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Everest challenge on a slippery slope

Everest challenge on a slippery slope

After 11 years in existence and over $1.5 million in side benefits in the community, the Everest Challenge faces its greatest challenge. At the crossroads, and in the face of an extreme shortage of resources, the Board of Directors decided to cancel the event that was scheduled for September 16-17 on the coast of Saint-Pierre in Rivière-du-Loup. . Only the “school at the top” is preserved. Pause…may extend over time.

After a moment of thought, its founder, Yvan Laureux, let out a long sigh. “That’s a very good question, and a very relevant one. It was obviously not lighthearted that the board and I made this decision. It’s tearing me apart, but there was no other choice for this year. For 2024…the next few months will tell,” he affirmed. in a low voice.

A decision based on the lack of available capabilities, the accumulated delay in preparing for the 2023 edition, and the lack of logistical capabilities. The departure of the Operations Coordinator also had an impact, because it was when Yvan Laureux himself wanted to withdraw from the organisation.

“I was in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a race across the Pyrenees. The jackets weren’t ready. We were out of supplies and there was still a lot to tie up, and I wasn’t there. I’m a challenge man, but this time I knew the decision to be made would not It’s fun. I don’t blame anyone but myself, I wanted to do less, I did less.”

leave it

Already last year, Yvan Laureux announced his colors by indicating his desire to pass the torch. “At the top of the hill (Saint-Pierre), I told Prefect Michel Lagasse that this was my last year. I wanted to make time for my well-deserved lover, for my family, but also for my clinic and martial arts school. (…) I wanted to see if the challenge was ripe, and whether the population is ready to take on the challenge and take it further with the resources at our disposal.

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The outstretched flame found no one to take it. However, after two pandemic summers, success came last year when more than 2,400 climbers climbed the St-Pierre coast.

The problem is that the task requires a lot of time, but also in terms of energy, while Yvan Laureux emphasizes devoting a weekly average of twenty hours to planning it. All in all, it’s a decade in which he closed his acupuncture practice one day a week to devote himself to it, and that’s not counting evenings and weekends.

“In 2018/2019, I set aside a full year for the challenge, full time. I closed my practice. My goal was to move it to six cities in Quebec (Sherbrooke, Saint-Georges, La Bucatiere, Rimouski, Timisquata-sur-le-Lac and Rivière-du-Loup) and we did. We succeeded… But the epidemic has arrived.

Despite isolation measures and curfews, the organization persevered, showing creativity and selflessness. Yvan L’Heureux successfully launched the “SolidariCourse”. After working remotely, we ran at intervals in Ottawa, in Quebec-Levis, in Montreal, in Estre, in Saguenay-la-Lac-Saint-Jean and of course in Rivière-du-Loup. During these seven weeks, more than $58,000 was raised for the food banks. The following year, in 2021, Yvan Laureux and his friend Richard Turgeon traveled 1,300 kilometers in just ten days, sometimes by bike, sometimes by jogging, to raise money, but above all, to keep the flame burning. But the wear and tear and health problems that hinder the athlete today have forced him to revise his priority list.


“The pandemic has cut an ax in volunteerism and in people’s desire to be involved in their community,” he explains. The latter also regrets the non-compliance of the city of Rivière-du-Loup, which he blames for the timid involvement. “We need more than barriers. It’s a big event, it’s a gem, and what’s left of the city’s sporting activities is starving. An opportunity, and I insist on emphasizing it, an MRC opportunity [de Rivière-du-Loup]headed by Conservative Michel Lagasse, has been an exceptional partner over time.

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Does he feel that the Everest Challenge has been taken for granted? The answer is as substantial as it is direct: “Yes. Yes, because I’ve seen cities bend over backwards to their events, including Sherbrooke, which welcomed us with open arms. I expected more here, where I was born.”

Next year

Yvan L’Heureux admits the board is exhausted, too. “I don’t want to keep this at bay anymore. Boards of directors are exceptional people who give the most precious resource, which is time. Time because unlike money, it doesn’t come back. This year, we couldn’t deliver the challenge because we wanted to hold it. Next year? I don’t know.” .”

The organizer does not hide this, as it was impossible to replace the departure of Regis Malenfant, who he considers the heart of the organization. However, he hopes that the École au Sommet, which he considers his friend’s most important legacy, will continue to challenge over time, even if it means being taken over by school service centres.

“It doesn’t belong to me. The coast has always been there. I was a conformist, the initiator. If I start packing, I’ll be so proud and happy.”

For him, the challenge needs a new locomotive to pull him towards success.

The school is on top

Remember, the École au Sommet will be preserved this year. The event will therefore take place on Friday, September 15th in the morning. Therefore, the organization expects more than 1,600 students on the coast of Saint-Pierre to take part in this challenge. “Our aim has always been to get things moving, and that is at the heart of our mission and is the creation of Regis Malenfant. I am very happy with the school’s maintenance at the top. Our base is the youngsters and it has been important and vital to move forward with them.

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The organization wanted to assure people enrolled in one of the other modules such as Macadam Ultra, Macadam Ado or Team Challenge for 2023 that they would be fully compensated. In addition, the donations collected so far will be distributed among the beneficiary organizations as planned.

The challenge in short

Created in 2012, the Everest Challenge has donated $1.5 million to more than 400 organizations. More than 20,000 participants responded to the call. The Everest Challenge was the first organization to return 100% of the donations it received.