at the races An Insider’s Guide to the Beneva Quebec City Marathon

An Insider’s Guide to the Beneva Quebec City Marathon


Mélissa Bérubé is a runner based in Quebec City getting ready to run the Beneva Quebec City Marathon. A hero amongst her community, Bérubé is running for a very personal cause. Her endurance has become an inspiration. “I don’t consider myself an athlete,” she says, “but I have a lot of willpower and discipline and that’s how I was able to succeed in my challenges.” For Mélissa, the Beneva Quebec City marathon—her first—the event is personal, because she’s running on behalf of the Centre de prévention du suicide de Québec. She uses her training to spread an important message and motivate herself. iRun editor Ben Kaplan spoke to Mélissa about training, suicide prevention, and the Beneva Quebec City Marathon, held this year on September 29.

Ben Kaplan: Why are you running the Beneva Quebec City Marathon? 

Mélissa Bérubé: I want to do the marathon this year, the first of my life, and it has to the one in Quebec City—even though it’s a great challenge with some hills. The course I did last year on the 21.1 km was really beautiful. Quebec City is my city, after having left it for 13 years to live in Rimouski, so the race is a way to discover the city again and to take up this great challenge!

BK: I know this event is very personal for you.

MB: Yes. I am doing it to raise money for The Centre de prévention du suicide de Québec (CPSQ), a cause that is dear to me and in memory of my brother who took his life 15 years ago.

BK: It’s a really nice tribute and I know it’s a cause that needs more attention. For you, what makes Quebec City different from any other city in Canada? 

MB: Its beauty and the history that we feel—the cradle of French America. As a former historian, I believe that this is what makes its wealth.

BK: 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?

MB: At Nina pizza! Because it is the best pizza in Quebec City and their burrata is simply divine. You will also be able to visit the lower town of Quebec City with its urban wildlife and walk a bit to reach the Old Port where you can admire the beautiful St-Lawrence River. 

BK: 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?

MB: My goal is to finish my marathon—by running! I participated last year in the The Quebec City Marathon (half marathon race) and it was my first time running the race. I found the course very difficult, but that’s because I injured myself at 7K.

BK: What happened?

MB: I work in philanthropy for the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide and the week before, I participated in the Montreal Half Marathon because I was accompanying a citizen who has a degenerative disease and who decided to run the Montreal Half Marathon for the cause. Since he has difficulty walking and has a cane, we had to walk the half, but he was walking so fast that I had to run slightly to keep up with him. As a result, I pushed too hard and had to walk most of my half marathon. I plan to prepare really well to do my full marathon and do well. As I do for suicide prevention, I really want to reach my goal. 

BK: That’s so cool. We’re wishing you all the very best. Lastly, can you describe the running culture in Quebec City? Do you shop at a store that you think out-of-town runners should visit? 

MB: People in Quebec City love to run, even our mayor runs! This sport is really popular here just as everywhere and I believe that there is no judgment between the different runners. We greet each other when we meet!

BK: And if we need to buy shoes?

MB: I would recommend the Boutique du Lac in Lac-Beauport for the excellent service we receive, among others by Christian, the owner, there is a good choice for everything related to running.

BK: We certainly wish you luck on your journey and thank you for your time.

MB: After my brother’s suicide, sports became a big part of my life and helped me get through my grief. I sincerely believe that sport can help us heal ourselves and maintain good mental health. I want to welcome all runners to the Beneva Quebec City Marathon.