Last week I used CAFE Time to run a marathon which the organizers hope will generate increased public awareness about the few remaining major rivers in Quebec that have not been dammed for hydro-power. CAFÉ Time enables GMCR employees to do up to 52 hours per year of volunteer time with pay. My run was one of 50 linked marathons that will cover over 1,000 miles – with generally one runner per link.
The course started near St. James Bay on September 9th, in northern Quebec with Cree Indian runners who carried a baton that contained a letter from the Cree Nation that speaks eloquently about the immense value of open rivers to the people of the First Nation. The marathon will continue on to Montreal, Quebec City, and end at the headwaters of the Romaine River on October 18th, a river that is in the process of being dammed. Public meetings are being held in the major towns along the marathon route to help generate support for keeping the remaining major rivers in Quebec running free. While I had always considered hydro-power as “green,” I quickly learned that this shade of “green” comes with a price. Please visit: http://www.allianceromaine.org and http://www.hydroquebec.com for more information.
Early Friday morning I was picked up in Ottawa, Ontario by three volunteers in a Honda Civic working for a non-profit organization known as Alliance Romaine, which organized this chain of 50 marathons. We crossed the Ottawa River to Gatineau, Quebec, and drove 42.2 Kilometers (26.2 miles) north on Route 105/5 quickly leaving suburbia behind, and entering a land of beautiful rivers, foliage, and huge hills.
The morning was clear, in the 40’s, with little wind. In short, it was a perfect morning to run. I carried the letter-bearing baton in my left hand and started out. It was a real privilege to run this beautiful route, as hilly as it was. The support team followed closely behind me, and every half hour or so, pulled alongside me to offer Gatorade. In about 3 ½ hours we were back in Gatineau, where I navigated traffic lights, dogs, and construction, finishing about 20 minutes later.
I was fortunate to have such a beautiful day and wonderful support team to make this run memorable. Hopefully my run helped advance the public discussion about keeping the remaining rivers running free.
Here is a stunning aero view of the Romaine River: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6zfb3koTOQ