If you are looking to run a fall marathon where you can almost be guaranteed great weather, don’t look past the largest marathon in Quebec, Marathon Beneva de Montréal, returning this September with a new title sponsor. Immerse yourself in one of Canada’s oldest cities from Sept. 23 to 25 and experience the architecture, nature and vibrant culture Montreal has to offer.
The Marathon Beneva de Montréal is a full race weekend offering 1K, 5K and 10K races on Saturday, in addition to Sunday’s half and full marathon. In the past, the proximity of Montreal to other Canadian cities has drawn many runners to the race; Montreal is easily reachable by car or train for residents of eastern Canada and there are frequent flights from all other Canadian cities.
The start of both the marathon and half marathon will be from Espace 67 on Montreal’s Ste-Hélène Island. The start will be in waves and participants will be informed of their wave and start time a few days before the race. The marathon course takes runners through Notre Dame Island and Saint Helen’s Island on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Old Montreal, the historic districts of Ville-Marie, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, before finishing on Montreal’s Olympic Park Esplanade. The course is measured and certified by Athletics Canada, therefore your time can qualify you for the Boston Marathon in 2023 or any AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.
The early-fall weather couldn’t be better for this marathon, as Montreal residents have been known to hit the streets with water and hoses to cool runners down when things get hot.
The first edition of the Montreal Marathon was held in August of 1979, with approximately 9,000 runners. Eighteen years later, the race disappeared for five years from 1997 to 2002, then returned in 2004 with more activities such as walking, running, and a wheelchair division. On the 23rd anniversary of the race in 2013, the race hit record numbers with 32,000 finishers from 30 countries.
Where to stay
Montreal is filled with many great hotels and local Airbnb hosts. We suggest staying downtown or in Old Montreal to get the full race weekend experience. If looking to stay downtown near the race finish, the official race hotel is the Double Tree by Hilton with nearby partner hotels of Montreal Delta and Hotel Universal Montreal also offering discounted rates for Montreal Marathon participants.
Where to run
Looking to run before the race here are some of our favourite routes in Montreal:
- Located just a short metro ride away from the downtown city centre, Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau is one of the city’s largest public parks and has its own unique history despite its close proximity to the rest of the city. As one of the host sites for the 1976 summer Olympics, the park boasts a rowing basin, race track, aquatic centre and more. Comprised of two islands – Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, connected by a bridge – the park offers numerous running route options perfect for speed work and longer distances.
- Mont-Royal is likely the most popular spot for runners to train in Montreal. With a relatively flat one-kilometre loop near the mountain’s base, a series of stairs wide enough for multiple runners to use at once and multiple ascending trails to choose from, it is the perfect spot to practice hill training, speed work and long-distance training.
- The Old Port is not only one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, but it’s also a popular route for many Montreal runners. You can start at Place Jacques Cartier and head down south toward the Promenade du Vieux-Port. The port path can be busy on a nice day and chaotic over the weekends in between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but it’s a great, flat place to train for many marathoners with picture-perfect views of the city.
The marathon is now backed by a new local sponsor, Beneva, which will elevate the event to contend with some of Canada’s top marathons like Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. Take advantage of early-bird pricing and sign up for $110 at www.mtlmarathon.com or register here.