The Rancourt family of eight brothers will once again be present at the SSQ Quebec City Marathon, A Healthy Invitation from Brunet this weekend. It will be the fifth time they are running it as a family, though one brother was only able to train for the half-marathon. (They have two sisters also, one of whom, Sylvie, is also a runner, though she will not join them this weekend.)
Benoît Rancourt, at 68 the oldest brother, gave us a brief history of the Rancourt family’s running exploits. The family grew up in Abitibi, in northwestern Quebec, near the Ontario border. “We started running in 1982, when three of us ran the Rouyn-Noranda marathon in Abitibi… By 1990, six of us had run at least one marathon. In the early 2000s, my brother Bernard and I started running at least one marathon per year… In 2015 eight of us brothers and one sister ran the SSQ Quebec City Marathon. In 2019 six of the brothers will be on the start line at the Boston Marathon.”
Benoît has run the full marathon in Quebec City every year since inception 20 years ago, in 1998, and he’s run the Boston Marathon 13 times.
Benoît admits it’s rare to find so many runners in the same family, who frequently run races together. Though he is now retired from his job in the mining sector, most of his siblings are still working in the forestry industry in Abitibi, and cannot always manage to get together for races.
Benoît is doing a lot of running in his retirement. Last Sunday he ran the Rimouski marathon, finishing in 4:03. His goal for Quebec City, with only two weeks’ recovery, is between 4:00 and 4:30. On Oct. 21 he will run yet another marathon, at Le Petit Train du Nord in St. Jerome, a Boston qualifier that claims to be the fastest course in North America. But that is not an issue for Benoît, since he and five of his brothers are already qualified and registered for Boston 2019.