DDA Leisure Challenge Grouse Grind

Today’s blog comes from a guest blogger, Colin Wong, from our Leisure Challenge program for youth.

On September 20th, 2009, Karin Laderoute (Brock Junction) and I teamed up with two Leisure Challenge Youth – John Nguyen and Xiaohan Zhang – to take on the BMO Grouse Grind Race.

This was John’s second grind. A time of 1:47:21 shattered his old mark by over 20 minutes!  From the start, John could not be stopped. His focus was unyielding as he left the rest of Team DDA in the dust.  Staff continually had to play catch up and when we did he pushed forward as if to say, “catch me…if you can!”. John’s determination was nothing short of inspiring.

The race was Xiaohan’s second attempt to conquer “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” as well.  She finished with a time of 2:22:48 placing her near the bottom of the list.  Xiaohan’s time and placing doesn’t tell the whole story.

At the start, there was more resting than climbing. I wondered if she really could do it (Xiaohan turned back during the first time she tried).  As she climbed higher my doubts faded. The rest stops grew smaller and her confidence grew bigger. Small, hesitant steps became big confident strides.  The sounds of “excuse me” from stranger’s voices soon came from a familiar voice – Xiaohan’s! As Xiaohan approached the finish, there was nobody around to cheer across the line. For many, the race had finished a long time ago and awards were being handed out – Xioahan was virtually forgotten about. But for me, I will remember this day forever.

It was an amazing accomplishment for two amazing individuals. Way to go John and Xiaohan!


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