Long Distance


I have started training to run a distance of 90km (just over two full marathons). The reason is I plan to do a fundraiser next year where I’ll run from Leduc to Camrose in a single day in advance of the 2015 Johnson MS Bike Tour. My rough plan as it stands right now is to do the run the weekend prior to next year’s tour and then ride in the tour the following weekend. My hope is to raise additional money for my MS Bike Tour team, “The Battered Piles.” I’ve trained to run before, but never a distance this long and I’m sure it will be the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever endured; pre or post MS.

However, I’m excited for the challenge and looking forward to it.

When I have discussed these plans with other people, for the most part, I just get a “look.” The look isn’t one of support, but rather a combination of, “there’s no way you’ll be able to do that” and “you’re nuts.” I’m not sure if the reaction is due to my having Multiple Sclerosis or that the idea of running that far just seems crazy to people. It could be a combination of the two. It could also be due to the my physical stature which is more rugby player than distance runner. I can’t be sure.

I’ve had some recent news which has galvanized my resolve to make this run happen. Over the weekend I learned that a dear Aunt has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She has been fighting off cancer for 15 years, but it now appears that it can’t be stopped. About 6 months after my diagnosis with MS, during the winter/spring of 2007/2008, my Aunt was yet again battling cancer and I was coming to grips with how to emotionally deal with my MS. I had just started running and thinking about training to run my first 1/2 marathon. My immediate and extended family formed, “Team Solidarity.” This team would run or walk on their own and track their mileage. The goal was to symbolically go the distance between Edmonton and Calgary (roughly 320 kms) as a show of support for my Aunt’s battle with cancer and my battle with MS. We more than made the distance and it was a wonderful moment for a family.

Pride doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.

So I embark on this challenge with a heavy heart and a strong purpose. It is more clear to me now than ever that you only get one shot at life, so why be content on playing it safe? My way of thinking has shifted and I now look at people who look at me like I’m crazy for doing something like this and think, “right back at you.” To me everyone is nuts for not wanting to do something like this and not the other way around.  You don’t fight cancer for 15 years by accepting fate, you fight it that long by trying to alter it. Same goes with MS.

As for the run itself, I have no doubt I’ll be able to cover the distance. I have 14 months to train and even it if takes me 10 hours to run, so be it. I’ll have my family in my thoughts the entire way.

4 thoughts on “Long Distance”

  1. Avatar

    I am moved beyond words . . . we are a family of “quiet strengths”! Sean, you have the gift of putting things “in a nutshell”. Inspiring words . . . thank you . . .

  2. Avatar
    André Giasson

    … thank you my dear nephew… very well done and superbly and lovingly expressed. God bless. André

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