Montreal Endurance: now in club form!

Montreal Endurance is very excited to announce that we are now an affiliated FQA Athletics Club. The Montreal Endurance Group (MTLE in the results) is an endurance training and racing collective that joins athletes from distance running, swimming, cycling and skiing in our common purpose: to progress in our training, to improve our performances, and to achieve our potential.

The Group comes from a fusion of several interests. The Concordia University cross country program needed a venue to continue training year-round. Since the university does not support an indoor track program, and since even that would leave the summer months uncovered, we decided to form a club. In the past we had partnered with Fleur-de-Lys, another Montreal track club, but with the growth of our group, and the limits imposed on training times and locations, we decided to go our own way. We consider FDL a part of our lineage, though, and look forward to continued collaboration with them.

Joining us are athletes from Karma Triathlon, a small, but elite crew of some of Quebec’s best tri-sport endurance competitors, coached by Kyla Rollinson. Kyla’s crew are some of the best young kids I’ve ever worked with. The first day they joined us for a workout, after the intervals were finished, Alizée, Amélie and Mag came up to me and shook my hand and thanked me for the workout! No athlete had ever done that before. I certainly don’t expect it, but this is just to say that the politeness and professionalism of that group was clear from the start.

The XC ski portion of our group is nascent for now. Look for James Coulton (Concordia) and Jay Boychuk (McGill) on the racing circuit this winter, and perhaps Jennie Mae Roy, who skied for Nova Scotia at the Canada Games. Sarah Bergeron-Larouche will focus on running this year, but when the snow hits, she will make use of her ski roots, and some others have been enticed as well. Eventually, we’d like to be able to offer club and coaching services in this area, but for now, our official involvement is as a training opportunity.

What we envision for this club is something big. Big in terms of size, but also in terms of impact. With regards to size, have a look at this presentation by Rova Rabemananjara from the Cirrus club in Gatineau. He takes a look at the numbers of registered athletes by province, and compares them to the number of national team athletes in each province. The link is direct: high participation numbers are key. This is something I’ve seen since my earliest days in the sport. My high school team, the St. Michael’s College Blue Harriers, built a winning tradition on volume. The team has won their Toronto high school cross country conference team title every year since 1974. That’s not a typo. We did it with numbers. Sure, only 4 score, but when you have 75 kids on the team, your top four are going to be good. Some years, our B, C and even D teams would follow the top squad ahead of any other school’s scorers.

Right now Montreal Endurance has between 20 and 30 runners out at each practice, with 5k PBs ranging from Ryan Noel-Hodge’s 14:46 on the track last summer, to some of the newer university women who are probably in the 22-23min range on the road. We plan to grow. Everyone works out together, and that is the basis for our success. While we’ve only just begun as a club, as a training group we’ve been around for a few years. Last year we had 47 PBs over 17 athletes. This year, my goal as a coach is to see 100 PBs for our club.

You may have noticed our hot new logo. I’d like to talk about it, because it was not created without some thought. There are a few important aspects to it, that can help you understand what our club is all about.

The first and most obvious image is the train. We wanted an iconic image, something like the FTC orange, or the OTC tree, something that represented both our group and the city of Montreal, where we do our thing. The cross or the mountain were too loaded, too vague, or already used. What is the underpinning of our city? The metro. Beneath the streets, the metro rolls. Montreal Endurance rolls above the streets, on the mountain, on the sidewalk, in the trails. The train gets people where they want to go. Montreal Endurance gets athletes to their goals. The train carries many passengers and whether you are up front or in the caboose, we are all on the same track. Just like Montreal Endurance.

In addition to the rolling steel and thunder, there are the wings. I mentioned my high school team before. These wings are reminiscent of the Winged M of St. Michael’s. It’s important to recognize the past, and it’s influence on the present and on the future. For me, the Winged M is seminal. Also, I think it is clear that a flying train is more amazing than a regular train.

The next point is a little more subtle, but I think it’s important. The compass points at the top and bottom of the circle represent, for me, the universality of the club. We are not an Anglophone club, nor a Francophone club. We are an Endurance Group. Sport, while it has it’s own language, is free from language. The language that you speak has no bearing on your ability to run, bike, swim or ski fast, or to coach people or to treat people. Bien sur qu’en vivant à Montréal, on parle et comprends le français. Tout le monde est bienvenu chez Montréal Endurance!

Lastly, I want to thank Miriam Fortier for designing the logo. I pestered her with vague instructions about what I wanted, and, like the perfect companion she is, she read my mind and delivered. The contributions from the group as we emailed different possibilities back and forth were invaluable as well. The logo is also an emblem of, if it is not too over-the-top to say so, our humanity. We are not just athletes: we have skills and talents in many areas and we can enrich each other in many ways by being together. That’s another reason why we love the big group.

For details on where and when we meet, see the about page.

So that’s it. Here we are. Join us. Get on the train.