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Endurance athlete completes 300-km charity run through Rockies

Endurance athlete Matt Devine (centre) begins a 300-kilometre run in Jasper on June 21. The race was to raise money for the Rainbow Society of Alberta. | P.Shokeir photos

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

Endurance athlete Matt Devine managed to run 300 kilometres through the Rockies in late June to raise funds for children fighting illness.

The 7 in 7 Ultra Endurance Charity Run began in Jasper on June 21 and ended in Canmore seven days later on June 28.

By the end of this arduous journey, Devine had been in “pretty rough shape.”

“I had developed some severe feet issues with tearing and ripping and a loss of a toenail,” Devine said.

“And unfortunately, my calves and my shin flared up, and it got to the point where on the last day I couldn’t even run. I had to walk the full distance.”

The physical wear and tear were predictable, but Devine noted that they did overestimate how nice the weather would be.

The first two days had rain, while the third day had snow close to the Icefield, and just past it, there was a severe snowstorm with low-hanging clouds and whiteout conditions.

“My feet got very wet, and I didn’t have the proper gear to run in that weather, so just the first few days of weather really put me into a whole, and I wasn’t prepared for that,” he said.

Coming out of that, there was warmer weather over 20 C that may have been pleasant for some but makes running a marathon quite difficult.

Devine also had a few bear encounters that required him to jump into his support van and be shuttled around.

The run was raising money for the Rainbow Society of Alberta, which grants wishes to sick children.

Devine has already surpassed his fundraising goal of $50,000, and those interested can still donate at the Rainbow Society of Alberta’s website.

“The feedback has not only been positive around the work that we did and the money we raised, but it’s also a lot of people feel very inspired by the possibility of what the human body’s capable of, especially when you got a great team surrounding you,” he said.

While still recuperating, Devine and his team are already planning the next big event, but Devine said he would likely find someone else to take the torch.

Devine offered advice for anyone interested in undertaking a similar challenge.

“I would suggest that they set realistic expectations,” he said.

“Running 300 kilometres was in my wheelhouse, because I had a base of fitness, and I had a great trainer who gave me a plan.”

Endurance athletes should develop that base of fitness, engage the right people and build themselves a solid team not only before the event but also during the event. 

“You need to understand that you’re going to encounter things out there you wouldn’t expect, and having somebody with knowhow, like how to tape feet or how to consume the right foods, is critical,” Devine said.

“If you got out and just try something like this on your own, it’s not going to end well.”

Above all, Devine wanted people to know that it was possible to complete such a run.

“If anybody has a wish to better themselves not only personally but (by) helping provide some sort of benefit to other people through a charity, it’s a really worthwhile undertaking.”

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