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    First, big thanks to MEC for putting this race on the map. The date is November 1st. At that time, all, or at least most of the fall colors of the Gatineau Park, will be a thing of the past, but what a great place to train while all these changes taking place. Well, great, excluding weekend and holiday when the Park is swarmed with cars.

    I am running on the asphalt, MEC race course, since September 26th, managing two runs a week, covering the half marathon course or longer. Yes, I need the training to survive this course.

    So here is what I experienced so far for you to stage proper strategy for race day.

    1. First 4 km, the warm up, mostly downhill, makes you think this is going to be easy. Well think again, and DO NOT run too hard. Leaving P10 toward P8 remember it is only the start.

    2. From P8, the 5 km toward the T Junction is where you start thinking: Maybe the organizers alleged claim, “This could be Canada’s toughest road marathon,” is right. There are two climbs in this section and all of a sudden the pace slows down. Yes it is hard to run uphill. The last km in this section is down hill, gaining some time, increasing the pace.

    Finally you arrive to the T-Junction.

    Marathoners will continue on Prom. de la Gatineau and the half marathoner will turn right to Promenade Champlain, skip to section 4.

    3. From the T-Junction, marathoner have 8 km running toward P3-Gamelin. This will be relatively easy but remember you are coming back these same 8 km. So you have a major downhill, Pink. Do not hammer it, your hamstrings will thank you later. You turn at Gamelin, here starts the hardest part of the marathon. Climbing back to the T-Junction. You already ran 17 km and now hard 8 km. Well suck it up but do not push too hard. Finally you are back where the half marathoners left you. You feel good, 25 km behind you. Well, not so fast. The hardest part of the race is ahead.

    4. You, the marathoner, turn here left and you are on Promenade Champlain. This 8 km is HARD. You have 3 major hills here. Right at the start over a km climb. Does not seem steep but you’d be surprised how your pace all of a sudden is slow. Some up and down hills and here it comes: Climbing Black. Anyone who cycles in the Gatineau knows that this is a hard one. Well running it is also hard. You finally made it up, recover for a while running down. It is time to start going a bit harder. There is another climb, not as long as Black and you finally arrived to another junction.

    Half marathoners turn right to Promenade du Lac Fortune, skip to section 6.

    5. Marathoners continue for another in and out, on Promenade Champlain toward Champlain Lookout, total of around 4.5 km. Running toward Champlain is a bit harder, but starting it you know you made the hard part of the race. 33 km behind you. When you arrived to the turn point at Champlain, it will around 7 km, mostly downhill.

    6. Marathoner arrived to the junction, turning left to Promenade du Lac Fortune. This is the finale. About 4 km to run. You made it here and you are still running, hopefully no major hamstrings issue, that’s the time to ‘put the pedal to the metal’, meaning hammer it if you can. It is mostly downhill, very steep the last 2 km, down the last hill, we all, marathoners and half marathoners, turn right to P10. We MADE IT!.

    In P10, Chris, the race director promised: ” Finish into P10 parking (where there will be first aid for your quads) – then a school bus back to fortune where the bar will be open!” 🙂

    There, now you know.

    Ben Caspi

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