Profile of Willy Primeau

Photo of Lorraine and Abbey


August 2021:

Willy Primeau, 60, in his response to our questionnaire has told a remarkable and indeed inspiring story of the impact of running on his life.

Willy has some notable running achievements to be proud of:

  • as a teen: winning a road race in Cornwall ,
  • 6th in an Ottawa road race
  • being a proud member of the track team at the prestigious Thousand Islands Secondary School (TISS) here in Brockville.

Having just watched the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the lessons that  Willy learned, and still  lives by, that sportsmanship and being a team member are  more important than winning, are as apt and important as ever.

I will let you read on and let Willy tell his uplifting story in his own words.

Thanks Willy for sharing so generously.


Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?

I was originally born in Cornwall, Ontario. I spent time in foster care in Newington, Ontario before moving to Brockville for grade 2. I have also lived in Toronto and Los Angeles .

How long have you been running?

I grew up in an abusive home and sports became my escape. I started running in grade 7-8 at St Mary’s public school in Brockville.

During my very first race at Limerick Forest a fellow team member got injured and I helped him finish the race. I let him finish in front of me because he was one of the schools All Star athletes and I was just so happy to be a part of a team. The school staff were very happy that I could finish so close to the school’s top athlete.

Perhaps this is when I decided that winning was not the most important aspect of racing …. Being part of a team and helping others was just as important. Running became an escape, fun, inclusiveness and a very important part of my life and who I was. It helped define purpose in my life …… no matter how slow I run…. I can still participate and finish something that I enjoyed tremendously.

Do you run for fun or competitively?

When I was younger I ran to compete but as I have gotten older and so much slower I discovered so many more benefits to running…..physical and mental health top the list. Even if I am the slowest person on this planet that we call earth… I can still run and be part of a team…. I just love to run and to challenge myself to run longer.

Why do you run?

I love to run …. it’s hard to explain….. I love how my mind thinks and plans life and how I can just relax while I do it. Since I am much slower now I have more time to think…. LOL

Recent memorable running moment? Not necessarily in a race.

Winning a road race in Cornwall as a teenager and the newspaper article stated in its headline:  Primeau First. Finishing 6th in an Ottawa road race when I was in high school.…to Running a half marathon in Kenya in 2016…. The Freeze your buns series this past winter…. My come back to running more …. And the Cannonball Rush in Kingston.

Best running achievement?

Finishing a Half marathon in Kenya as well as a 10 km race in Nairobi, Kenya.

Greatest running disappointment ?

When I sustain an injury and it keeps me from running.

What is your favorite race distance? Why?

When I was a proud member of the track team at TISS I loved being a sprinter. I enjoyed being part of the relay team. 4×100 4×200 and 4×400. I was on some pretty good teams and we even set some records… lol … They have been crushed many times since. I also love 5km and 10 km distances.

A notable race moment or most memorable race?

Running in the Cannonball Rush with members of my family on my team. [Ed: Photo above is of Willy and family at Canada Day 2020.]

Why did you join BRRC?

I love to run and I love being part of their team.

Ever been injured? How did it happen?

Lol …. way too many injuries to talk about ….from high school… through college…. until the present.…. Hill workouts caused some injuries… twisting an ankle on uneven surfaces to soccer and baseball injuries that kept me from running.

What is your favorite race?

I would have to say running in Kenya as the altitudes create a much bigger challenge.

What does your daily or weekly workout consist of?

I try to run 4-5 days a week but I am currently nursing a baseball injury… a pulled hamstring.

Additional input or comments?

Thanks for including me in this survey. I have never been a superstar at running but I just love to run. To me running is something that makes me feel great. Even on days that I struggle to get started I always feel absolutely great when I have finished running. I feel that this is a great questionnaire and an important tool to help people express themselves and their feelings on running. Keep up the great work Brockville Roadrunners.