PROFILE — 14-year-old Montrealer starts virtual race with Andre De Grasse
Jesse Briscoe challenges other Canadian kids to participate
Claim to fame
A teen from Montreal has teamed up with Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse to start a virtual race across Canada.
Jesse Briscoe, 14, is lacing up his running shoes for the Race With Me! virtual running challenge.
“I wanted to motivate myself to be more active in a way that involves other kids around the country,” he said.
Together with his dad, Jesse reached out to three-time Olympic medallist De Grasse, who agreed to lend his name to the project.
At that point, De Grasse was putting the finishing touches on a motivational picture book also titled Race With Me!.
How does it work?
Participants from across Canada are encouraged to run a 400-metre race at their local track.
Their times are recorded and shared online each week between May 1 and June 25.
The goal of the challenge is to improve your race time each week.
So far, Jesse's best time is one minute and five seconds.
De Grasse's record is 46 seconds.
Midway through the eight-week challenge, Jesse Briscoe's best time for the 400-metre race was one minute and four seconds. (Image credit: RaceWithMe.ca)
For a good cause
It's free to sign up, but participants are encouraged to get donations.
Proceeds will go to youth mental health charities, such as the Kids Help Phone, through the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation.
After four weeks, they've already raised over $15,000. There are still four weeks to go.
How it started
Jesse enjoys cross-country running, soccer and basketball. But he's been feeling frustrated about being unable to play his favourite sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was getting bored of being stuck at home playing video games,” Jesse said.
Like many Canadians, he wanted to find a way to get outside more.
As the weather got warmer, Jesse began running around the track with his family at Pierrefonds Community High School in Montreal.
He wanted to find a way to get other families across Canada involved, too.
Josiah Vantour from Guelph, Ontario, participates in the Race With Me! virtual running challenge. (Image credit: RaceWithMe.ca)
Jesse said he was inspired by De Grasse's performance at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio, Brazil.
Especially his silver medal-winning run at the 200-metre finals, when he placed second behind famous Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
The last strides of the men's 100-metre final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Image Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jesse said he is looking forward to seeing Canada's top sprinter compete again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this July.
(Image Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC)
Speaking about the Race With Me! virtual challenge, De Grasse said, “this is all about getting Canadian kids back on track.
“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.”
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: RaceWithMe.ca, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC