While most people are curled up in bed trying to stay warm on a cold December night, Nicolas St-Vincent pushes his body to the brink.
St-Vincent, an ultra-runner, ironman and Freedom 55 financial advisor, regularly takes part in the 24h Tremblant charity event, running for 24 hours straight all by himself. Typically teams of 6-12 sign up for the run, taking shifts so one person is on the course while the others are resting. St-Vincent now participates with a team, but he is the only person who runs for 24 hours straight.
“I hope it kicks some people in the butt to wake up at 1 a.m. in the morning to do their shift, while thinking that there’s a crazy dude running for 14 hours and still has 10 to go,” he said.
St-Vincent is just one of the more than 3,300 participants that venture to Mont Tremblant, Quebec, annually to take part in the festivities, where teams can participate in skiing, walking, or running for 24 hours straight to raise money to support the betterment of children’s health and well-being.
The Quebec Freedom 55 Financial advisor said colleagues were initially unsure of what they were getting into by signing up to join him at the resort.
“The first year they didn’t have a clue why they’re there,” St-Vincent said. “It was the pressure of me, being the leader, saying you gotta come. But after that, people want to come back. They’ll never forget there’s a breakfast on the Saturday morning where they see the children on the stage. These are the people we’re raising money for.”
This year’s event takes place from Dec. 7-9, with 24h Tremblant hoping to add to the $28 million it has raised since 2001 for sick and underprivileged children through the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, Ottawa Senators Foundation, and Fondation Tremblant.
While St-Vincent certainly has a passion for pushing himself to the limit, his motivation for going through the gruelling run has changed over the years.
“I no longer do it for the stunt,” St-Vincent said. “Absolutely not. I now do it because I know people who have lost children to cancer, to leukemia.”
Even with the passion and motivation to get through the run, it still takes an incredible amount of training and preparation. St-Vincent runs 80km a week and his longest run ever spanned 170km over two days through France, Italy, and Switzerland, which required a passport.
St-Vincent suggests people should start small and run as a team. If they get tired they can take a break, walk the course, or get replaced by a teammate.
As important as it is for participants to prepare physically for the run, St-Vincent also cites mental challenges and factoring in the weather as things to consider when getting ready for the event.
“It’s much more an event where endurance is important, keeping the morale, and preparing yourself for any weather conditions,” he says. “You don’t usually go out at 2 a.m. in the morning (for a run). You need to bring a lot of clothes for a variety of situations.”
Given the nature and difficulty of the challenge, some people may have second thoughts about what they signed up for, but St-Vincent notes that it doesn’t take long for them to fall in love with the event and the cause.
“You don’t know why you’re coming the first year, but after that, you don’t want to miss it.”
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