Running for health

The legacy of Terry Fox is still known to this day, and that’s certainly true when it comes to the three men behind Cours Pour ta Vie, translated into English as Run for Your Life. Standing here with Fox’s statue are (from left) Jean-Christophe Renaud, Michael Houle and Christopher Gagné.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Earlier this month, our local roads became familiar territory to Christopher Gagné and Jean-Christophe Renaud, two runners on a cross-county hike intended to raise awareness of the importance of healthy living.

“We have a non-profit organization called Cours Pour ta Vie, or Run for Your Life in English,” said Gagné. “The goal is to have people realize the importance of having an active, healthy lifestyle. That includes being active, playing sports, paying attention to what they eat, sleeping enough and reducing the stress they feel during the day.

“We invite people to come and run with us, and maybe it’ll give them motivation to do it afterwards on their own.”

The guys, who are accompanied by driver Michael Houle, started in Newfoundland on March 11, and so far they’ve covered a fair amount of road in Nova Scotia. The guys are stopping at schools to spread their message, and they’ve also visited with running clubs.

“We want to help prevent disease before they occur,” said Gagné. “Heart attacks, diabetes: those things are all caused by non-activity.”

Diet is extremely important, the runner added. Generally speaking, diet accounts for 70 percent of a healthy lifestyle and physical activity accounts for 30 percent. That’s especially true when looking to improve one’s athletic performance.

The focus on physical activity is something to which both Gagné and Renaud adhere, as both guys run for 30 km everyday on the Run for Your Life tour. One man will run his distance while the other rides with Houle, meaning they travel for a total of 60 km every day.

“It’s better to live a long, healthy life than to live a long life on medication and going to hospitals,” he said.

Gagné said he and his friends enjoyed their time passing through the area. The cross-county run is a path that was forged by another runner, back in 1980, and Gagné said he’s proud to follow in that man’s footsteps.

“People often ask why we started the project, and for both Jean-Christophe and I, it was because of being inspired by Terry Fox,” he said. “When I was younger, I saw a poster of him and did a little research. When I learned he had tried running across Canada, I thought that was so cool.

“I said when I’m an adult, I want to try doing that.”

If the guys were able to stick to their schedule, they ought to have now finished their jaunt through both Nova Scotia and PEI, as they were expecting to make it to New Brunswick by April 18. However, for anyone looking to either wish them well or simply follow their journey, the guys can be found online at courspourtavie.ca.

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Sports reporter Grant McDaniel is a Port Hood native, who after graduating from StFX University, joined The Reporter in 2001.