Imagine running seven marathons. In a row. On the same day. In the mountains. On May 30th, Halifax, Nova Scotia runner Mark Campbell will attempt to complete a 280km run around the Cabot Trail in the mountains of Cape Breton. He estimates that he will be running for about 30 to 36 hours straight.
While Mr. Campbell is an accomplished athlete and his list of achievements is both long and impressive (18-time Ironman finisher and multiple adventure races including Eco Challenge Fiji and Primal Quest), this race is not for him. Instead he is running to raise both funds and awareness for the Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society (www.brigadoonvillage.org), a Halifax based non-profit organization building a residential camp for children living with chronic illness. “This doesn’t exist in Nova Scotia. The closest thing for a sick child is in Ontario and I know most parents can’t afford that when they are dealing with a long-term or even lifelong illness,” said Mr. Campbell. “These funds are going to buy some very worthwhile equipment to help maximize their experience, like medical pool and bath lifts, portable transfer devices, freedom wheels that allow wheelchairs to go on trails, etc. I know these kids need it and they deserve it.”
Without knowing it, Mr. Campbell has been training his entire adult life for this event. He wasn’t always a distance runner and wasn’t even in shape when he decided to change his lifestyle almost 20 years ago. “I can remember when I was overweight and very out of shape. I couldn’t even run five kilometres and when I started I never thought I’d try anything like this,” he said. “Before I knew it I could run 5k, then 10k and really it just went from there. It taught me that we’re capable of so much more than we can even imagine.”
The serious training started three years ago when he and two friends competed in the Cabot Trail Relay, a 17-stage run that circumnavigates Cape Breton. They finished 29th out of 66 teams despite the fact they ran as a 3-man team compared to most that had a runner for each leg. The following year, he entered again, but this time only as a 2-man team. Mark and team-mate Jody Isenor completed the 280km run and finished 59th out of 70 teams. It was then that he began wondering if he could do this by himself. “Most of us have a great opportunity to play and enjoy the things we love, and this camp is about ensuring these kids, limited by factors that are no fault of their own, get that same chance. My soreness and discomfort will heal in a few days, while these chronically ill kids do not have that luxury,” he said.
Mr. Campbell is paying all of the costs of this event himself so that all funds raised will go directly to Brigadoon. People can use the links below to donate and support Mark.
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