Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series – Montreal

Event Details

Location Jacques-Cartier Bridge


Event Rating


Race Details

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Discipline Running
Start Date/Time September 24, 2017 @ 1:40 am
End Date/Time N/A
Address Montreal
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Gritty Kitty
September 24th, 2017 7:36 pm

I had heard about this series and finally got the opportunity to try the Oasis Rock & Roll event this weekend in Montreal, Quebec. We arrived early and I highly recommend the new Best Western Plus located on Ste Catharine Street. It was clean, the staff was very friendly and it has quiet inner courtyard rooms so there is no street noise. An easy 2K walk to the start and finish line and no hassle with valet parking upon your arrival. Breakfast is included in your room rate and the Internet is free. I headed over to Place Bonaventure to pick up our race kits and it was also a breeze. Even with a large number of attendees, there were little to no lineups and each volunteer helped if a line got too busy. The race kit pickup is sorted by bib numbers and you were provided with a plastic backpack, tech tee, racing bib that was personalized if you had registered in advance, and the signage was clear and easy to read (find). It would have been nice to have one large sign outside to indicate the location but otherwise was fairly simple to locate. The vendor village and expo inside did not disappoint with discounted merchandise and free draws for prizes and protein samples was well laid out and offered good variety as you worked your way through the sometimes congested aisles.
The next morning I walked up to Lafontaine Park and followed the masses to get to the main village that offered ample washrooms, bad drop in busses and again tons of signs to direct you towards the main starting line. You could hear the MC from far away and it drew you towards the action. Corrals were well marked and the event started on time with 2-minute intervals between departures. This is a flat course on pavement and there are bands located every kilometer and a water station around the 3K mark. Some shady sections but mostly out in the open. The humidex was high so the marathon was canceled for the next day and the 1/2 was moved up an hour earlier to try to avoid heat illnesses for racers. Nice medal upon completion and volunteers handed out water, bananas, apples and juice to all finishers.
The main village is well spaced out and the lead band was MOIST to finish off the day around 11:30 a.m......
Roads are closed off around the entire venue so it is recommended to either walk in or use the FREE metro pass provided by the race.
Great communication leading up to the event via email and social media and maps were clear and easy to understand.
The Remix Challenge was a nice addition where you complete 2 events and receive a third medal shaped like a guitar to commemorate the achievement.
Flat, family-friendly course. Well organized and great event!!

October 1st, 2015 2:36 pm

First time running this Half Marathon and here are my thoughts:
Expo - expected it to be a bit bigger but well organized
Race Kit - shirts were just blah, loved that we could personalize our bib name, thank you so much for the Metro card for race day, it helps so much
Start - OMG how many corrals. Luckily I was corral 8 but the wait was still bad on the windy bridge. I think a 8:30am start is too late for a marathon distance with so many corrals.
Course - great scenic course, I loved it BUT you need more porta pottys along the way. When I finally found one I had to wait in line
Finish - great finish with so many spectators but I did not find the buses for bag check. I was in a hurray to get back to my hotel to shower and change so I didn't walk around the whole area but it definitely was not visible from the finish line and shoot.
Medal - love it!

September 23rd, 2015 7:49 pm

Great race. My twelfth. And my FAVOURITE!

Course was scenic. Fans and Cheer Crowds were out in full force. Volunteers were great. Weather was perfect. Medal was beautiful. T-shirt was actually cute and fit me well. Expo served up corn and Oasis juice. Yum!

TIP: Train on hills and train to run 42.2K and you will be absolutely in love with this race. It has baby hills everywhere but if you trained properly, it will be a piece of cake.

BUT: It was a 40 minute wait in the wind to cross the start line. Out of 26 corrals, I think? I was in corral 14. It wasn't the wind's fault but it was a miserable wait. However, the staggered start made sense once you started the race. The race starts on the island - and she is small - so if you all charged the start line, you would certainly bottleneck ... all the way to the finish. So okay, the one thing that irked me but it does make absolute sense.

IMPROVE: One more thing they can do to improve the wait? Is to offer porta-pottys during the wait. We all had to go so bad! I think some guys peed off the bridge. We couldn't blame them.

Small slights. Ended up doing a great time even with a washroom break during the race. And I'm doing the race again next year!

