|Finishing the 1982 Montreal International|
Marathon (46th, 2:29).
Another occasion when my running didn't match my expectations was the 1982 Montreal International Marathon, although every other aspect of the event was exciting and memorable. I wrote an article about it for the Kew Camberwell running club newsletter.
1982 MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL MARATHON - David Byrnes
As a consequence of my 2:19 in last year's Big M Marathon, I was fortunate enough to be selected in the Australian team for the Montreal International Marathon to be held on 30 May 1982. As this was my first Australian singlet, I was, of course, very pleased and determined to do well. However, my chronic achilles tendon injury caused me to avoid racing for the six weeks before the race and this lack of speed-work, in combination with some medication I was taking for the injury resulted in one of my poorest performances ever - 46th place in 2:29. It was particularly disappointing because, despite the injury, my training form was very good and I knew I was in better shape than when I ran 2:22 in the Boston Marathon some six weeks earlier.
|Looking over Montreal from Mount Royal. |
|Jacques Cartier Bridge, Montreal. |
There is practically no dividing line between professional and amateur athletes in North America now and Benji Durden (USA), who won the race in 2:13, openly admitted that he won $35,000 in cash last year in the U.S.
|Montreal Olympic Stadium. |
Because of my slow start, I don't think anyone passed me after about 10km and as the heat took its toll, my place improved rapidly - 90th at half-way, 46th at the finish - however this was no consolation at all. My team-mates performed well with the exception of Gary Henry (who joined the team from the U.S. where he had been studying) and the results were as follows:
16. Graeme Kennedy - 2:19
20. Gary Hand - 2:20
24. John Stanley – 2:21
41. Gary Henry – 2:28
46. Dave Byrnes – 2:29.
The main reason we came second in the teams race was the casualty rate in the other national teams, many of whom had insufficient finishers to count.
The race, similar to our Big M Marathon, was a mass participation event. However, to make the organisation manageable only the first 12,000 entries were accepted! The race started on the giant Jacques Cartier Bridge across the St Lawrence Seaway and ran through the suburbs out around the 1976 Olympic Village and Stadium before returning to pass through the central city area. It then proceeded out on to two islands in the Seaway, circling the Canadian Grand Prix circuit, and passing through the World Expo site to the finish. Unfortunately there was little crowd support over the last 10 kilometres (where it was most needed) in contrast to the first 30 where the route was lined with people. Although, it must be said, that unless you were recognised as a 'Quebecois' (from the province of Quebec), runner the support was somewhat muted.
The evening of the race there was a dinner and disco for the elite athletes and organisers which was enjoyed by all and then after a day to rest up, we returned to Australia - a 48 hour trip.