Home > Runs & Races

Quebec City Marathon offers scenic city tour and hope for a Boston Qualifier

Quebec's provincial capital hosts a number of scenic and historic races. For some, the marathon also offers a last chance to qualify for Boston

quebec city marathon ssq

August isn’t exactly race season in most parts of Canada but if the marathon legs are ready to go, why not? 

There are courses to test the fitness ahead of the fall road running season. One-such race is the Quebec City Marathon. Catch yourself up on the details of this 42.2K route in the French-Canadian capital. This signature late summer races takes place in one of its province’s most historic and picturesque areas. And in 2017, the event is celebrating its 20th year running.

RELATED: World snowshoe champion runs Quebec’s fastest marathon in 15 years 

For most, Marathon SSQ offers an incredibly scenic and well-supported event featuring a course that showcases the beauty and history of Quebec’s capital city. Sign up for the race and that’s what you can expect. For a select few though, it also provides a final opportunity to chase that elusive BQ and qualify for the Boston Marathon (for which registration opens in early September). A last-minute Boston qualifier that also happens to be located in a Canadian hub steeped in culture – that’s a double win. 


In addition to the marathon, the event offers a popular half-marathon and 10K on Sunday morning. A 5K and kid’s run are scheduled on Saturday afternoon and the ‘SSQ Star Race’ is a unique untimed fun run on Friday evening. So if family or friends are keen on joining to cheer you on, they too can partake in something that maybe doesn’t require the prior training commitment of the marathon. All together, the event sees some 8,000 participants take part in the races.

Marathon SSQ course map

To get a sense of the route before race day, the marathon course begins in the neighbouring City of Lévis on the south side of the Saint Lawrence River. Participants then make their way to and then along the shores of the mighty river where they’ll be able to spot Quebec City on the other side. The first 27K run on the south side of the Saint Lawrence before crossing the Pont de Québec/Quebec Bridge into Quebec City proper. The final 12K continue along the riverside to the finish near Gare du Palais in historic Old Quebec.

The first half of the course offers a net downhill giving those seeking a PB or BQ some added assistance. However, to cross into Quebec City, they must gradually ascend to and eventually cross the bridge (between 23 and 30K). Prep yourself because this is quite a formidable challenge so late in the race.

After the races, participants enjoy a variety of refreshments, recovery stations and entertainment making for a complete and entirely memorable experience. From there they are free to explore all the city has to offer at a most enjoyable time of the year.