I Beat The Mountain, I Beat The Cross! My Montreal Half Marathon

I’ve been in the beautiful city of Montreal for nearly two weeks now and yesterday I made a significant step forward in my running. I ran 13.3 miles for the first time since 2005, however that was not the step that motivated and excited me the most.

The natives named Montreal Turtle Island due to a large hill that protrudes from the island like a giant turtle shell. As European settlers seemed to like to exaggerate it’s now referred to as a “Mountain”, a 233 metre above sea level mountain (yes I know it’s a hill), that rises out of the landscape just west of downtown. The European settlers gave it the name Mount Royal, Mont Réal in old fashioned middle French, and obviously this where the city gets it’s namesake.

In my two weeks here I have been running a lot. The running has been going really well, i’ve been getting up stupidly early with motivation from TakaChallenge on Twitter and his #6amclub hashtag. I’ve been zipping around the streets, learning new back roads, watching the city wake up and going to new places but one thing has been bothering me.

I Beat The Mountain, I Beat The Cross!

At one of the mountains three peaks lives a giant 88 year old 100ft high cross. I’ve been running in the vicinity of the east side of the mountain and in the early dark cold mornings its white glow has been taunting me. I’ve been manifesting the shining brilliance to not be a message from god but rather a sarcastic ogre of twisted metal shouting down at me “I bet you can’t get up here, I dare you to even try” and each time I have replied “I will take you up on that bet, soon, soon I tell you!”

Well yesterday morning, I rose at 6:15 and decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore, I was going to beat that mountain and beat the taunting cross. Guess what, I did, I did it and it felt great.

The Montreal Mountain Cross

My Montreal Half Marathon, My First Since 2005

I didn’t run for a few years due to the conditions of the streets in Egypt so a few months ago when I got back to the UK I started running hard and regular again. Although I had kept reasonable condition due to home workouts I wasn’t exactly in peak performance but the running legs came back fast with me building up first to 5, then 8 miles within a few weeks. I’ve been running somewhere between 3-8 miles since but when I came to Montreal I decided to put a new focus into it.

I knew I wanted to be able to run half marathon distance again and that’s exactly what I have been aiming towards. Yesterday morning I laced up knowing that it was the day. I felt good after an 11 miler a few days before and oddly wasn’t aching. My dinner the night before had been bean heavy and I had purchased some bananas for morning energy.

It was cold, I don’t know exactly how cold but my fingers had to stay in my jacket and I wished I had brought along my gloves. The good thing about the cold is that you don’t sweat heavy or dehydrate, perfect!


The few miles to the base of the mountain went well and once I hit those trails, even though they were uphill, I just kept going and going cheerily waving good morning to any runner or dog walker that would share in the moment with me. When I passed the sign that said the cross was only 1.3km away my legs sped up and I boosted myself to the metal ogre to say hello before running round to the Montreal chalet lookout point and taking the photo below on my camera phone.

Montreal Mountain View

A few heavy breaths, a quick rest, and down I went again, coasting all the way home with a huge smile on my face for the first 13+ mile run since 2005.

Next goal for me is to increase the pace and get this distance back to being sub 2 hours.

Below you can see my run visualised on Google Earth and if you are interested in the gritty details such as time, pace and elevation then check out (and join me) the run on my RunKeeper page.

I’d also love if you could take the time to comment, ask any questions or add any thoughts. Please also let me know how your running has been going and what goals you are aiming for.

Thanks a million for reading.

Montreal 13 mile run

Click on the image to see the run on RunKeeper

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When I can be I am a regular runner but I am also nothing special and certainly no elite, so in that respect I am regular too. However I do love talking about running and related things and I do have a lot of experience, over 15 years now.

3 Responses to “I Beat The Mountain, I Beat The Cross! My Montreal Half Marathon” Subscribe

  1. Mike October 29, 2011 at 17:57 #

    Well done! Next, marathon?

    • Forest October 29, 2011 at 18:12 #

      Thanks Mike, at this stage I think i’ll try and bring the speed down on this distance and then if the weather holds out (the cold is coming day on day!!!), i’ll try and increase the distance a little.

      I don’t know where i’ll be next year but I might go for another marathon. Hopefully in the next few years at least.

      How about you?


  1. HealthBuzzing.com - October 29, 2011

    I Beat The Mountain, I Beat The Cross! My Montreal Half Marathon…

    A post about reaching half marathon distance in running and beating a goal. Great motivation for anyone with exercise goals…….

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