Geneviève Cantin had a terrible accident and last year, with a new titanium hip, she had to cheer at the Beneva Quebec City Marathon. “I was training for ultra marathons and then, last May 18th, a car hit me while I was crossing the street while training. I almost died,” she says, and suffered a hip fracture, femur, concussion and broken ribs. She had to learn to walk again, but recently, she has returned to running. “With a titanium leg and hip, running is not like before, and I’ve been involved in a lot of races last summer on crutches.” What has she learned from the experience? “I want to pass on my passion for running and show that it is the most accessible and exhilarating sport there is.”
Now, thanks to rigorous training, grit and determination, Cantin is excited about participating in the half marathon event at her hometown. Pictured above is Cantin during her first continuous run at a distance of 13K. Tough, talented and determined, Genevieve Cantin exemplifies the spirit of the Beneva Quebec City Marathon. Here she talks to iRun editor Ben Kaplan about her hometown running scene, tasty Asian food and why Calgary and Toronto both have their charms, but Quebec City is the best place to race.
Why are you running the Beneva Quebec City Marathon?
It’s simple, because it’s my city—it’s the city where I’ve been living for many years and it’s fantastic! It’s modern, but at the same time, it has patrimonial character with the Old Quebec. Also, the energy of the event and the wonderful people in the organization! Last year I couldn’t run it because of my accident but I encouraged the runners by following them on my bike on most of the course! It’s a really beautiful course and this year, I aspire to be able to do it.
What makes Quebec City different from any other city in Canada?
Well, every city has its charm. I haven’t traveled much across Canada. I have visited Toronto and Calgary which have their own charm, but I would say Quebec has something that moves me—its greenery and the river. Being a girl who loves nature (I run a lot in trail), Quebec has this characteristic of not having to drive an hour to be in a wooded area or simply in nature. It’s like an in-between the big urban centres and the countryside. I love it!
Where would you advise an out-of-towner to get a fabulous French meal and see an unbelievable site in your city—what do you recommend?
For a runner who wants to run in a beautiful place I can propose all kinds of routes depending on their interest. I will propose the linear path of the St-Charles River that I find fabulous when I need to be in nature, the old Quebec to see all the old architectural charm, the plains—which are majestic with magnificent views on the river—and finally, the Champlain Boulevard bicycle path that runs along the river also is great! As for a meal, I’m not much of a restaurant person, but I like the Bâton rouge or for a tasty local restaurant near my home with an Asian flavour at a very good price, I’ll suggest the Vietnam Express on 1st avenue.
What’s your personal goal for race day and can you describe the course at all? Have you run the event before; if so, what was it like, if not, what are you expecting?
Just to be able to finish it and have my leg and my bionic hip work together all the way without giving me too much pain! I am training accordingly, but I have to listen to my new reality (an accident last summer that violently fractured my right hip and femur which are now made of titanium!)
Wow, you sure are tough and we wish you all the luck. Last question: can you describe the running culture in Quebec City? Do you run with a group or shop at a store that you think out-of-town runners should visit?
People like to run a lot I think in Quebec. The thing is, I’m a big loner when I run. Running clubs are all over the place, but I don’t really belong to them. During the pandemic I discovered and met people who run trail around Quebec and it’s awesome. I also met through Facebook groups other crinkles of the race with whom I could organize unofficial challenges and very pleasant outings. The stores I recommend in Quebec City for running are Le Coureur nordique on René-Lévesque Boulevard with a great service and La boutique du Lac in Lac-Beauport. But really all of Quebec City is very welcoming to runners. See you all September 29 at the Beneva Quebec City Marathon.