The Gatineau Park Half-Marathon took place on Sunday, October 30, 2016. It was organised by Mountain Equipment Coop.
Now, in the past, the Gatineau Park Marathon has been included in lists of the toughest marathons in Canada (and I believe it). This year, the full marathon was actually cancelled due to slushy snow on the course and poor weather conditions. This didn’t stop the organizers from holding the half-marathon however.
Now, I train almost everyday within Gatineau Park, and this is why I felt I really had to take part in this half-marathon (even if it was just one week before the New York marathon when I was suppose to be tapering). This race takes place precisely on the roads where I train almost everyday.
Now, the race course itself was sadistic. I often tackle a 1 or 2 kilometer hill in a run, I love hills, but there were no less than 5 large hills within the course (a few lasting several kilometers straight upwards). After this race, my phone app told me I had beaten my record for the most elevation gain during a run. ever.
Since I was almost fully trained for the marathon the next week and already tapering, I felt really great and strong for this race. The hills were exhausting, but I was hoping they would help give a last-minute push in fitness. I think it worked.
I fought hard on the hills, and definitely had to walk up that last steep kilometer to the finish line (like everybody else who finished about the same time I did).
I finished in 2:28, which is surprisingly close to my 2:27 PR, considering the hills on the course.
I’m hoping to run this race again next year and be able to run up that last uphill kilometer. If I can do that, I know I’ll have accomplished something.