The Quebec Running Events Corporation, or Je Cours Qc, has been forced to cancel the 2020 edition of the SSQ Insurance Quebec City Marathon. Like the rest of the country, Quebec has seen a flattening of the COVID-19 curve in the last couple of months, but the public health risks are still too high, and organizers decided they couldn’t go ahead with their event as planned, which was set to take place on October 2 to 4. The decision comes just days after the Chicago and Toronto Waterfront marathons, both of which were also scheduled for October race dates, were cancelled.
Quebec City Marathon weekend
The Quebec City race weekend features five events: a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, the full SSQ Insurance Marathon and a 2K race for kids. In 2019, the city saw around 7,000 people participating across these five events. Je Cours Qc came to the conclusion that, with COVID-19 still prevalent in Quebec and the rest of Canada, they couldn’t run a safe event with thousands of runners (plus spectators and volunteers) on and around the course. In a press release announcing the event’s cancellation, race organizers touched on the reasoning behind their decision.
“We pulled out all the stops to ensure this event would have been as safe as can be,” said Marianne Pelchat, executive event producer for Je Cours Qc, “but the situation was ultimately out of our hands and the time had come to make a decision in the best interests of everyone’s health and safety.” Pelchat went on to say the Je Cours Qc team has been “working tirelessly over the last four months” to find a way to safely run their race, but seeing as gatherings of just a few hundred people are still questionable, hosting an event with thousands would have been “too significant [of] a risk on various levels.”
Officials wrote that “Je Cours Qc takes the health and safety of all entrants, companions, volunteers, staff and members of the public very seriously.”
Options for participants
The press release says all runners already registered for the marathon weekend events will receive an email with more information regarding refunds. There will also be a virtual event to replace the 2020 runs, but the organizing team is in the process of “fine-tuning the details.”
“We want to deliver on our commitment to get people moving and put smiles on their faces,” Pelchat said. “We don’t have to give up on that promise just because we’ve been forced to cancel the final event on this year’s calendar. Hosting a virtual race is our way of paving the way for the 2021 season, because we’re already thinking ahead and hoping to bring runners our usual chock-full calendar of events.”