The first six km, from the Lévis Convention Centre to a dedicated pedestrian/bike path, were unspectacular. Once on the bike path however, everything changed. The path cut behind some suburban housing surveys on the edge of town and gradually lead downhill to the waters edge, where it remained for the next ten km. Amazing views of the St. Lawrence river and Québec City on the other side. The Chateau Frontenac loomed large over the runners as if to say, "Take as long as you need... I'll be here whenever you get here..."
Small riverside communities dominated the next ten/eleven km. Giant stone cliffs on one side of the street and the mighty river on the other. Traditional brick French houses and small frame cottages filled in where the rock and water had not. People cheered and clanged bells from their front porches over Sunday morning coffee. It was all very festive and very relaxed. I enjoyed this stretch of the run as much as any ten km I have ever run. That's how picturesque and beautiful it was!
The "Pont de Québec" was interesting in that I crossed the one km bridge virtually alone. By now the field had spread out considerably. The temperature was becoming a factor as the race wore on. There were plenty of cold water sponges and showers along this final stretch of the race. Offerings of banana and orange were a nice treat! Not as many spectators here, but live music in the form of drums, sax and guitar are always welcome in my books.
Québec City is not very big. By the time the race entered the city limits, it was all but over. Pockets of crowds were present here and there, but it wasn't until the final km that I really felt the boost that only a large encouraging audience can inspire. As I pushed every last bit of energy out through my legs, the clapping and cheering washed over me and helped me finish much stronger than I thought I could. An awesome feeling to be sure!
This was an exceptional route. I would greatly recommend it to anyone looking to run a relaxed, low key, "small town" type of race. It was also great for planning a vacation around. We rented a condo/apartment in Levis, five minutes walk from the ferry to Québec City. It was very reasonably priced and had a fantastic view of Québec City. We stayed a full week and found Lévis to be a good fit for us. A little less hustle and bustle while retaining the charm of a very French town.