In total, more than 430 runners set off on one of the three distances of the day: the half-marathon, the 10 or even the 5 km.
But instead of a single mass start in a peloton, as usual, the starts were given in groups of four to six riders at about thirty second intervals.
This is one of the social distancing measures put in place by the On Court Montreal organizing committee.
There are no podium ceremonies, nothing that could keep people on the site, so naturally, the runners leave after their race, explains President Patrice Brunet. They are also asked not to show up more than an hour before their departure time. This is how we limit the number of participants on the site.
During the race, around the Olympic basin, no volunteer handed out cups of water. The runners had to collect them themselves from a table.
Olympic runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot was entered in the 10 km. The honorary president used the event to simply train. The 1,500-meter specialist still won his race in 31 minutes.
For him, this first race was a first step towards a return to normality.
In this kind of race, we will regain the sensations we had a little, but with a certain drawback, explains Charles Philibert-Thiboutot. We might have butterflies in our stomachs like in a normal race, but without the crowds and the big peloton. We have to go gradually. It was fun and the course was quick for those aiming for personal bests.
And even those who didn’t break their record had a smile on arrival. With the cancellation of many events, including the Montreal Marathon, the wait has been long for many runners.
On court Montréal hopes to hold another such event, also on Île Notre-Dame in October.
The organization also has its sights set on the Montreal marathon next September. Its president intends to submit his candidacy to organize it in the coming days.