Written and provided by Margaret Story on April 24, 2021:
In the Summer of 2020 a lone runner from the Brockville area was looking for a personal challenge that would motivate her to keep running throughout the long and frustrating Covid pandemic, and possibly beyond. The challenge provided to her was to complete a virtual run across Canada and to complete the run prior to her retirement from a 35 year career in the Ontario Public Service.
And so it was that Margaret Story began to participate in a virtual run across Canada. On July 01, 2020 Margaret and her husband Bob attended Hardy Park in Downtown Brockville where Margaret ceremoniously dipped her foot in the St. Lawrence River (as a substitute for the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Spear) and began to run. For every kilometre actually run along the local roads of Brockville, Prescott and the surrounding areas Margaret logs one kilometre along her nationwide journey.
Now, with more than 10 months behind her Magaret has run a virtual course:
- Cape Spear to Port-Aux-Basques in Newfoundland,
- then transferred over to North Sydney in Nova Scotia’s beautiful Cape Breton
- before crossing over the Northumberland Strait to continue the run in Prince Edward Island.
- Then it was back to the mainland via the Confederation Bridge and on through New Brunswick
- On Saturday April 24 Margaret reached the Quebec / New Brunswick border, thus covering 1,853 of the more than 7,100 kilometers stretching from Cape Spear to her target of Victoria, British Columbia.
If Margaret is able to keep the pace she has maintained thus far she will be reaching Montreal at about the time of the run’s 1 year anniversary. To date Margaret has been averaging approximately 45 kilometres per week. To maintain the pace she finds it necessary to run in good weather as well as bad. She is very excited that the winter is behind us for a while and she can be assured of good Ontario weather for the next 6 – 7 months.
For many years now Margaret has been an avid member and participant of the Brockville Road Runners Club. During non-covid times she would meet regularly with other club members and run pre-determined routes in and around the Brockville area. Since Covid arrived and brought with it an ever increasing list of restrictions it has been frowned upon to run with friends and club members. Many runners across Ontario and more specifically Brockville have found themselves running on their own, Margaret found this lonely and felt her motivation levels dropping. It was the ‘Coast2Coast’ challenge that has helped her maintain her commitment to running, in the absence of the usual race schedule.
As Margaret participates in the Coast2Coast virtual run Bob has been busy himself. Although not a runner Bob is contributing to the journey by keeping a journal/log of the run, compiling facts on historical points of interest, highlighting many sights, landmarks, and attractions along the route. It is Margaret and Bob’s hope that one day this journal/log will help others, specifically children, gain a better understanding of this great and diverse country. And, what a great souvenir for Margaret to celebrate her achievement.
Margaret appreciates that she hasn’t had any ailing injuries or illnesses thus far along the route. She is feeling healthy and believes she is in the best running form she has been in for many years. The same can’t be said for her running shoes. She has worn out four pairs of running shoes and orthotics thus far. She is very appreciative of a good friend who has a chiropractic practice in Prescott. He makes sure she is always fitted and ready to go.
There is one final aspect of this challenge that Margaret is very excited about. When her virtual run is over, and she has retired from the Ontario Public Service she and Bob are planning to take several months and actually revisit her route by driving across Canada together. Although they have been to both the East and West Coasts on several occasions, they have been whirlwind visits and the couple have never really taken the time to gain a fuller understanding and appreciation of this wonderful country. Although Margaret has been to many parts of the world, she anticipates that this cross Canada driving tour will be the trip of her lifetime.
So, for the next 5,300 kilometers of the Coast2Coast challenge Margaret will continue to do what she has apparently become very committed to, putting one foot in front of the other, and continuous kilometres behind her.