(Courtesy Brandon Bonspiel)
Brandon Bonspiel began the Marathon Oasis de Montreal half marathon this Sunday with a rough start, as the race was delayed 50 minutes. But, with determination and high spirits, Bonspiel finished at 2,464 out of over 9,580 people, which was, “Pretty good considering it was my first ever,” said Bonspiel.
The Montreal marathon is run annually, and is the largest in Quebec. The marathon has been taking place since 1979, but stopped in the 1990s, only to return in 2004. The only other time the race was cancelled was in 2017 due to hot weather.
This year the half marathon, 21.1 kilometres, had over 11,718 participants, with an average time of two hours and 13 minutes. The full marathon, 42.1 kilometres, had over 2,556 participants – ac- cording to SportsStats.com.
“As a runner, you prepare your- self to begin the race at a specific time,” said Bonspiel, who is from Kanesatake, adding everything from nutrition to the warm up is calculated so when the race starts, he’s ready to go.
But, because of the race’s delayed start from 7:10 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., almost an hour of over 11,718 people waiting at the starting line, the calculations and momentum of Bonspiel and the other racers were thrown off.
The delay was due to a lack of staff and volunteers to supervise the route, Dominic Piché, director of the marathon, said.
Starting the race without an adequate amount of staff along the route was not an option for organizers.
Sadly, a 24-year-old man collapsed and died during the same race.
Even with the delay, Bonspiel had back luck as his headphones failed, leaving him without music and a way to track his distance and time.
The rookie racer still kept positive, overcoming the nervousness of his debut, and finishing the half marathon in an hour and 56 minutes, averaging five minutes and three seconds per kilometre.
He has already set his sights on his next marathon, the Oka half marathon on November 3. Next year Bonspiel aims to do full marathons, then move up to triathlons, a multisport race, and ultra-marathons, which can cover a minimum of 50 kilometres.
As an ex-competitive hockey player, Bonspiel has been looking for a new challenge. He decided to try out marathons because he was a good runner in high school and has now found himself “addicted to the idea of torturing myself during these long runs,” said Bonspiel.
“Honestly, I like the idea of testing myself,” he said, “Figuring out where I can push myself beyond my limits.”