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Québec City at its Best

10 Running Events to Challenge and Reward you

Credit: Charles Boutin

It’s time to start planning your race calendar, so why not book a fun and rewarding trip to the Québec City area? Running just keeps on gaining in popularity and races are popping up all over the place. With its scenic courses, tough hills, and vistas of the majestic St. Lawrence River, the Québec City area is a great racing destination for casual runners and seasoned athletes alike. These 10 one-of-a-kind races are not to be missed!

1 Trail du Coureur des Bois

End of May
Type of race: trail
Distances: 1.5 km, 8 km, and 18 km

For the fifth consecutive year, some 1,000 runners and walkers will take to the woods at Station Touristique Duchesnay to experience Trail du Coureur des Bois. This lovely 18 km route runs along cross country ski trails. Trail races always take longer and a pair of running shoes with excellent support is a must for this type of event. Some downhill portions of the route are quite steep.

2 Descente Royale

Begining of June
Type of race: road
Distances : 2 km, 5 km, and 10 km

Descente Royale is a perfect race for beginners—95% of the route is downhill. The fast-paced 10 km route follows one of the oldest road in North America and features superb views of the St. Lawrence River, making it a real crowd pleaser. The downhill course means novice runners can participate with ease.

3 Défi Escaliers

Mid-June
Type of race: road & stairs

Distances: 2 km, 8 km, 13 km, and 19 km

Défi Escaliers (stairs challenge) is no doubt one of Québec City’s most difficult races—runners alternate between climbing and descending some thirty of the most beautiful staircases in Québec City. Participants opting for the ultimate 19 km challenge face more than 3000 stairs. It’s an intense race that takes runners on a beautiful route through Québec City’s Upper and Lower Towns, with gorgeous views of the Old Port, Château Frontenac, Old Québec, the Plains of Abraham, and Bois-de-Coulonge park. 

4 Québec Mega Trail

Begining of July
Type of race: trail
Distances: 1 km to 100 km

One of the most beautiful—and challenging—trail events in the world, Québec Mega Trail crosses Le Massif de Charlevoix, the headlands overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the cliffs along the banks of the Sainte-Anne River, and Mont-Sainte-Anne. Yes, all in the same race! Québec Mega Trail (QMT) draws seasoned runners with its thrilling long distance routes, but also has shorter routes for beginners. Just imagine the incredible St. Lawrence River vistas from the top of the mountains! Runners come from far and wide to participate.

5 MégaRelais Madame Labriski

Mid-September
Type of race: road
Distance: 287 km per relay team

This mega relay is a great way to discover some of the Québec City area’s most stunning mountain vistas and rural landscapes. The relay course starts at Mont-Sainte-Anne and winds its way through Lac-Beauport, Lac-Delage, Stoneham, and the Jacques-Cartier and Portneuf regions, ending at Domaine Cataraqui in Québec City. Covering 287 km in 24 hours, this round-the-clock race is a real team effort.

6 Marathon SSQ

Mid-October
Type of race: road

Distances: 5 km, 10 km, 21.1 km, and 42.2 km

The SSQ Marathon follows an urban route brimming with history and new discoveries. The postcard-perfect course along some of Québec City’s most storied streets welcomes thousands of runners and walkers every year. The new route runs through the old city and the Montcalm, Limoilou, Saint-Roch, and Sillery neighbourhoods. Participants can admire Québec City’s most enduring landmarks while enjoying their favourite sport.

7 Trail du Grand-duc

End of October
Type of race: trail
Distances: 1.5 km, 5 km, 10 km, 25 km, and 47 km

Trail du Grand-duc offers a genuine forest running experience on new trails in Lac-Delage and Stoneham. For the very first time this year, a 47 km course will include a segment in in idyllic Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier. Special offers are available for group registration.

8 Raquettes d'Abraham

January
Type of race: winter trail

Distance: 6 km

Running on snow? Anyone can—with snowshoes! In the heart of Québec City, the scenic and historic Plains of Abraham is the venue for a 6 km race on a wide trail during the Raquettes d’Abraham event. Snowshoe racing is more demanding than running, so it’s a good idea to get some training in before you hit the starting line! It’s harder than it looks!

9 Trail de nuit de Stoneham

January
Type of race: winter trail at night

Distance: 3 km loop

Racing on a winter’s night with a headlamp? It’s an unconventional but fun way to enjoy your favourite sport. The idea behind Trail de nuit de Stoneham is to do as many loops as you can in one hour. Competitors can choose between skimo, snowshoeing, or running. The route is suitable for everyone and the 4 Foyers bar at Stoneham Mountain Resort is the perfect place to wind down after the race.

10 Skimo Challenge Mont-Sainte-Anne

March
Type of race: winter trail
Distances: 6 km and 17 km

Set against the stunning backdrop of Mont-Sainte-Anne and boasting an unobstructed view of the St. Lawrence River and Île d’Orléans, the Mont-Sainte-Anne Skimo Challenge is a ski mountaineering race up and down several of the ski area’s trails. Each of the two courses involves several ascents and descents. Fair warning: this is a peak-intensity event! Skimo, snowshoeing, or running, it’s up to you.

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