Cheeks reddened by the April wind or by exertion. Or perhaps, by both. When it comes to the mini-marathon, some things don’t change at the Défi sportif AlterGo.

On Friday, at the 40th edition of the annual event, more than 1,000 participants took off from the starting line at Jarry Park. And each of them crossed the finish line with new special memories.

Thirteen-year-old Emy Poirier, athletic ambassador for the 2023 event, gave it her all at her eighth Défi sportif AlterGo. “It was amazing! I’m a bit tired from the marathon, but I have to admit, I sprinted at the end!”

The mini-marathon was born in 2014, at the 31st Défi sportif AlterGo. Mini-marathon participants race distances of 500 metres, 1 km or 3 km in wheelchairs, tricycles or adapted bikes. It’s not a marathon in the traditional sense of the term, but the schoolchildren who participate are all real athletes!

The mini-marathon was created to allow a larger number of young people to take part in the Défi sportif AlterGo. The event was added to the track and field events that were already being held for elementary and high school athletes. The initiative was a success, with 650 students participating in the inaugural event, setting the stage for its return the following year.

The spring of 2015 saw a successful second edition of the mini-marathon, with nearly 1,000 athletes participating in the various challenges! Never one to sit on its laurels, AlterGo went even further by organizing a 1 km walk, with the aim of encouraging even more young people to participate by introducing them to running!

At the 34th Défi sportif in 2017, the number of participants rose to 1,700. While that number remained relatively steady in 2018 and 2019, the 2020 version was strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Défi sportif AlterGo went virtual. Unfortunately, the mini-marathon did not take place that year.

In 2021, a hybrid version was introduced. That year, the mini-marathon was held at numerous different schools, for a total of eighteen mini-marathons. A group of fifteen volunteers helped organize and run the events.

In 2022, for the first time in its history, AlterGo held individual sports competitions in 26 different schools throughout the month of April. A total of 2,102 participants were registered at the school level, competing in athletics, the obstacle course or the mini-marathon.

The year 2023 marks a comeback: The 40th anniversary celebrations of the Défi sportif AlterGo coincide with the return of more than 1,000 athletes to the in-person event!

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