter overhead, fighter jets making a pass as the pros made their way into the water, was a beautiful and exciting start.






We stayed at the beach until the 50+ women left the shore (these are my people). From the beach, we walked a trail to the base of Mont-Tremblant where the swim/cycling transition takes place. By the time we reached the transition area, the pros were already on the bike course.


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We cheered age-group participants as they emerged from the water, searched for their bike location, made any wardrobe changes and took a bit of nutrition before biking off.


Some bikes remain in place for participants still finishing their swim


We then found our way to an excellent breakfast, lazily relaxing  until we conjectured the first finishers would begin arriving. This spectator role is beginning to grow on me. Before the finish area became too crowded, we left the comfort of the restaurant’s terrace and found a shaded view near the finish. Last year’s winner Lionel Sanders (Canada) finished first with a time of 3:47:31, nearly five minutes ahead of second place Trevor Wurtele (Canada). Trevor’s wife Heather placed as second woman  (4:17:08, 15th overall). First woman finisher was Holly Lawrence (Great Britain) with an impressive time of 4:08:53 (10th overall).


Finally the finish line


Deciding that five hours of observing was enough and with other commitments calling, we walked back to the shuttle for a ride back to the parking area. As the bus slowly made its way on Chemin de Village, we could see many of the age groupers on the hilly run course. It’s a beautiful route, but under an unusually warm sky at 1 p.m. and little shade, runners were having a tough go. Cooling sprinklers were set up along this portion of the course and I could see aid stations and medical tents along this section of the route were well supplied. I lost sight of runners as they looped around the train station (now an art gallery) and on to the Petit Train du Nord trail to their turnaround. For the first time during the day I felt uneasy, sitting in relative comfort of a shuttle bus as runners were struggling and toughing it out through those last few miles.


The sign says it all


Checking online results, I see two women in my age group (F65-69) finished the race (6:30 and 7:59). Were in not for a lack of swim and cycling expertise, I would love to be doing this event with them.

I hope every participant has an opportunity post-race to soak in the great food and beauty this region has to offer following their hard-earned finish.


Post Mont-Tremblant 10K Musing – Was it that Jacqueline Gareau?

Like any dedicated age-group runner, I generally take a morning-after look at the on-line results from my week-end race.  I first briefly scan the top overall and masters results.  Then on to the real interest area – my age group results: who turned up in my AG, their times in comparison to mine, etc.  This was exactly my morning musing yesterday. With coffee in hand and a good internet connection I went to the results of the 2013 Mont-Tremblant demi-marathon.PENTAX Image

Still gently testing my healing knee, pining to do the half but knowing my training wasn’t sufficient, I ran the 10K event. From overall results posted at the finish, I knew I had placed third in AG. AG winners were not announced at the post-race event so I didn’t have information on others who placed.  On the Results web page, I keyed into F60+ and saw there were nine women in my age group, and some impressive race times.  The F60+ woman in second place, Johanne Fortier, came in at 52:05:6, a good five minutes ahead of my third place finish.

Scanning up to the F60+ first place finisher, I see a time of 45:20.9.  Not only was she first in age group, but 51st place overall and seventh woman to finish. Who is this amazing person?  The name is Jacqueline Gareau, hmmm – Jacqueline Gareau, why is that name familiar?


Photo credit: Karl Tremblay

Oh, could it be that Jacqueline Gareau, winner of the 1980 Boston Marathon as well as other marathons, a Canadian Olympian among many other accomplishments? I’m thinking, yes it could.


8115L-jacqueline-gareau-1 Photo Credit: Paul Foisy

I love this about road racing. You never know who will show up at a race, particularly when you are out of your own stomping grounds and stepping into theirs. There is usually no clear way to know who among the crowd is in your age group and when it will be a running legend. That makes the surprises at the finish all the more awe-inspiring.

In addition to sharing an age group, I have something else in common with Jacqueline Gareau.  We have both run Boston, the difference being – and its a big difference – she has won the Boston Marathon and I have met the qualifying time to get there. Judging from the philosophy on Gareau’s  website, we also share a love of nature and an active life.


Senior Games placed our AG on our backs. No mystery about the competition here.

More about the Mont-Tremblant demi-marathon event in a later post, but in the meantime: If you have had age group competition surprises in your races, drop a comment and let me know.  Let’s compare notes.