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The Quebec Mega Trail (QMT) is the largest trail running weekend anywhere in the northeast of North America, and it connects the largest two mountains in Quebec’s Laurentian range. The race started in 2012, and this year the race weekend, June 29 to July 2, has attracted record registrants—roughly 3,000 participants from 12 countries.
Though the race sits at lower elevations, the heat and humidity of the region combined with a highly technical course makes for a challenging and rewarding experience. (As of this publication, the megafires currently burning in Quebec have not affected the race, but our thoughts extend to the safety of those on the front lines.)
The 25K race is part of the Golden Trail National Series, and the 100-miler is the only race in North America officially affiliated with the rigorous 101-mile Grand Raid Réunion mountain race (also known as La Diagonale des Fous), as well as being a 2024 Western States 100 lottery qualifier.
But the weekend isn’t entirely for running; it’s also for celebration. The Quebec Mega Trail weekend includes a full lineup of live music, including electronic and bluegrass, yoga sessions, and lectures given by local experts.
Here’s all that you need to know about the 2023 Quebec Mega Ultra.
The race is located in Quebec, one of Canada’s thirteen provinces and the largest by size. The province is located in the northeastern region of the country. Its capital, Quebec City, is a cosmopolitan city of about a half million set right on the St. Lawrence river, only 100 miles north of the U.S. border with Maine.
There are 10 races from which to choose at the Quebec Mega Trail, ranging from the 100-mile race, to 110K, 80K, 50K, 25K, 21K, 15K, 10K, 6K, and a 1K kid’s run. The most popular distance is typically the 50K distance.
“With so many races and runners, a Golden Trail National Series race, and a trip to Diagonale de Fous on the line in the 100 mile, the QMT looks like it is poised to become one of the premier events east of the Rockies,” said Drew Mueller, from Leavenworth, Washington, who will be running in this year’s race.
As mentioned, both the 100-mile and 110K races are Western States 100 lottery qualifiers, while the winners of the men’s and women’s divisions receive an all-inclusive trip to race the Grand Raid Réunion on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
The point-to-point course of the 100-miler starts in Baie-Saint-Paul and runs along the St. Lawrence River before connecting with a network of trails south toward Saint-Tite-des-Caps. It eventually leads runners through Saint-Anne River Canyon and along waterfalls to climb Mont-Sainte-Anne, 2,365 feet, which presents itself as a 2,000-foot vertical climb.
100 Miles – Essential Stats:
- Elevation gain: 21,325 feet.
- Cut-off time: 40 hours.
- Course Record, Men: Sangha Sherpa, Nepal, 19:35:52 (2022)
- Course Record, Women: Kelsey Hogan, Canada, 28:18:49 (2022)
The 50K will be the largest event of the weekend, with over 500 runners. This course starts at the Mont Saint Anne Center and follows the Mestachibo Trail to the summit of Mont Sainte Anne twice before returning.
50K – Essential Stats:
- 7,545 vertical feet of gain
- Cut-off time: 12 hours
- Course Record, Men’s: Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, 5:01:49 (2022)
- Course Record, Women’s: Katherine Short, 5:40:42 (2022)
Women’s Elite Field Poised to Lower Course Records
In the 100-mile race, the female elite field will prove to be the most exciting battle. Kelsey Hogan, 28, from Newfoundland, is returning to defend her title and course record. Her main competition will be Anne Bouchard and France’s Vanessa Morales. Morales currently holds the supported FKT on Mount Kilimanjaro.
“The Quebec Mega Trail has created something truly special,” said Hogan. “The 100-mile race is a challenging and beautiful point-to-point course that takes you through the heart of the region from the mountains of Charlevoix to Mont-Sainte-Anne, with spectacular views of the St. Lawrence. The trails have a little bit of everything: stunning views, big climbs, flowy wilderness singletrack, rock-hopping (just wait for the Mestachibo section!), stream crossings, and suspension bridges. My partner and I will both be running the 100-mile event this year, and we’re excited to have a group of friends and family coming to join in the fun. The whole weekend feels like a celebration of trail running.”
“I chose the QMT because it’s home,” said Bouchard, the local Quebecer favorite. “In Quebec, we are warriors. This race is tough!”
The whole weekend feels like a celebration of trail running.
The 80K (50 miles) is expected to offer stiff competition, too, with Morgan Leroy, an FKT-hunter from British Columbia squaring up with Quebecers Mylène Sansoucy and Geneviève Asselin-Demers.
David Kilgore, 31, is an elite athlete with On Running, and he’ll be an American frontrunner for the 50K. Kilgore is from Florida but lives in New York.
“I’ve been dying to get on these incredible trails for years,” said Kilgore. “I’m so excited to see what the mountain range and trails have to offer.” Though he recently won the World Marathon Challenge, running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, this will be Kilgore’s first-ever time in Canada. “Racing abroad is one of the best opportunities to race in a new realm of competition and experience the magic of a new environment,” he said.
The 25K event is part of the Golden Trail National Series, and therefore attracts the highest density of elite sub-ultra runners, including Americans Daniel Curts, 27, from Norwich, Vermont, winner of the 2023 Mountain Running Championships in New Hampshire this April, and Jeffrey Stern, 37, from Mill Valley, California, who recently finished 7th at Chuckanut 50K and second at the Quad Dipsea.
How to Follow the 2023 Quebec Mega Trail:
- The 100-mile race starts at 8 P.M. EDT on June 30. (110K and 80K: July 1, 5 A.M. EDT; 50K, 7:30 A.M.) See the website for a complete list of start times.
- You can follow live updates here, as well as Instagram story updates.
- Trail Runner will be reporting live on the ground for QMT. Follow Instragram for updates.
- Visit the race’s official website for more.