Soo M
September 23rd, 2015 6:40 am

I have run a number of marathons and half-marathons over the years, including the Oasis Montreal Marathon in 2003 (before the Rock n Roll series became title name). In comparison, this race was fairly well organized. The wait times at the expo were minimal, especially given the masses of participants there to get their bib, T-shirt and metro pass. The expo itself was well attended, and a number of samples were given out - always appreciated.

Race day itself: The event is clearly focussed on the half-marathoners. The 830 start combined both events (many more HM bibs than marathon ones), and because of this, my coral left almost an hour after the original start time. With the cold, windy conditions, this was awful. Running alongside the HM-ers was difficult since they run a different strategy - the fact that the road diverged for marathoners at around kilometre 20 left me feeling demoralized to see the HM runners finish their final sprint to cheering crowds while the marathoners continued the slog through a much less scenic route.

The expo was fantastic. The beer and additional samples of yogurt, juice and snacks was appreciated.

All told, a good race experience. But recommend that the start time for marathoners be an hour earlier to avoid the congestion and delays at the start.

September 21st, 2015 3:26 pm

Impressed with the level of organisation of this run. I understand some people had issues with pre race communication from the organisers but didn't affect me. The route is excellent, (esp. half marathon route) and plenty of water stops available, excellent signage all round. Finally, great support from the locals which made all the difference!

October 16th, 2013 10:03 am

Not only was the Oasis Rock n' Roll Marathon my first full marathon, it was also my first organized running race of any kind. For this reason, I don't have any other run events against which I can evaluate it.

I had a great time at the marathon. The course was just challenging enough, mainly flat with only a few manageable inclines. Because of the weather (rain for the first 30 minutes), parts of the first 5k were wet and caused huge bottlenecks as people tried to avoid puddles/potholes. This issue resolved itself as soon as the route reached better paved roads.

The support from the water station volunteers and spectators was amazing. Spectators definitely thinned out after the turnoff to the half finish, but there were still groups of people cheering at least every km. One other reviewer commented that water stations ran out of cups - I had a 4:11 finish so perhaps this occurred later in the race. All the stations seemed stocked to me.

Several things I would like to improve:
1. Start time/pre-race organization - The race started quite late, which normally wouldn't bother me too much, but it was raining and windy as we waited in our corrals on top of the bridge, so it would have been ideal to start on time. I was in corral 16, which meant that I didn't cross the start line until after 9 a.m. It took a while to warm up after that!
2. As another reviewer indicated, it would have been nice to have thermal blankets at the finish. (Many of my family/friends commented on how blue my lips were after finishing!)
3. Probably my biggest gripe about the race - hired security at the road blocks who were smoking. I ran past at least 6 security staff smoking, which got more bothersome as I got more tired. Next time I would ask that only non-smoking security staff are hired or staff are advised that smoking is not permitted on the race course.

I won't be doing this race next year as I'll be registering for the Army Run in Ottawa (same day), but I would recommend it to friends.

September 25th, 2013 9:09 pm

This was a terrible experience. Had to pay extra to use some of the toilets. Water stations ran out of cups. No thermal blankets (it was cold, windy and we've been rained on). Because the start is packed with unorgainzed people not following their corral I ended up leaving 1 hour after the start time and they announced they were closing the start line before my corral was even called! The beginning of the race is terrible you smell garbage, avoid giant pot holes and there is nobody to cheer you on since it's in an amusement park and the F1 course. Then it's to early for people to come out to cheer in Old Port and you only have people at the end of the half or the middle/end of the full marathon. Once you finish the race, there were again no thermal blankets, organizers were poorly organized in giving out medals and there was a whole bunch of people waiting at a standstill as we all had to go through a small gate that enters the village (where they expect you to buy things) before you can leave and join any friends and family if you haven't lost them. Overall, poorly organized, poorly mapped and organizers just want to make a quick buck and don't care about the racers.

September 24th, 2013 9:54 pm

Loved the 10K and will consider racing it again. I do agree with others who suggest better management of corrals so that slower runners do not self select a quicker corral.

