On the weekend of Feb 8th and 9th, during the famous Quebec Winter Carnival, the inauguration of the Plains of Abraham marathons was held. A refrigerated track of 430 m was constructed on the historic site of the Plains of Abraham, overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the old city.
There was a very healthy and enthusiastic turnout for both the 25km on Saturday and the 50km on Sunday with most skaters coming from the Quebec City and Montreal regions with only three skaters from Ontario competing and a couple from the US.
Saturday’s conditions were brutal with extreme winds from the west, however the westerly direction of the track was downhill (yes, downhill, slightly) and the tail wind up the opposite side aided this slight uphill section. The ice was in perfect condition and all skating times were very good, particularly on the Sunday for the 50km with little wind (but -20 degrees C) with which to contend.
Even though placing at the bottom end of the overall skaters’ times, I did skate a personal best for the 50km with a faster pace than in the 25. My personal good times were not enough to podium in my age class in either race due to a large group of very fit and fast aging Quebecers. They sure are great outdoor enthusiasts in Quebec and take their fitness and sports very seriously.
The organizers of the event plan to hold the races annually during the winter carnival and I highly recommend attending if you are looking for a wonderful skating experience in a great historical city at a very festive time of the year. Another new marathon weekend was scheduled for the weekend of Feb 15/16 but has been cancelled due to stormy conditions.