August 20, 2009
Local cycling club raises money for U of C scholarship
For young, aspiring athletes, every bit of cash helps them reach their goals. And for those receiving the Jason Lapierre Memorial Scholarship, the money carries an even deeper meaning.
On Aug. 22 and 23, a Memorial Cycling Weekend has been dedicated to Lapierre with proceeds donated to the U of C fund. The two days of racing include a provincial 40-kilometre time trial, a criterium and a Tour de France-style 150 kilometre road race.
On July 19, 2006, Jason Lapierre, 34, was killed just east of Cochrane, Alta., after being struck by a car while training on his bike. His friends started a memorial scholarship in his name and each year, an award of up to $1,000 will be given to an athlete that shared one of his many passions: triathlon, alpine ski racing, coaching or distance running.
Race director Trevor Williams says he has tried to model this race after how he believed Lapierre would have done it.
“I have made the race open to anyone willing to try out a race for the first time without a race license—this is not a common thing in cycling—and, at the same time, keep the high level of competition,” says Williams who is a U of C post doctorate and research engineer as well as a competitive cyclist, triathlete and friend of Lapierre.
“Jay was always such a great ambassador for any sport he competed in and, like me, believed getting youngsters and fresh blood into the sport continuously was very important, all while he himself completed at a high level.”
Julie Rabnett received the award for 2008-2009. She knows Lapierre from her alpine ski racing days and spoke with him often about triathlons, a sport she was interested in getting involved in.
The 24-year-old graduated from kinesiology last year and is now taking organic chemistry and plans to apply to medical school.
“Every bit counts when I’m going to school,” says Rabnett. “It also makes it much more real to have a face behind the award—in this case, someone I know.”
Triathlete and Kinesiology grad Grant Burwash was the first U of C student to receive the award two years ago. He had met Jason through triathlons. Burwash says the award was an honour to receive because the funding is coming from an athletic community he is actively involved in.
“It helped me free up some money to attend school so I would have extra cash to put toward racing in the summer,” says Burwash, 23, who has spent time racing in Europe, Turkey, Mexico as well as in Canada and the U.S.