Passing on the passion for running
Benjamin is categorical: “You have to ignite the flame in children from a very young age”. Olympic flame? “No way! I am not an elite athlete developer. My mission: to give young people a taste for sports so that they develop healthy lifestyle choices later on.”
A physical education teacher at Collège Beaubois, Benjamin created an athletics club for elementary and high school students. “It’s not part of a sport-study program, it’s an extracurricular activity. The pandemic put us on hiatus for 18 months, not easy for our youth.”
Benjamin is not yet thirty years old, but he notes a clear difference between the reality he experienced as a child and what the kids at his school experience.
“Yes, we played video games, but for short periods of time, then we would go out and play with friends. Today, there is more screen entertainment, and young people are more glued to the screen than the generation before them. Another sad fact is that young people have gained weight. The pandemic hasn’t helped.”
Hence the importance of promptly encouraging them to engage in physical activities, at their own pace, without rushing them. “I think of one of my students who, in physical education class, kept saying that he was no good, that he wasn’t good at sports. This is where my role as “motivator” comes in. The youngster finally joined the track and field club, he gradually progressed, but above all he got a taste for physical activity. He started by running 1 km, then gradually increased the distances. He has since left the College, is finishing high school at another institution, and has remained active, which makes me extremely happy.”
Is Benjamin the sole architect of this success? “Of course not. I can’t do it without the help of the parents. The child must also move outside the school environment, and this is where parents must take over. This student’s parents have also contributed, they have integrated physical activities into their daily lives. This is what Pierre Lavoie has been advocating for many years, and it works.”
In addition to his teaching and coaching career, Benjamin is also an elite runner. A sport lover since childhood, he played soccer and did figure skating, among other things. However, track and field won his heart. For a long time, he was a track athlete and ran his first marathon at the age of 28.
His track record is striking. For those who like statistics, the numbers are impressive. Here are some of them:
Trials of Miles Project 13.1 (New York, 2021): 1 hr 05 min 16 s (half marathon)
Fast is Fun Marathon (Waterloo, Ontario, 2020): 2:24:34 (first marathon ever)
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 2021: 2:21:06 (marathon)
Montréal Marathon 2019: 1 h 11 min 07 s (half marathon, 2nd place)
800 meters: 1:51.99
1500 meters: 3:49.31
5000 meters: 14:23.38
10,000 meters: 30:12.87
His plans for the Marathon Beneva in Montreal? “Not this year unfortunately.” Benjamin has a full schedule, in addition to the Chicago Marathon which he is registered for, the teacher-athlete is in a good position to be selected on the Québec team for the IXᵉˢ Jeux de la Francophonie in 2021 to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 19-28, 2022 in Kinshasa.
Benjamin, we (and all of your students) will have our eyes glued to our screen to watch your performance. Then we’ll go out and play. We promise.
Do I run with or without music?
What temperatures does the mercury need to indicate to discourage me from going running in the winter?
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only inadequately dressed people”
After a good workout or a competition, I indulge guilt-free in what dish?
“Pizza… with an IPA beer”
Do I ever run on a treadmill?
What running event do I want to participate in?
“The Rotterdam Marathon”
A runner who inspires me?
An inspirational read (race related or not)?
“Runners of the Nish: A Season in the Sun, Rain, Hail and Hell, by Alex Cyr”
In a word, what kind of runner am I?