Students in the Running

  • The 2015-2016 cohort of Students in the Running, a program that trains high-school students aged 15 to 18 from at-risk Montréal neighbourhoods to run the annual Montréal Marathon.

    Photo: © Mélissa Aldabas / Students in the Running

  • Students in the program train for close to a year, learning the value of physical activity, a healthy diet, discipline, and committing to achieve a goal.

    Photo: © Mélissa Aldabas / Students in the Running

  • Throughout their training program, which has them meeting increasingly difficult challenges, students give each other encouragement.

    Photo: © Mélissa Aldabas / Students in the Running

  • Mentors provide the young people with inspiring examples and motivating support.

    Photo: © Mélissa Aldabas / Students in the Running

  • At the end of the marathon, the students justifiably take pride in themselves for all the efforts and determination they have put into reaching the finish line.

    Photo: © Mélissa Aldabas / Students in the Running

BY THE NUMBERS

168 training sessions spread over 51 weeks in 2015-2016 representing 135 hours and an average of about 1,200 km run by each participant

To date, over 135 young people have participated in the program

Helping to put at-risk students on the right track

Students in the Running (Étudiants dans la Course) is a non-profit organization that encourages and helps high-school students from disadvantaged Montréal neighbourhoods to achieve what can be a life-transforming goal: completing a marathon. To date, over 135 young people aged 15 to 18 have taken part in its program and crossed the finish line of the annual 42.2-km-long Rock 'n' Roll Oasis Montréal Marathon. By doing so, they not only learn important lessons about the value of physical activity, commitment, and discipline, but also gain a healthy dose of confidence and self-esteem along the way – all of which can translate into future academic and professional success.

The thirty- some students selected for participation in the program each year follow a training regimen specially designed for them. Incremental but rigorous, it has them gradually running increasingly longer distances. In the 51 weeks leading up to the 2016 edition of the marathon, for example, the students underwent 168 solo and group training sessions and ran in one three-hour race, six time trials, and two half marathons. All told, each ran an average of about 1,200 km for a total of 135 hours.  

Participants in the program benefit from the advice of a nutritionist and are monitored by health specialists. Perhaps most importantly, they also receive the support of adult volunteer mentors and trainers from various walks of life, but all sharing a love of running. These mentors provide inspiring examples and help motivate the students to stay focused and achieve the goal they have set themselves.

In for the long run

As one 16-year-old who recently took part in the program and successfully completed his first marathon relates, “At the beginning, when I signed up with a friend, I never thought I would be able to run a whole marathon. But I didn’t want to give up – I wanted to finish what I had started. Running in a group, we all helped and encouraged each other, and that kept me going. What this program has taught me is that, if you really want to do something, and you stay on track and really work hard, everything is possible. I now know, if I keep that in mind, I’ll be able to succeed at whatever I decide to do in the future.” Further motivation and support provided by Students in the Running comes in the form of bursaries for every student completing the program, presented at an annual gala event. 

For many of the young people enrolled in the Students in the Running program, training for a marathon represents the first time they have committed to a specific goal. As Éric Leclerc, its spokesperson, states, “These young people have come a long way, and not just on the track. Their running the Montréal marathon is the culmination of a year’s worth of sustained effort and discipline. Although completing it is the initial aim, the path to getting there is even more important, as it proves that, with determination, it is possible to meet challenges that at first may seem insurmountable.”

Power Corporation has lent its support to Students in the Running since 2010. Stéphane Lemay, Vice-President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Power Corporation, launched the organization in 2009 and remains very actively involved in its program. As he says, “This program has a truly positive impact, not just in terms of helping young people acquire healthy lifestyle habits, but also showing them that, with perseverance, they can realize their full potential.”

This program has a truly positive impact, not just in terms of helping young people acquire healthy lifestyle habits but also showing them that, with perseverance, they can realize their full potential.
Stéphane Lemay
Vice-President, General Counsel
and Secretary
Power Corporation

Video

See videos from Students in the Running (in French only).