September 24th, 2013 5:51 pm

I've been a part of the event since 2010, either as participant (ran the 10K and the half) or to cheer on other runners.
I have to say I was very underwhelmed by the event this year. I had to opt out of the race itself due to injury but went to the expo and picked up the race packet for a friend.
The expo was smaller than last year, or at least appeared to be but other than lacking the entertainment the Brooks Bus provided last year, it was OK.
The start (where I had to meet my friend to give him his race bib) was a mess. It took me for ever to get on a subway train, then it took maybe 10 to 15 minutes to leave the station because the arrival station could not handle the flow of runners. I arrived 35 minutes late to the rendez-vous, but fortunately, he had still time to get to the corrals.
The other thing I had noticed last year, but tought it might have been my own little problem that no one shared: the complete absence of any thermal blankets. I don't know why the organisers can't give away blankets, most races have them.
I usually never use the port-a-potty at the start, but since this is my city, it bothers me to see people peeing in alleyways, on people's lawns or on the bridge. And it's not their fault. If there were enough johns (that you didn't have to pay extra to get into), they would probably use them!
I would love to love this event, but once you compare it to Ottawa and Quebec city marathons, it just doesn't cut it.
I'm not saying to stay away from this event, but expect to feel a little bit like the organisers care more about getting your $$ than giving you a great experience (the music bands are nice enough, but that's not what makes or breaks one's race experience)

September 23rd, 2013 11:50 am

This was my 3th year at Montreal Half-Marathon. I liked it and i will go next year but they have to organize it bether. This was the first year that half and full marathon stared at the same time. Not a good idea. Not enough of toilets( at all )and we started at 9:30 and not at 8:30 because of the 2 race starting at the same time. We didnt know when the race started, we were to far to hear anything. After the race it was very cold and we didnt get the termo-cover. Why?

August 20th, 2013 1:20 am

ran 5k (with my son) x2
ran full marathon in 2009.
did the rabbit for friends (as long run trainings) 3 times.
(background, I race at least 10 times a year, including 1-2 marathons.)

The 5k+10k: Bad Bad Bad.

start is a mess, No respect for corals, so fat ladies doing their first run of year tries to sneak at the front not thinking about 3000 faster runners who will overpass them. my son manage to break 19:00 but we probably lost 20-30 sec going through trafic initially. Water stations unprepared to get guys running under 4m/k. There are plenty of smaller races (endurance circuit) that are better organized.

for marathon. below average. I hate the start on the bridge; dificult access (subway station is jammed pack) then long walk, no toilets (there was a line of guys peeing down the bridge), it's windy and you are unprotected. then the race starts by going down the bridge (12% slope) which kills your quads by midcourse. During the first 10k you are visiting the back alleys of La ronde, which including lots of garbage containers. then you're running on the circuit Gilles Villeneuve, at yes, at 8AM, is long and boring. around 15k mark, you are crossing downtown, empty at 9AM. Also, the city doesnt allow the race to go on any major streets, so expect lots of turns and bad scenery. the second half is not too bad, a bit of crowd at some corners. Water stations are scared if it's hot (can vary between 12C to 26C in september). Finish is also not that great cause you are mixed up with the other 20,000 participants from the shorter races. I ended up finishing in pretty bad shape when I ran it, and it took my wife to chase organizers for 15 minutes before I could get any assistance (cramps+thermal shock). The race got bought by the R&R organization, but they haven't been too lucky dealing with the city for better conditions. so now, it's just more expensive for the same bad race. Too bad, Montreal is a beautiful city, but there are plenty of better options if you want to run a fast fall marathon in the East (toronto waterfront, philadelphia, hartford, green mountain)

September 25th, 2012 5:39 pm

I agree with Dave's comment. It came completely out of the blue when the gave the 10 second countdown 10 minutes early. What were they thinking?! Also, if they had just started the 5km at 8 instead of 8:30, they would have all been finished before the 10k'ers reached that point. Very poorly organized.

