Title photo of J.C. and Michael at Stanley Park’s third beach — the big finish — on October 20, 2017 after running 7 months across Canada.
As we waited for the welcoming party to arrive from Waterloo, QC, we inched our way to the edge of the finish line; running short sections from Mission, Coquitlam, Downtown Vancouver, then to the planned ending at third beach in Stanley Park. Weather conditions in the last few days ranged from summer like conditions to days of running in that drenching Pacific rain, however, we are very close to the finish, so the rain, or any weather for that matter does not halt our planned running days.
Although I have only run one province with J.C. and Michael, these past few weeks of running is an experience not many get to have: a snapshot of what it takes and what it is like to run across Canada. The biggest take home message for me was the deep love I have for running, walking, or anything that involves self-propelled movement, even if the weather makes it difficult (below).
Above. After running in ankle to knee deep pools of water for a 12.5 km section on the approach to Vancouver, and being splashed every 5 seconds by passing transport trucks, pickup trucks, and cars causes one to feel like they are swimming!
Above. A view from the road as we begin to enter Vancouver city limits.
Above. Not sure where this is, but it wasn’t far from the City of Vancouver proper.
After the last complete running day was completed, where I had the honor to complete the last running segment before the final 10 km group run to the finish at third beach in Stanley Park.
Above. Simon, Olivier (J.C.’s brother), J.C., Michael, and Myself just before the ~10 km run to the finish at Stanley Park’s third beach.
Above. Halfway to finish.
Above. Getting closer.
Above. So close … J.C.’s dad ran with us just before we reached third beach.
Above. The finish. J.C.’s mom, Dad, J.C. (holding Shakira the stuffed lion he ran with everyday), Michael, Me, Olivier, and Simon.
Above. The beach we all dove into at the end!
I really like doing these lists, so in no particular order, the following are some hard facts about the last few weeks I spent running:
- Being unclean, itchy, and stinky for weeks on end is a fact of life!
- Showers are for the weak.
- Life in the R.V. revolves around having electricity for the toaster: a toasted bagel is everything.
- Inviting new friends to run with you along the way is a must.
- You hangout in Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s for the WiFi, electrical outlets, and a place to setup a board game at night.
- Never gang up on a single person while playing Nintendo Monopoly, even if it is hilarious (sorry Michael).
- Eating peanut butter, jam, hemp seed, and slices of banana on toast or an everything bagel is a time of solace in the morning.
- Plugging the R.V. into an electrical outlet without asking can get an extension cord taken away, or you will be woken up early in the morning, sworn at, and unceremoniously booted out.
- You must have an upbeat morning song and dance before every running day!
- A plant based diet is fine, honestly.
- Running is the easy part, but getting out of the front door is the hard part.
- A 7, 700 km run is just a bunch of 40 km, 30 km, 20 km, 10 km, and 5 km runs strung together among family and friends.
Unexpectedly, the run went quickly, and much of it was a blur. I remember arriving in Invermere, with only a quick flash of memories related to those small B.C. towns we traversed across: Cranbrook, Creston, Salmo, Grand Forks, Osoyoos, Princeton, have I forgotten any? Indeed, the last few weeks have been a blur; a string of images, small oddities, and observable changes in the landscape and vegetation, which has caused me to ponder my own walking odyssey, specifically, will the ending be a similar experience: summed up by the last moment, the last kilometer, and that last step to the finish?