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RUNNING TO VISIT A CITY: A JOURNEY ACROSS MONTREAL

Do you know cyclo-tourism? It consists of visiting a region during many days using only a bike to move and transport your equipment. So, I had the idea to do the exact same thing but with only shoes: run-tourism! The same way I normally do in the mountains, I left with water, little food and extra clothes, but to cross a city instead of a forest. Well, I don’t know if it’s already a thing, but it was a first experience of that kind for me. Here is my story. 

This weekend I was on the south shore of Montreal with my girlfriend and we were looking for a place to hike. However, some places were closed for the thaw period and others, due to Covid-19, require reservations. So we decided to do our adventure in the city instead of in the mountain. We quickly planned a route of about 25 km from Saint-Lambert to the Mount Royal Park in Montreal, but like every adventure, our itinerary changed during the day. 

Sunday, around 10 am, we left Saint-Lambert in the direction of the lock on the Victoria Bridge, but the bike path was closed. We had just started and already we faced an obstacle. We looked at our possibilities, but it was impossible to pass. We had to resign ourselves to take an alternative route either the Champlain Bridge or the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. As we wanted to cross the Old Montreal, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge was the shortest alternative route. As we ran towards the bridge, we decided to use the bike path along the St.Lawrence River. The scenery was beautiful, but this decision was also a mistake as it lengthened our itinerary. We arrived under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge surrounded by highway with no possibility of access. If we had continued on the street instead of taking the cycle path, we would have arrived exactly at the right place. With some Google Map magic trick, we found a 4.4 km detour to access the bridge bike path. We also took that moment to eat Xact soft fruit bars. Finally, we were on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge! Did you know that the bridge is 3 km? What a feeling to run over the St.Lawrence River during one of the first beautiful spring days! 

We arrived at Parc des Faubourgs with 14 km completed and we started the “walking part” of our journey. We walked Notre-Dame Street East and De La Commune Street East to the Old Port of Montreal. It was 1 pm, we rested a bit, ate and enjoyed the sun at Place Royale (there are public toilets nearby). After our meal we headed to McGill University passing by the Notre-Dame de Montreal Basilica, the Montreal City Hall and the Christ Church Cathedral. We finished our walk at the monument to Sir George-Etienne Cartier. With these 9 km of walk we reached the mark of 23 km. 

Then it was time to start running again, but this time with significant elevation, the Mount Royal Park. We ran slowly but steadily up a fairly busy path covered in soft snow and mud until we reach the Kondiaronk lookout. It was now 3 pm and the place was very crowded, but the view was still magnificent. We took some pictures and after that, I made a loop of about 2 km to see the giant Mount Royal cross while my girlfriend started the descent. This kind of compromise can be interesting if you want to go with other people that don’t run as much as you. After that loop, I ran the descent to Saint Joseph’s Oratory to reunite with my girlfriend patiently waiting for me. It was 4 pm, we had done 32 km, so we decided to chill a bit, eat a Clif bar and call a taxi for our way back. 

Our total route was 32 km in just over 4h of moving time (6h with stops) and we had a brief overview of what Montreal has to offer. We will certainly do a similar experience in the future, perhaps on several days, making more use of the restaurants and accommodations. 

Maxime Legendre grew up near Quebec City, but now resides in Sherbrooke where he is finishing his PhD in psychology. As a child, he was involved in team sports (hockey, soccer, baseball), but with time, he introduced himself to outdoor sports. His growing passion for hiking and traveling led him to trail running, the sport he focuses on. Still, he tries to include in his agenda as much cycling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as possible. Whether it is in a mountain, a forest, or a city, on foot, on bike, on skis or on snowshoes, his goal is always to explore further and longer.
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