My Outrun Rare Story
My Outrun Rare Story
As Dave Proctor begins his historic record breaking cross-Canada run today, here’s an account of my experience raising money for Outrun Rare during the Outrun-rare-a-thon held last March. My participation was graciously sponsored by the Calgary Roadrunners, and the club was a big part of how I came to be interested in the event!
I first learned about Dave Proctor and his special brand of madness firsthand when I saw him cross the finish line of the Calgary Marathon 2017 150km solo event. I had been feeling pretty hardcore having ran a leg for the relay event on the CRR team in the wee hours of that morning. It goes without saying that seeing this absolutely dominating performance by Dave altered my perspective somewhat. I was curious how someone could accomplish such a feat, but the stark contrast between what he had done and anything I had personally experienced relegated this to a passing interest in something extremely impressive but ultimately unrelatable.
So, fast-forward to November 2017 when I heard Dave would be speaking at the CRR AGM: Here was my chance! I was going to figure this crazy person out. I came to the dinner and waited eagerly for Dave’s talk expecting him to discuss things like the structure of his training regime, and itemize the ingredients to his resounding success. What I got instead was an extremely moving account of how Dave had been inspired by various events in his life to run with purpose and leverage his platform and ability as an elite athlete toward projects like Outrun Rare. Through his breezy demeanor and evident conviction I went from being impressed by Dave as an athlete toward respecting him as a person.
Following this I began to follow news related to Outrun Rare, and heard about the upcoming Outrun-rare-a-thon held on March 4 2018 at an indoor track near Calgary. This was an opportunity for runners to interact with Dave as well as raise money through pledges for distance completed. I knew I had to be involved, and to challenge myself I spontaneously signed up for the first half of the day, a four hour time block. Having never ran anywhere near this long at one time I promptly started to freak out!
Once the dust settled, I set toward the tasks of training for the event and collecting pledges. For the former the CRR training groups were a great help, and outside this I started increasing my distance including such memorable runs as 30k outside on a frigid Family Day. For the latter the CRR were incredibly generous by providing a pledge of one dollar per lap of the ~250m track. The challenge was set!
I arrived at the track at 8:30 am on the cold morning of March 4 full of apprehension, unsure of how my body would respond over the next four hours. The event kicked off with some fanfare including music, an MC and the rhythmic pounding of about 50 runners’ feet.
I started running with the lead group feeling strong and excited to be underway. Dave was on the track running intermittently between attending to various event commitments, and I was sure to be nearby whenever he was. After about 45 minutes of running he turned to me in warm greeting and asked how I was doing. I was a bit star-struck at this moment, but tried to keep it cool. I said I was doing pretty well, but would be there for a while. He asked me specifically how long a while was, and was surprised and happy to hear about the duration and pledge support for my run!
After Dave moved on I took stock of how I was feeling at the one hour mark and the situation was decidedly worse than anticipated. The surface of the track was very hard, and I was really feeling the impact with every step. Adding to this, the relative tightness of the short loop had my right outside hip in serious discomfort from the continuous turning to my left.
As I continued I talked with some of the other participants, some of which were part of Dave’s team. Wayne Gaudet, Dave’s road support during Outrun Rare, was particularly interesting and an exemplar for the many great people Dave has supporting him. We discussed his upcoming journey with Dave as well as his involvement in starting an athletic club for local kids in Okotoks. He was familiar with the CRR and appreciative of the support for Outrun Rare.
The event atmosphere was celebratory throughout, with many runners coming and going and several attractions down on the field level for kids. It was bracing to see so many people were there together in support of Dave’s singular goal. As I talked to other runners it became apparent how much people with a wide diversity of backgrounds were invested in the project, and hopeful for Dave’s success. Thankfully as time went on I started to adapt to the discomfort from the unusual running conditions of the track, and was sure to drink and eat regularly; I was lucky to have help from a special someone who kept track of my laps and handed me everything I needed so I didn’t have to stop!
At the two hour mark the direction was reversed, which was a great relief. I began to feel confident that I would be able to finish the run, and settled into a steady running flow. Eventually Dave approached me again and asked me whether I was a regular ultra-marathon runner. Stifling a laugh I told him truthfully that I mostly race 10ks. He was a bit surprised and bemused at my attempting a personal longest run at the event, and reiterated his appreciation for my fundraising. I told him how important the CRR and its members had been in getting me involved, and how the club was in his corner and generously supporting my run. Dave was extremely grateful for the support, and was very frank in conversation about the challenges of a project like Outrun Rare in terms of publicity and outreach that were new to him and often daunting. In talking to Dave I discovered, not surprisingly, an extremely wholehearted individual who absolutely exudes positivity and excitement for life.
Within the final hour I began to feel fairly worn down, and time dragged by slowly. With about 20 minutes to go Dave stepped out on the track in front of me and beckoned me on. It was a great feeling to have Dave there in solidarity at the painful end. To distract me we talked about various idle things like what I was going to eat after the run. He recommended a burger. Mustering all the speed I had left in my legs, I flew around the track in celebration for the last two laps with Dave and others cheering me on. In all I had ran 186 laps and about 48km to a best estimate; my first marathon plus some spare change! I tallied my pledge total and settled the donation with Dave’s brother Dan before heading home satisfied with my effort.
The day after the event Dave sent a personal message of thanks, and let me know there was a unique prize for me to pick up at Gord’s running store since I had raised the most at the event! I arrived to receive a 3L bottle of wine donated by one of his sponsors. Cool! I pondered what I could do with such a prize, and realized there was only one place it should be: with the people who helped me win it! I brought the bottle to the CRR XC awards night where I was happy to see it shared among the club, mostly in little plastic cups. Because we’re classy like that.
So ends my recollection of the Outrun-rare-a-thon. As I watch Dave’s real-time progress entering Mission BC I’m excited to follow his journey in the months to come and proud to have made a small contribution to Outrun Rare. This never would have been possible without the support of this amazing club, for which I will always be thankful!