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Icebreaker Runs the Distance

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We at Icebreaker Montreal would like to salute our assistant manager, Andrew Hlavacek, for recently taking part in an amazing journey.

A little more than three weeks ago, eight runners departed Montreal and ran around the clock in 10km stretches to their goal, New York’s Empire State Building 610km away. Despite a knee injury sustained during a 97km preparatory relay run, Andrew nevertheless managed to run his portions to help the team reach their destination in 58 hours – a new record for this event organized by Esprit de corps (EdC), a Montreal group of trainers who organize various team-building challenges for corporate groups.

By no means was this a macho endeavour to break records. The annual run raises money for EdC’s charity, Fondation esprit de corps, to give kids from underprivileged backgrounds chances to experience outdoor challenges in a positive environment. This year saw one of the smallest teams and runners, Stéphane Dumont, Sébastien Saint-Hilaire, Stéphane Lessard, Stéphane Martel and Andrew, were joined by EdC founder Gilles Barbot, trainer Kevin Pillu and foundation organizer, Thibaut Jegou, to help them reach their destination. Past teams averaged around 65km per person. This year each runner needed to run 84km in order to realize the objective – all the while taking turns navigating and driving the team’s mobile HQ – a rented RV!

It is the amazing functionality of our clothing which enabled us to take part in this incredible adventure. Over the past year, EdC’s crew has come to swear by Icebreaker and they have made it a staple on their clients’ equipment lists. Montreal Touch Lab team members have also participated in information sessions for groups training with EdC for a variety of challenges and our relationship continues to evolve.

Such an intense challenge afforded yet another opportunity to put Icebreaker to the test. Andrew took his system to new limits by using only one warm and one cool weather top, with two others used as ‘driers’ between runs. Prior to departure, two team-members also cast aside their scepticism and geared up with a couple of pieces each. Andrew reports that it was amazing observe the revolution in their attitudes to using athletic clothing made of natural fibres.

Merino magic aside, truly inspiring is the idea that eight people from different backgrounds can accept an intensely stressful, mentally and physically-draining routine with surprising ease and harmony. The isolation and intimacy of running in all conditions and at all times of day, brings one into communion with not only oneself, but one’s environment, team-mates and others encountered in passing. This process perfectly exemplifies our own vision and shows how such undertakings can alter how we regard ourselves and our relationship to nature and to each other.

For the runners who lived the journey to New York City, this adventure will surely permeate their workaday lives as they continue to share their experiences and the hard-earned insights gained through each foot-fall along the way.

Watch the Montreal-New York 2010 video here: (in French).

- Icebreaker Montreal

Athletes Conquer “Insane” Race

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Running a relay race from Montreal to New York City is no picnic, but a group of Icebreaker-sponsored athletes recently met this awesome challenge.

Our Montreal Touch_Lab_ sponsored 10 athletes and two coaches from ‘Esprit de Corps’ to compete in the 617k race. The relay involved running 10k six times, which was especially tough for those athletes who hadn’t done any endurance running before.

Sonia Laboursodiere, a member of group, feared her injuries would prevent her from running her part of the relay.  Despite thinking that the race was “a bit insane”, Sonia decided to go ahead to prove to her four sons “that when you really want something in life, you can achieve it”.

It was a hard slog, but Sonia and her fellow runners successfully completed the race in about 65 hours. All the athletes were running to raise funds for a summer camp for underprivileged children.

“Life sometimes bringing us at a point where we need to make a decision about what we want to accomplish.  This challenge has made me realize that I am able to do more than I thought,” says Sonia.

“I feel much strong and more confident than I did before the race.”

The team all wore Icebreaker_GT tops and caps. Later, they said the fit and style of their Velocity Crewe tops were amazing, very comfortable, and didn’t stink.

Rejean Roussy – Montreal Touch_Lab Manager