Jesse Bruce – Toronto, Ontario
How does this person typify a humanitarian as described in the definition above?
Jesse has had a very difficult past. He struggled in his teens at school and eventually became addicted to drugs and alcohol. After years spent in and out of prison, he went back to school, courageously fought to overcome his addictions(he recently celebrated 4 years clean and sober) and began a new life in the fitness industry.
His goal from the very beginning was to help and empower others. He is the co-founder of Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto where he trains people of all ages and abilities to become the best they can be.
He is currently ranked #1 in the Canadian Spartan Race Series and has won or been on the podium in numerous OCRs over the last few years; however it’s difficult to understand how he makes this happen because it seems like all his time is spent making others stronger, both in mind and body. He is a compassionate, dedicated and loyal athlete, trainer and friend.
Provide 1-3 examples of the nominee’s selfless acts within the past 12 months
Over the past 9 months, Jesse has been working with a group of approximately 50 youth from Covenant House in Toronto, an organization which provides shelter and services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth.
He brings them to his gym to train once a week and has invited them to participate in the race series he has created at Alpha Obstacle Training. The goal was to get them prepared for the Spartan Race in Toronto in July. Although the training was to prepare them for a physical challenge, the time he spent with them gave them much more than strength and speed. To say that the training and Spartan Race was successful for them is an understatement.
The youth Director at Covenant House said that even a week later, many of the kids had not taken off their medals. He gave them such a sense of pride and accomplishment and they overcame huge obstacles with his selfless support and encouragement. He did all this at no cost to the Youth or the Organization. He did it out of compassion. Jesse now plans to expand his program and is looking to bring 300+ youth next year to the Spartan Race.
Jesse also speaks to church groups and students about his journey. He very openly talks about his struggles and what he has overcome, emphasizing the fact that life will be full of obstacles but it is possible to get through them and to move forward, all the while becoming stronger in the process.
Everyone in the OCR community in Canada knows Jesse Bruce. Not because he is one of the most impressive racers but because he is the most encouraging out of all our elite competitors. Once he crosses the finish line, he very quickly returns to the course to encourage all the other athletes as they fight through the obstacles. He makes everyone feel just as important and validated as the 3 men and women who make it up to the podium.
Describe the major impact that this person has had on others’ lives
On a personal level, I can say that Jesse has been an inspiration in my life. I was never an athlete and did not start to become physically active until after I had my 2 children.
When I met Jesse and heard his story, I was instantly intrigued and motivated. He has since become a mentor and very important friend. I will be competing in the OCRWC in the 40-44 division and it is because of his support and guidance. He is the reason why I have been able to set and reach this goal.
I know I speak for all of my fellow OCR friends who train under his guidance at Alpha Obstacle Training. We show up every day with smiles on our faces. We all come from different backgrounds, but we all go there for the same reason. His energy, his guidance, his encouragement; it fuels our passion for the sport of OCR and more importantly our passion for new adventures in life.
You can see all finalist and vote here