Sherbrooke resident to use Mont-Orford in Everest Challenge

By Michael Boriero – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Fernand Courchesne is attempting to climb Mount Everest in his own backyard for a challenge he gave himself more than one year ago. He calls it the Défi Everest-Orford.
The 52-year-old Sherbrooke resident plans to ascend Mont-Orford National Park 19 times, which is roughly the equivalent of reaching the top of Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level.
He is giving himself between 24 and 30 hours to complete the challenge. The event is tentatively set for Sept. 19 and 20, but it could move to the following weekend depending on weather conditions.
While the Défi Everest-Orford is an attempt to challenge his body and mind, Courchesne is also using the event to raise funds for Sherbrooke Shared Runs, a group that connects runners with people who have lost the use of their legs.
“My motivation is to offer people like that an opportunity to relive an activity they thought might have been lost to them,” said Courchesne. “With help from a runner they can experience a form of sports in their life.”
Shared Runs takes place every Wednesday morning between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. between May 15 and Oct. 15. He started a GoFundMe in lead up to his challenge and raised close to $800 to date.
Courchesne, a health and social services worker at the CLSC in Magog, works closely with people who have completely or partially lost mobility. Shared Runs is important, he explained, it gets paraplegics out of their house and breaks social isolation.
In regards to the challenge, he plans to make it a hybrid between hiking and jogging. He wants to hike on the way up and jog on the way down. But running is something he thought he’d never do again.
“Before June 21 [last year] I hadn’t run for roughly 30 years, I did some hiking, skiing, cycling, but never any running,” said Courchesne. “I changed my life in the spring; I lost about 30 pounds.”
He explained to The Record that nearly five years ago he was battling weight issues. He decided to shed those pounds and adopt a healthier lifestyle. For full story and others, subscribe now.

Share this article