Quebec City marathon to take place in October instead of August next year

Athletes participating in the annual Quebec City marathon will be running a different course in October 2018.

Heat and tourist capacity among reasons for change, organizers say

Runners taking part in the Quebec City marathon will depart from the Convention Centre and finish on Grande Allée. (Submitted by Je Cours Qc)

The annual Quebec City marathon, the SSQ de Québec, will now take place from Oct. 12 to 14, instead of the usual weekend in August.

Event organizer Gestev said that while climate and weather was a factor in the change, planning around Quebec City's other summer activities also factored in.

"We really did consider all the aspects, the security of athletes and the experience of the athletes,"  said Chantal Lachance, vice-president of marketing and operations with Gestev.

Lachance said organizers often faced hard decisions based on the weather forecasts in late August.

"When you reach over 25 C, the security of the athletes is compromised."
The new course for the Quebec City marathon will be unveiled in the coming weeks. (Submitted by Je Cours Qc)

She maintained however, that the change was not linked to the death of a 30-year-old runner during last year's half marathon.

"This death was not related to the heat. It was perfect weather for the marathon," said Lachance.

Difficult year for event organizers

Maxime Pouliot Rochefort collapsed during the 2016 half-marathon when he was just two kilometres from the finish line.

His death came a week after a 42-year-old doctor from the Laurentians died during the Ironman competition in Mont-Tremblant.

In September, organizers of the Rock 'n' Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon cancelled their event for the first time in 27 years.

They said at the time that unseasonably warm temperatures were potentially dangerous for runners, reaching up to 28 C with high humidity.

Making of a 'postcard marathon'

Before making the move, Gestev said it consulted with tourism groups, city planners, hotel associations and athletes.

Since August is already peak tourist season in Quebec City, Lachance said they felt the marathon would be more of a draw if it was held in October.

"We want to be a postcard marathon. Quebec City is so beautiful. And to hold the marathon during one of the most beautiful weekends of the year, I think it's a winning situation."
The Défi Escaliers Québec takes runners up and down Quebec City's many staircases over courses of 2, 8, 13 and 19 kilometres. (Submitted by Je Cours Qc)

This is the second major change organizers have announced this year.

Renowned for its picturesque route along the two shores of the St. Lawrence River in Lévis and Quebec City, next year's marathon will be limited to within city limits.

Lachance said athletes often commented that the logistics of starting in Lévis and finishing in Quebec City were not ideal.  

"Athletes were telling us that it would be so nice to start at point A and finish at point A, to put my bag somewhere and have it there at the finish without the transportation."

Several events leading up to the main race will take place over the course of the summer, including the Oasis half-marathon in Lévis on May 6.

Registration for the events will begin on Nov. 20.