Pierre Lavoie and Kellyanne Lahaie
With its focus on youth this year, the Ultra-Trail® Harricana du Canada (UTHC) is proud to count on its honorary president, the well-known triathlete Pierre Lavoie, to get young people and families motivated.
His valiant partner in the job is Kellyanne Lahaie, a 16-year-old runner from Baie-Saint-Paul who has won Charlevoix’s heart and admiration for her performances in running and steeplechase.
The co-presidents are thrilled with the theme chosen for the 2018 UTHC. For them, it highlights the importance of fighting sedentariness to make sure our young people are healthy, and that can only be achieved through physical activity.
The importance of democratizing the sport
The co-founder of the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie cycling tour wants to see thousands of kids up and moving. In his opinion, we can only get there by shifting away from exclusion-based competition. “It’s not the medals that get people moving. It’s the sense of inclusion and democratization that comes from practicing a sport. Kids should be doing several sports for fun, with friends. No medals, no competition. Just have fun and develop your motor skills,” he advises. “Basically, children want to move. It’s natural, and it's part of their lives,” says Lavoie.
“But the tragedy of the situation is their environment. What are kids surrounded by? All too often it’s sterile classrooms and unsafe neighbourhoods for playing,” claims Lavoie, an athlete known for his involvement in encouraging healthy living and fighting overlooked diseases.
He also is convinced that it’s important to create as many opportunities for kids to move as possible, like the Ultra-Trail Harricana events where young people participate mainly to have fun. “It’s important to run to keep our bodies healthy, and the best place to run is in the forest,” Lavoie believes.
"the best place to run is in the forest” - Pierre Lavoie
An environment encouraging to move
Young Charlevoix runner Kellyanne Lahaie is a good example of the impact sports can have in a young person’s life. “Our school has great equipment and my parents do a lot for me. We have a running club at school and there’s a new program (Filles actives) to encourage girls to be more active. It’s really made a difference! At noon during the week, we all play sports with friends,” explains the young runner, whose mother—a gym teacher—encouraged her to run 1-kilometer kids’ races throughout the region when she was younger.
“What I love about running is that it’s just for you. We try to push ourselves, but it’s really about bettering ourselves, not about beating others,” concludes the teen, who rose in the ranks at the last national athletics championships.
Our honorary co-presidents are excellent role models. They just want to get everyone moving, running the trails and inspiring young people to get in the act. They invite all young people and families in Charlevoix, Quebec and beyond to come run at the Ultra-Trail Harricana this year, where they will be celebrated in many different ways.