September 15 and 16 proved to be a very inspiring weekend in Quebec City as 40 mother-daughter duos participated in the first edition of the FitSpirit Mother-Daughter Relay in conjunction with the MégaRelais Madame Labriski.

Running a 25K relay, the mother-daughter pairs raised nearly $15,000 to support FitSpirit’s growth. FitSpirit would like to thank all the women and girls who took part in this activity, as well as the MégaRelais Madame Labriski for extending such a warm welcome to our group.

Here are some testimonials from Mélanie Leduc, the captain of the Deloitte team that participated in the 287-kilometre MégaRelais Madame Labriski to raise funds for FitSpirit, and mother-daughter duo Anny-Christine Lavoie and Lysandre St-Cyr

MÉLANIE LEDUC: STAYING IN SHAPE FOR A GOOD CAUSE

The Deloitte team led by Mélanie Leduc, a partner at Deloitte’s Quebec City Office, participated in the 2018 MégaRelais Madame Labriski to raise funds for FitSpirit.

Mélanie had been on the FitSpirit team in 2017 and enjoyed it so much that she accepted Claudine Labelle’s request to form a corporate team with her colleagues from Deloitte for 2018.

The cause, the sport and the group
The cause. It all started with chemistry and kinship. Mélanie Leduc was captivated by Claudine Labelle’s story and how she created FitSpirit. And she had no trouble getting her colleagues onboard to support the cause.

“In 2017, I attended a conference in Montreal and Claudine Labelle was there to tell her story. I was very touched by it. She called me last year and asked if I would join the FitSpirit team in the MégaRelais event. The experience gave me the chance to get to know her better as a person.”

Reduced physical activity among teens, and especially girls, is an issue that really struck a chord with Mélanie, the mother of two boys. “Last May, I attended the FitSpirit Celebration at the Sainte-Foy outdoor activity centre. I wanted to experience the event, see the participants give it their all, see the pride in their eyes.” Then she got the call from Claudine encouraging her to create a Deloitte team. “I was immediately on board to put a team together.”

The sport. While most members of the Deloitte team are regular runners, others had to step up their training to prepare for the MégaRelais. The team was made up of seven women and three men.

Balancing their schedules proved very challenging. They only managed to train together once—over their lunch hour and with only half the group in attendance. The seasoned runners kept training as usual while the novices followed the plan available on the MégaRelais Madame Labriski website.

Mélanie typically runs 35 to 40 kilometres per week, depending on what she’s training for (marathon, half-marathon, relays, etc.). “I discovered running at a later age, but now I am really into it,” she said about her near-daily sports habit.

The group. Based on her past experience, Mélanie is a firm believer that relays can be great team-building opportunities, fostering team cohesion, friendship and mutual understanding as people discover the things they have in common. “This translates into easier and more natural teamwork in the workplace.”

The team used emails to stay connected, motivate each other and share fundraising tips. “The participants sent each other words of encouragement before the event, but the real excitement came on the day of the relay,” confided Mélanie. The team also held meetings to determine the order in which they would run, as well as their roles, such as leading, co-leading, jogging or biking alongside other runners as needed, replacing injured runners, etc.

We asked Mélanie what tips she had for people interested in joining the event next year. “It’s all about preparing effectively and giving it your all on the day of the event. You really have to get into it. Personally, I love this kind of challenge. You train, you race and you successfully complete the relay with your whole team cheering you on. You get that feeling of excitement when you start, when you finish and when you see the next runner take off—and then when the whole team crosses the finish line together and gets a medal. It’s so much fun and it gives you an incredible boost of energy.”

Mélanie encourages everyone to try this at least once and feel what it’s like to be part of a tightly knit team. She says it’s an enjoyable way to do good: “Not only do I enjoy running, but it’s a way for me to financially support a good cause. I love FitSpirit’s mission and am 100% behind it.”

How to create a team
It’s easy! Get some eager runners together, tell them about FitSpirit and encourage them to sign up for an unforgettable experience. They will get to rise to a challenge that will help them grow while encouraging girls to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here are some other tips:

  • Send out a message to everyone in your organization but make sure you get a firm commitment from a core group you can count on;
  • Put up posters about the event and how to register in permitted spaces at work;
  • Communicate regularly with participants through meetings, emails and text messages;
  • Plan one or several group training sessions;
  • Help one another and share fundraising tips;
  • Respect everyone’s abilities and focus on each person’s strengths when determining roles and running distances;
  • Enjoy the moment;
  • Cross the finish line together and take home a sense of pride.

PORTRAIT OF A MOTHER-DAUGHTER PAIR: ANNY-CHRISTINE AND LYSANDRE

Lysandre St-Cyr, a Secondary 4 student from the Quebec City area, convinced her mom, Anny-Christine Lavoie, to participate in this exciting event. Lysandre was already very familiar with FitSpirit because she had followed the program the previous year. “I really enjoyed the experience because it allowed me to meet girls from outside my program at school and train with them in a friendly atmosphere,” she says.

When she received the email about the Mother-Daughter Relay, Lysandre immediately contacted her mom. “My daughter definitely got her dad’s sporty genes. It’s not something I’m naturally drawn to. But I was intrigued by the concept of the Relay and I wanted to take on the challenge and experience the excitement with my daughter,” explains Anny-Christine. “We prepared and trained over the weeks leading up to the event, sometimes together and sometimes individually because I tend to slow Lysandre down—she runs like a gazelle!” Anny-Christine adds with a chuckle.

Under sunny skies and in the intense heat, mother and daughter joined another 40 pairs for the event. Beyond the athletic achievement “which included climbing a massive hill,” they reported being particularly impressed by the team spirit, the positive energy, and the way participants cheered each other on. According to Anny-Christine and Lysandre, the presence of the participants in the MégaRelais Madame Labriski also added to the overall atmosphere. They completed two relays per day on the Saturday and Sunday of the event, which Anny-Christine describes as “an ideal introduction to running without being timed or feeling pressure to perform.” For this pair, the event was a great way to reap the benefits of physical activity and enjoy the bond between them.

When asked if they plan on doing it again next year, both mother and daughter responded with an enthusiastic “yes,” leaving no doubt about their appreciation for the unique and memorable experience.

Thanks to Mélanie Dugré for preparing this article.

FitSpirit Mother-Daughter Relay