Victoria woman aims to provide clean water, sets world record with trans-African race – Saanich News


Every morning during her meditation, Véronique Bourbeau imagines herself in Cape Town, South Africa. She lets the exhaustion and euphoria of the moment wash over her as if she really is there.

Programming herself like this is the only way the Victoria resident can overcome the impossibility of covering more than 8,000 miles from tip to tail of Africa in a year and instead focus on her goal – providing service. drinking water to those in need along the way.

“I sincerely believe that what you put in your mind can make you stronger or destroy you,” she says.

Indeed, mental toughness is what allowed Bourbeau to transition from non-runner status 14 years ago to the intention of becoming the first woman and the second person to run alongside Africa.

When she first tried running in 2007, she hated it. It was winter in Quebec and she was too embarrassed to go out with the “professional” runners, so Bourbeau bought an old treadmill and started a walk and then a one-kilometer run.

It was horrible, she admits, but Bourbeau likes a challenge and pushed herself to stick with it. In less than seven months, she ran her first marathon. She considered quitting after that, but thought it would be a shame to waste all her hard work. So Bourbeau ran another marathon and cut his initial time by 40 minutes.

“This is where I really started to love running,” she says.

Suddenly, Bourbeau completed two marathons per week. She and her husband began to travel the world to work with their two children, and everywhere they went, she faced increasing challenges.

Continuing the sport of ultramarathon, in the United Arab Emirates she ran her first 100 mile race (161 km), then in Japan she ran 250 km and in Malaysia, 444 km. Each time, the finish seemed impossible, but Bourbeau pushed and came out the other side asking for more.

“When you reach this point that you didn’t even know existed, you go beyond what you thought you could accomplish as a person. You reach such a great energy, you are yourself but it is something more than you, ”she says.

Eventually, Bourbeau began to think about how she could use her stroke to give back. She remembered a trip to Senegal, Africa years ago, and the women and girls she met who spent their days lugging water around instead of going to school. .

“People would greet us for food even though they didn’t know if they would have food for the next day,” she says.

During his scheduled one-year run, Bourbeau plans to visit villages in 19 countries, from Alexandria, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa, raising funds for ongoing drinking water infrastructure. road.

“It’s about water, but also about humanity,” she says. She deeply believes in a world where generosity and understanding rule the actions of people.

For her, running is now more than a personal challenge, it is about using her ability to make the world a better place. “We’re all here for a reason. I think that’s why I’m here.

She currently lives in Victoria to be close to her children, who go to school here, and to secure the funding and partnerships necessary for the success of her trans-African journey. If all goes as planned, Bourbeau hopes to begin his journey within the year.

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