Inducted into the RunNB Hall of Fame: November 2012
The Half Marathon of Acadia (Demi-marathon de l'Acadie) held it's first race in November 1, 1987. Jean-Marie Breau wasn't part of that first race, but he was there for the second and almost all of the succeeding, up to this day. For the record, he only missed the January and April 1988 races. Therefore, Jean-marie ran the distance between St-Isidore and Tracadie-Sheila 292 times up to this day. Indeed, the Demi-marathon de l'Acadie was h eld every first Sunday of every month since 1987 thanks to the dedication and efforts that Jean-Marie Breau put into organizing and improving the event. This race is one of the longest lasting running event in New Brunswick.
Although he was not always the only one involved throughout these years, Jean-Marie was the driving, yet unassuming, force and the common denominator behind this enduring event. Thanks to Jean-Marie Breau, the Demi-marathon has the reputation of being a well-organized, friendly, yet competitive race. Runners from all regions of New Brunswick and beyond, elite as well as slower runners, enjoy this run because it is unpretentious, inclusive and rewarding.
Before the start of each race, he always makes sure everyone knows the course and where the water stations are located, and that in both official languages! Since the first race that he participated in, he has kept a precious record of each race, complete with results, photos, weather conditions and newspaper articles.
Running knows no social boundaries; however, Jean-Marie was aware that some runners were less fortunate than others. That?s why he made sure that fees for our race were kept to a minimum. He also put in place draws for free race passes and yearly cash prizes with money he set aside from the registration fees. His kind-heartedness was and still is appreciated by many in so many ways.
Jean-Marie has shown a lot of determination through the 25 years of the Demi-marathon de l?Acadie. Who else do you know who would organize and run a half marathon each month in all types of weather, snow or ice storms, high winds, pouring rain and scorching or extremely cold temperatures? Who else do you know who would run the December half marathon dressed as Santa Clause and hand out candies to the kids? They thought he was the real Santa Clause! Have you seen his mustache?
As mentioned earlier, the Demi-marathon is inclusive, not exclusive. Indeed, elite runners are welcome but every runner is important, from the first to the last one to cross the finish line. Jean-Marie makes sure that each runner is well taken care of and that women get proper recognition for their skills and efforts. In fact, medals are awarded to the first three runners overall but also to the first three women at the finish line. A commemorative plaque is awarded to the male runner who completes 100 half marathons while women receive one after 50 half marathons completed. And so far, no man has shown any signs of jealousy! Furthermore, when photos are taken for the newspaper, all runners, not just the winners, are included in the take.
So, as you can see, Jean-Marie Breau has special qualities that make him not only a renowned runner but also a true builder of the running community in New Brunswick. Through his determination and wisdom, he has succeeded in engaging an important number of people to take up running, a simple, pleasant, yet demanding activity and thus, help them improve their lifestyle and their health.