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What makes Julien Bergeron run?

“Surely not an innate ability! »He exclaims. And yet, the deputy chief of the Northern Sunrise County Protection Service does not hesitate. For three years now, Julien has been setting out, running shoes on, on the roads of Alberta. 180 km for a good cause.

Arnaud Barbet

This year, in August, he ran from La Crête to High Level, then from Paddle Prairie to High Level. Two regions that have recently suffered greatly from fires and floods. “I fought fires and floods there. People have lost their homes, their roots, their memories. “

It was in 2018 that he decided to create the Northern Trek Project for CFFF (Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation). For him, this consists of running several kilometers in different regions of Alberta to raise funds.

“I had run for a cause before, but it made more sense to me that I run for the one that is close to my heart: in memory of the firefighters who died at the front while encouraging the firefighters to stay in shape,” explains -he.

“A firefighter is not a machine, cardiac arrest is a major cause of death in our profession. You always have to be prepared, ”he says with a bit of bitterness. “I’ve lost enough friends in the profession… not necessarily at the front, but definitely before it’s their time. “

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An increasingly complicated activity

“When I do my run I focus on those I support,” he says. He thus avoids the subjects which annoy and does not want in any case to stir up tensions. It nevertheless relates the many risky situations encountered by the firefighter and the extreme stress that can overwhelm him on a daily basis.

Photo3 JulienBergeronMascotte
Julien Bergeron is not alone when he walks the motorway for 180km. Often many supporters follow him for a while and encourage him. Credit: courtesy Julien Bergeron

“Our responsibilities are increasing. There are more and more incidents on the highways. Motorists are moving faster and faster. The victims are in increasingly critical states, ”he notes.

Regarding forest fires, the Franco-Albertan firefighter from Saint-Isidore is very worried. “The season is longer and the fires more violent. It is more and more aggressive and it is more and more scary! He hopes he’ll never see what happens in California, but looks dubious.

“Human activity in the forests, global warming, major drought problems are risk factors,” he said, knowing he was lucky to have seen a lot of rain in the north of the province.

How much longer ?

As he himself says with a lot of humor, “I’m not an innate runner, my sport is video games! So it is also a challenge for him to get out of his sofa. “Without the encouragement, it would be very difficult to continue because there is nothing worse to watch than a white line on the highway. After 5 hours a day, you don’t feel like it anymore! “

Day 1, Julien listens to the music. Day 2, he still listens to it, but “can’t hear it anymore, because it’s the same playlist. So I think about them, those who are gone, and what I’m here for. Day 3, he is delighted to see people accompanying him, often first responders to emergencies. They make him forget his injuries. “We encourage each other, it’s a great experience! “

He remembers Marcel Maure, fire chief of Smocky River, firefighter Terry Clark and his children. Mikaela in the fire engine, Oliver proudly signaling “I’m running faster than you!” Little Cursed, he thinks affectionately. He also thinks of their mother, who expresses her gratitude to him. “She came to me, and thanked me, because since this race, children have enjoyed training outside very often. “

The message is getting across, and Julien Bergeron will resume training to perhaps get through this 27th kilometer more easily, which has terrified him every day. “This year, the 27th kilometer was a wall! If I had started walking, I would never have left. A psychological battle that he is proud to win every year for this cause which is close to his heart.

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