Teen run through snowfall to honour veterans
- Creeden Martell | December 26, 2021
It was a foggy November morning and the first snow of the year was falling when Tessa Genereaux stepped out of her home on the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation.
Those steps would be the first of a 14-kilometre run to the entrance of Canwood Community School on Nov. 10 as part of an English assignment to commemorate Remembrance Day.
“I touched a lot of people’s hearts and people were surprised that I pulled through, considering it was the first winter snowfall,” she said. “A lot of people were proud too, that I have a big heart, that I’m doing good in the things that I’m doing, just to keep up the good work.”
Canwood is located just west of Ahtahkakoop on Treaty 6 Territory. The run started around 7:30 a.m. and took just over two hours until she arrived at her destination around 9:50 a.m.
Genereaux had family members who served in the military in the past but she hasn’t met them. She thought if veterans could endure and persevere, then she could bear the brunt of running across a cold, snow covered prairie.
The conditions that morning included an overcast sky with temperatures hovering around -2 C.
Wind gusts of around 30 kilometres per hour were recorded that morning and would be the case throughout the rest of the day, according to data from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Genereaux’s run was recognized by the school and featured on its Facebook page on Nov. 17, which received more than 100 compliments and comments.
“I had thought about all the people we have lost in the past wars and that didn’t make it back,” Genereaux wrote.
“Running through the harsh winter conditions had me thinking of the struggles of weather that our veterans would have endured and having to put up with the harsh weather and physical effort made me appreciate their sacrifice even more.”
Genereaux, 17, did not train for the trip prior to that morning, though she does work out and has played soccer for about seven years.
Nonetheless, the 14-kilometre run was something Genereaux said she knew she could do and something she wanted to do. Still, there were points during the journey where she had to slow down to a walking pace.
“I was running against the wind the entire time. That was the biggest challenge,” Genereaux recalled. “I’d jog if I kind of got tired. It was challenging but I’m glad I finished it.”
The falling snow, blowing wind, ice fog and aching muscles didn’t stop her progress.
“I was just so tired,” she added. “I wanted to give up, but I just kept pushing myself.”