A Valentine’s Run for The Heart & Stroke Foundation


If you haven’t read it yet, Canadian marathoner and journalist Mark Sutcliffe wrote a brilliant book on running called Why I Run — a series of running exposes and short stories including his own marathon (42.2 km) when he turned 42.2 years of age. Immediately when I read his account I did the calculations and figured that there is a window from late January to early March next year when I will be 42.2 years old.

When my father died last year he requested donations to be made to the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation. And in my grief I thought, What about a Valentine’s Run for Heart & Stroke? It would be a marathon when I turn 42.2 years old. It would be for a great cause. And it would be for my dad.

Eager to put this idea in motion and still very grief stricken I contacted Heart & Stroke and told them of my idea. They were on board and suggested I contact them in August if I still wanted to proceed. Well I didn’t contact them. They contacted me. And now I’m having second thoughts.

Shortly after I contacted H&S at the beginning of this year I got very badly hurt on a training run when I slipped on ice. Winter is a very challenging time for runners and that fall really shook me up. This isn’t a sanctioned race. No one’s going to be clearing the streets for me.  Cars will still be a factor. And what if Mother Nature decides to send a blizzard my way?

What if I get hurt before the run? Or during the run? What if I fail? Moreover, what if no one cares? What if I don’t raise any money? Even as a cute kid collecting money for charity I didn’t get that much money. Well I’m not a cute kid anymore. And what if I let my dad down?

Physically I know I can do it. But I’m worried. Running for myself is easy. Running for someone else has so much more responsibility attached to it. I’m not the first to take on such a challenge and I wonder what others felt like when they had the courage to announce their own lofty intentions. I’m no Rick Hansen or Terry Fox. But I’d love to hear their thoughts on what went through their minds when they took on their infinitely more daunting and daring missions.

Ultimately this is about me and my dad. And he’d be the first to say that if the weather is bad not to bother. I know he’s proud of me unconditionally. And even if I cut a cheque to Heart & Stroke and that money is the only money the foundation gets, it’s still better than nothing isn’t it? And if someone did pledge my efforts, would he or she really kick up a fuss if I didn’t finish my run? After all the money is going to charity, not to me.

I’ve always been of the belief that you go for your dreams, focus on the positive outcomes, and let the details take care of themselves. Maybe it’s time I remember this ethos and step up for charity. With that in mind, here’s the email I’ve just sent to the Heart & Stroke Foundation:

Hi Erin!

Thank you for your email. I’m definitely in  🙂  There is a window from late January to early March 2014 when I am 42.2 years old and I am thinking of running a Valentine’s Run for Heart & Stroke on Friday February 14, 2014.  My father died in December 2012 and he wanted donations made to H&S. I figured this run would be a wonderful way of honouring my father and his wishes.

I don’t have a route officially made up. Right now I was thinking it would just be me and my Garmin GPS watch marking off the 42.2 km on the day. I can post the route online when I’m done to prove that I did the full marathon. As it isn’t an official race, it may take me longer than normal given traffic conditions. I’ll likely be stopping in corner stores to get food and water. But I will complete the 42.2 km.

Please let me know how to proceed.

Thank you,






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