Living with passion
At the beginning of our telephone conversation, Marcel tells me that he is nursing another injury: a complete tear of the right quadriceps. I tell him that I thought it was the left one. “No, the left was in 2017,” he replies.
At 58, Marcel realizes how hard he’s been on his body. And that’s an understatement.
In 1986, when he was studying police techniques, during a physical evaluation test, he was detected with a heart murmur and was immediately rejected. Hard blow. “I dreamed of working for the SQ”. End of a chapter.
Heart murmur or not, Marcel did everything. He threw. He jumped. He ran. From a young age, he was interested in athletics, first in throwing, then in jumping and finally in running. A passion that has never left him. A specialist in the 1500 meters, the young athlete tried his luck at the marathon. “It was the one in Montréal, in May 1982, it was 35°C. Going from 1,500 meters to 42.2 km, I found it long … but I keep an excellent memory.”
This was followed by 100 km races “long before it was fashionable!”, 24 hour races and so on.
In 1996, while working at Walmart, this runner-philanthropist had the crazy idea of running around the store from the opening of the doors to their closing, he covered nearly 100 km in 13 hours. He raised a whopping $4,000 for Opération Enfants Soleil. The following year, he ran from the Gatineau branch to the Québec City branch, making sure to stop at every branch on his way. He raised nearly $25,000. This was followed by a 3,500 km bike ride across Québec. “As soon as I arrived, I put the bike up for sale, I’m not a bike guy.”
From an early age, Marcel was inspired by runners such as Phil Latulippe, Richard Chouinard, Philippe Laheurte but also women such as Jacqueline Gareau and Lysiane Bussières. Coach of the Filoup club (Athletics, running and triathlon) – which he founded – he is aware that he has become a source of inspiration for a generation of young athletes and running enthusiasts.
“People often ask me: what was it like back in your days? We didn’t have all the tools and knowledge that we have today, we trained a bit randomly, which in my case led to several injuries. With the athletics club that I founded, I first targeted the parents. Then came their children. Our mission has always been to get them moving. I try to coach them to the best of my ability, but more importantly, to avoid the many mistakes I made when I first started training as a youngster.”
When asked if he would like to take part in the next edition of the Marathon Beneva de Montréal next September, Marcel does not hesitate for a second: “Yes! At least the half-marathon, and even the Marathon, if my health allows it. What is certain is that I will be running with my daughter!”
Do I run with or without music?
How cold does it have to be to discourage me from running in the winter?
“There are no limits”
After a good workout or a competition, I indulge myself guilt-free with what food?
“I go to St. Hubert’s”
I run on a treadmill sometimes…
What running event do I want to participate in?
“The Marathon des Sables, Kayo 1000 Miles to Light, in Australia”
A runner who inspires me.
An inspirational reading (related or not to the race)?
“Bruny Surin, Le lion tranquille, by authors Saïd Khalil, Bruny Surin”
In a word, what type of runner am I?