Former soldier goes on a conquest of Canada for a good cause

Master Corporal (retired) Keven Martel
Fitness and forest survival enthusiast Master Corporal (retired) Keven Martel will start his cross-Canada trip in June 2019. Photo: Adsum

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By Édouard Dufour – Adsum

After having served his country for the past 14 years, Master Corporal (retired) Keven Martel, a former member of the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, has changed careers as a motivational speaker. He plans to accomplish a series of daunting physical challenges to raise funds for the Soldier On Program.

MCpl (ret’d) Martel recently completed his first objective entitled “the run of hope”, a challenging 360-km run that he finished in six days in November. The athlete started from Saint-Jean Garrison and ran to CFB Valcartier with a route that took him through Saint-Hyacinthe, Drummondville, Victoriaville and Trois-Rivières.

“I decided to do this run to boost the visibility of Soldier On. This program brings help and a little hope into the lives of people who have been ‘broken’ during their service. I also want to show that, even when we sometimes feel ‘broken’, we must never lose hope. We have to keep moving forward, one kilometre at a time”, explained MCpl (ret’d) Martel. In a show of solidarity, MCpl (ret’d) Steve Cloutier, an old friend of Martel and participant in Soldier On, took charge of logistics during the run.

In 2009, Keven Martel was deployed to Afghanistan as a vehicle machine gunner. A witness to the physical and mental ravages of war, he quickly felt the call of the philosophy of Soldier On. The program promotes mental and physical recovery of wounded military members through demanding physical activity and sports.

The challenge of a lifetime

In June 2019, MCpl (ret’d) Martel will undertake his most ambitious challenge: a cross-Canada journey from the most easterly point to the most westerly point. This 10,000 km solo challenge by bike, on foot, by kayak and by cross-country skis has never been attempted in this form. He will start at Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the most easterly point of Canada and North America. Eight months later, he will arrive at the point where the Alaska-Yukon border meets the Arctic Ocean, in Ivvavik National Park, approximately 9 km east of Gordon, Alaska.

MCpl (ret’d) Martel will make this trip across Canada alone. He will receive food and gear sent in advance through about 20 resupply points. The former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member emphasizes that he could not undertake such an adventure without the unwavering help and support of his spouse, Suzie Jomphe.

If you are interested in supporting the Soldier On Program and learning more, visit the Soldier On website and Keven Martel’s website.

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