September 25th, 2012 8:11 am

My seventh marathon, fourth Montreal.
Weather from start to finish was a beautiful 10C at 8:30 am to about 15C noon, partially cloudy with big puffy white clouds. Bit of wind from the west which hit us the last 5 km, minor annoyance compared with the other things that affect runners after 37km.
Road conditions...they did patch up some areas so it was good to see an effort was made. A couple of nasty short semi-steep hills, the 'Berri street buster' and 'Old Montreal square climber'.
Start procedure was a challenge due to the tight right hand turn a short distance from the start and a bottle neck within the first half kilometer. Couple of nice downhill accelerators, brakes not required.
Water and sports drinks from start to finish.
Volunteers plentiful.
Ambulance/EMT present everywhere.
Crowds encouraging runners plentiful.
Sights along the route provide wonderful eye candy.
Finish line organization/logistics and process extremely efficient, flowed wonderfully.
Plenty of room for finishers and family members in the park.
I had only three very minor complaints:
1- Music at certain spots were very loud.
2- The tech shirt given out I found 'cheap'. A simple shirt with printing on it...the same shirts for all events. Use to be a different color scheme for each event and mufti-colored fabric used the make up of the shirt.
3- The finisher medal...bit on the 'yawn' side.
The three points mentioned took absolutely nothing away from the experience...well, except for the tech shirt.
Well done Montreal!
(Fair disclosure, I am a resident of the region and my first marathon was Montreal in 2009, so I do have a biased opinion on the positive side for this yearly event).

R Morales
September 24th, 2012 10:06 pm

I ran the full marathon and absolutely LOVED it. It was my 97th lifetime marathon and I rank it in the top 5 right up there with Paris, NYC and London. I found the course to be like a combination of the San Francisco / NYC / Paris marathon courses and found the course support to be fantastic.

I loved running down the Jacques Cartier bridge to start the race and then having the opportunity to run about a 5k portion of the race on the Grand Prix race course, loved running through Old Montreal, "The Village" and seeing other parts of Montreal during the race.

Unexpectedly, I ended up running a PR on this course, despite the headwind, as the weather was nice and cool. Although I'm sure that cool weather is not a guarantee in late September, the chances of cool weather in Montreal are certainly greater than in many other places in late September.

I liked the race expo, the tech race shirt, the medal, enjoyed the bands along the course, found crowd support to be good enough and enjoyed the post race concert. Best of all, unlike is the case at some other Rock N Roll events, the half marathoners did not merge in and out with the marathoners but rather ran the same first 12.8 miles before merging to their respective finish line while marathoners continued onward.

The only thing I would stress is that runners should be prepared for a mile long walk once they arrive on the Metro to the start and should allow extra time for this.

Sanjay Mohanta
September 24th, 2012 7:14 am

My 39th Marathon. This race was okay for a Canadian Race but there are a few things they could have done better. But first the pros:
1. The post race party was a blast! Best I have been too this year
2. T-shirt compares to an US race shirt easily
3. Expo - the Brooks caravan a nice touch. Good selection of products
4. Delta - world class treatment for only $115 a night - plus I sneaked in a free shower after the race on the fourth floor!
Not enough toilets on the course
Not enough water stations
Better identification of "sports drink"
Better trained volunteers - some of the volunteers at the race finish couldn't tell me where the subway stop was. Many also didn't know where the toilets were during the start

September 23rd, 2012 4:22 pm

I hate to write bad reviews, but the 10K at the Montreal Marathon was very disorganized. I can understand that the 5 and 10K were just side events that tag onto the main Marathon and Half-Marathon, but if they are making profits from these events, then I expect the organizers to spent some effort into organizing them.

First, the 10K started 10 minutes before the announced start time. I was caught in the middle of my pre-race warm up and had to sprint to the start line to catch the start. Second, I do not know what the organizers were thinking, but they had the 5 and 10K start at the same time, but the 5K start was in the middle of 10K course! When I passed the 5K mark, some of the 5K runners have not started yet! The police officers leading the way on their motorcycles had to break up the sea of 5K runners from behind to make the way for the leaders of the 10K. I apologize for the 5K runners that had their race disrupted, but I thought it was very disrespectful for the race organizers to do this. Third, the buses that were suppose to deliver the pre-race drop-offs from the start to the finish arrived very late. I understand that there might not have been a lot of time, but this should have been thought of beforehand.

Overall, I would not recommend running the 5 or 10K during the Montreal Marathon, but I hope the main Marathon and half-Marathon were more enjoyable.

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