"Students in the Race" (Etudiants dans la Course)
Training 30 young people a year, for three years, i.s. 90 young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to run the Rock’n’Roll Marathon of Montreal 2020: this is the commitment of Ludovic and Corinne, Montreal Decathlon Teammates invested in the association “Students in the race”. An initiative supported by the Decathlon Foundation which offered sports equipment.
Let’s meet Ludovic, the Montreal leader.
Hello Ludovic, since when have you been working for Decathlon?
In 2006, I joined Decathlon as leader of the collective sport department to become, in 2010, store manager at Annecy-Epagny. At the end of 2016, I was lucky to be part of a great team to open Canada and we opened the 1st store in April 2018.
The Decathlon Foundation supports “Etudiants dans la course”. How did you discover this Montreal association in which you are involved?
In Canada, I met Etienne Boucher, partner at Normandin Beaudry, and partner of “Etudiants dans la Course”. He explained to me that thanks to sport, the association helps young people in difficulty from disadvantaged areas of Montreal. I got very interested ! . Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to devote to it but I was still thinking about it. In 2019, I contacted Etienne and I spoke to Corinne Brethes, sport leader of Decathlon Center Eaton. The association was going to die out after 10 years …. then a new adventure could begin.
Concretely, how do you work with the association?
With “Étudiants dans la course”, we are preparing 30 young people from 15 to 19 years old for the Montreal Rock’n’Roll Marathon in September 2020. These young people were selected from the ten most disadvantaged schools in Montreal on two criterias : the attendance at the 1st training block and the state of mind. On the program: three weekly training sessions for one year. For them, it’s a crazy feat at allows them to regain self-confidence. Most have never played sports. Léa, for example, who had never run in her life, covered her first three kilometers in September 2019. We are very proud of her. I also remember that during the first session, a youngster came in snow shoes because he did not have enough to buy sneakers … Today, the Decathlon Foundation has already financed the sports equipment of thirty youth !
After the marathon, do you intend to act for the professional integration of these young people?
Of course ! With Corinne, we want to encourage them to join our Montreal teams during internships, for example. After the marathon, their motivation will no longer be demonstrated. For example, yesterday they ran at minus 20 degrees…
What does this action represent for your city?
First, our commitment is long-term: we are three Decathlon teammates on the Board of Directors and five invested as mentors of the association “Students in the race”. And since we are developing the agglomeration of Montreal, it is important for Decathlon to build local partnerships around our stores, to allow our neighbors to know us better.
What advice do you have for a Decathlon teammate who wants to embark on a Foundation project?
Get started if the cause hits you in your guts! The association’s fraternity and community values touch me. My only brake could have been the lack of time. But personally, when I take my daughters to run with these teens, I think they will be proud to have a dad giving their time to help young people who have not had the same luck as them and especially they will have been raised in generosity for others!
Ludovic, Decathlon teammate Montreal