Sunday, September 22, 2013

Montreal Marathon

Ahh, reportage sketching - my favorite...

I really wanted to see the marathon, so the rain couldn't stop me, the wind couldn't stop me, even the prospect of spending my Sunday in a company of about hundred thousand strangers couldn't stop me. And you know how I love crowds. I don't.

So, at 9 AM I was already getting wet at the strategically chosen front steps of an old house at the bend of Rue de la Commune. There were a few of us, waiting for the runners to show up right at the moment when they get down from the bridge.  People were trying to figure out how to keep up with the runners on their way across the city: should we go to Maisonneuve next and meet them there, or go straight to park Lafontaine and wait at the finish line?

And I was trying to figure out what pen I could use in this drizzle? I quickly discovered that my water-resistant markers don't want to work on wet paper, while my ink pens work fine on wet, but smudges like crazy. Meanwhile, that 40% POP that was promised, were getting down on us with all 100% and some.

And then there were motorcycled cops coming and the leader of the marathon running from behind the street bend. Could it be David Savard-Gagnon? I honestly can't remember. But he was good 2 hundred meters ahead of the next two guys.

There was a few more leaders, and then the main group started to roll in. And it was infinite. 32000 people, as I read, took part in the race. I was just walking down the street, following the runners, trying to put on paper as much as I could. People cheering on two languages, runner tying up his lases, guys in rain ponchos at the refreshment tables, distributing energy drink (fluorescent orange liquid, that smelled like lemonade on acid), water and bananas' halves, and that fearless girl with a broom who were jumping in front of the runners and sweeping empty cups and banana peels away from under their feet.

The weather was very smudgy. I think it was perfect for running long distance race:  +13C, overcast and drizzle. Brrrrr - perfect!

Looking for the next best sketching spot, I went up rue St Denis and met the runners at the corner of Maisonneuve and Berri. I had a few peaseful minutes in front of the Grand Biblioteque, on a road separator, before the security figured out that I am not affiliated to any newspaper and energetically shooed me away.

Finally, I found a perfect spot right above the Sherbrook overpass, where I could stand for 20 min undisturbed and sketch the runners, who were running up the hill at this stretch of the road ad conviniently slowing down. Gotcha!

At this point runners started deserting en messe. People in royal-blue tee-shirts, carrying little goody bags and numbers,  filled the streets and spilled into a metro. I decided that it was time and went home: to dry my sketchbook and have a little snack. All this looking at other people running really tired me out.


  1. This is, as the artists take notes during Judgments, see?. I love them, are very illustrative!

  2. Очень интересный репортаж и замечательные иллюстрации к нему! Как-то и мне посчастливилось порисовать на Алтае под начинающимся дождиком - очень яркое впечатление от капель на бумаге и разбитых линий:-)