Mission accomplished for the Rossland and Nelson Run Clubs’ Move for Movember fundraiser for men’s mental health.
Not only did the participants complete the 74.5-km run from Nelson to Trail on Saturday (Nov. 19), the runners also reached their fundraising goal.
“I think I’ve shocked myself here, as physically, I felt fairly strong throughout the day and that definitely played a huge roll mentally,” run organizer Neil Farynowski told the Times. “Sure I had my low points but never did I really sink into the pain cave.
“Another reason for my mental fortitude was definitely believing so much in what we were doing on the day and having so many people along for the ride there to support and help us in any way, which, is really a true testament to the Trail running community as a whole.
“This morning we successfully surpassed our fundraising goal of $2,500,” he added. “But let’s keep it going and blow that out of the water.”
It was a chilly -9C with icy winds blowing off Kootenay Lake when just after 7 a.m., Rossland Run Club (RRC) members Farynowski, Roger Hull, Marc Caruth and Nelson’s Connor Sherman left Lakeside Park on a quest to run a distance of almost two marathons.
They were joined by a couple of run companions for the first 18 km, but it was just the four of them once they made a turn onto the Rover Forest Service Road (FSR), then through a series of back trails and powerlines to the hill overlooking the Blewett Dam and Ward’s Ferry Trail to Glade.
At the south end of Glade their trusty crew met them and provided warm instant noodles and snacks before resuming their run and the remaining 42-k.
This section followed the Skabotta Reach trail to the Brilliant Power Station then dropped down to the highway. They continued for a short distance along the road to the Doukhobor Discovery Center near Castlegar where the runners were met again by their crew for a much needed sock and shoe change plus some hot tea.
At this critical point they were joined by another four runners in Eva, Dave, Scott and Jane all members of the Rossland club. The added crew members gave a much-needed morale boost as they headed into their final leg of the run along the Columbia River Trail from Castlegar to Trail.
“The most difficult section for me was at the 45 km mark,” said Hull. “I had hit a point where my knees were aching, I was dehydrated, I was struggling to keep up.
“With 25-k to go, I was worried I wouldn’t finish. Not too long after that, some other amazing RRC members that had joined the run started playing music, dancing, and singing, which, was hilarious and somehow made me forget about most of the pain I was experiencing.”
As they ran in the darkness with headlamps bobbing, they were met by the snowiest section yet. The conditions conspired against them as the group made a wrong turn down a dead end path. A minor hitch on their journey, as they regrouped, found their way back to the trail and were soon back on track.
“Spirits remained high and we were able to maintain our goal pace of eight minutes per kilometre,” said Farynowski. “The final 3-km through Sunningdale was met with cheers as the familiar lights of Teck were pointed out in the night sky.”
The runners were joined by members from both clubs for the last stretch down Hillside Dr., creating a convoy of Movember movers to the finish line at the Gyro Park Pavillion. Amazingly, the runners completed the almost 75-k run in 10 hours and 15 min.
“Mentally I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment; physically I am feeling battered,” said Caruth. “However, my discomfort is minor and shortlived compared to those going through cancer treatment.
“Ultimately, the success from this run is the fundraising we’ve been able to accomplish and the promotion of taking care of each other’s mental health - the foundation of the Movember charity.”
The Movember fundraiser goes until Nov. 30, so as Farynowski says, “Let’s keep it going and blow that out of the water!”
Go online at ca.movember.com, hover over the ‘Donate’ button and enter the name of one of the runners or the group: Move for Movember 69K Trail Run. As of press time Thursday the funds raised was over $3,100 and counting.