Sometimes you take a leap of faith and you have no idea where it’s going to lead. You make a decision that takes you out of your comfort zone and things are never the same again.
This happened to me on Friday, December 20, 2002. It was a snowy day in Sudbury, Ontario and in the late afternoon I got a call from my brother Peter. After some small talk he came to the reason he called, he wanted to challenge me to a marathon. Without hesitation I accepted and hung up.
Now, the problem was I was 47 years old, over-weight and had never run; however, you never back-down from a challenge from a younger brother. That night I put on my tennis shoes, cotton pants, fleece top, toque and mitts and headed out. I ran one kilometer out and one kilometer back. It was terrible.
The next day I ran 2 kms out and 2 kms back and it was twice as bad. I realised I needed help so I joined the Sudbury Rocks Running club. Under the guidance of Vince Perdue and other members of the club, they taught me about what to wear, hydration, nutrition, electrolytes and pacing. My running journey had begun.
Fast forward to 6:00 p.m. Monday, February 17, 2020 and I had just finished 15 km on the treadmill as part of my Boston 2020 training. Now, that was 17 years 59 days (6,298 days) ago and over that time I’ve covered 40,075 kms which happens to be the circumference of the earth.
So what happened between that snowy day in Sudbury and the treadmill run? Well, here are some of the adventures running took me on with RUNNING THE WORLD BY THE NUMBERS:
2.0 km First run on December 20th 2002
3.0 km The Secret 3k, Global
5.0 km Footstock 5 km, Cochrane, Alberta
10.0 km Terry Fox, all over Canada
12.0 km Grim Challenge, UK
16.0 km Gorilla run, Calgary
21.1 km Ottawa Half Marathon
42.2 km Calgary Marathon
42.2 km London Marathon
42.2 km Marathon of Afghanistan
48.0 km Yukon Arctic Ultra
80.0 km Fernie Ultra
82.1 km Golden Ultra
90.0 km Comrades Marathon, South Africa
100.0 km Rarotonga Quest, Cook Islands
106.0 km Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
126.6 km Boston (2004, 2008, 2010)
125.00 km Canadian Death Race
146.00 km Sinister Seven Ultra
160.00 km Lost Souls Ultra
193.00 km TransRockies Stage Race
1014.0 km South West Coast of England
10,550 km Running 250 marathons in one year
40,075 km Complete Running the World on February 17th 2020
So the first spin around the earth is done and it’s been a blast. Time to turn around and head back the other way. Who knows what challenges and adventures there will be on the return journey.
© 2020 Martin Parnell