Canada’s Andre De Grasse is not only known for being quick on his feet, but also for working to empower youth through the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation. Recently, Canada’s fastest man co-authored a children’s picture book titled RACE WITH ME! to inspire youth through his story, and now, kids across the country can join the Olympic sprinter in an eight-week running challenge designed to encourage young Canadians to get moving.
According to Athletics Canada, the challenge was actually the idea of 14-year-old Jesse Briscoe of Montreal, Que. After his sports clubs was cancelled due to the pandemic, the young teen grew tired of sitting at home all day playing video games. Inspired by the talented Olympian and his dedication to encouraging young Canadians, Briscoe teamed up with his parents and siblings to do something about his boredom. He contacted De Grasse’s management team, and the RACE WITH ME! virtual challenge came to be. Briscoe says the challenge has inspired he and his whole family to get out and run.
“I’m determined to beat my brother’s time because I already know I’m faster than my dad,” Briscoe said in an interview.
How does the challenge work?
The challenge starts on May 1 and continues for a period of eight weeks. During that time, Canadian kids need to find a 400m distance to run, whether they do it at their local track (if it’s open), or measure it out on a sidewalk, road, park or other green space. Children and parents are then encouraged to record their times and videos from their races and upload them to www.racewithme.ca, where they will find leaderboards, prizing and other interactive content.
Throughout the challenge, De Grasse and his other Olympic-bound teammates will be sharing tips and words of encouragement through the challenge’s social channels and on the website. Registration is free, and the first 1,000 participants to sign up will receive a free challenge t-shirt. Families are also given the option to donate to the challenge, with the proceeds going to youth mental health charities, such as the Kids Help Phone, through the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation.
This challenge will be an opportunity to get kids active and support mental health charities during what has been a difficult year for many children across the country, and De Grasse says it is all about getting kids “back on track.”
“I believe in the power of reciprocal inspiration,” he says. “These kids continue to inspire me to do my best and proudly represent our country. I was the same age as Jesse when I ran in my first track meet, so I know that there must be some fast kids to be discovered.”
Athletics Canada, which is partnering with the challenge, echoed De Grasse’s statement, saying that Canada’s next fastest person could come from this challenge.
To learn more about the challenge, head over to the event website, and to sign up, click here. To keep up with the action, check out the event’s social channels, which are available on the event website.