Photo: Neil Zeller
Dave Proctor celebrates with team MitoCanada at the 2016 Calgary Marathon expo.
It was an epic feat, running 260.4K that literally went nowhere. But for world-class ultrarunner Dave Proctor, his 24 solid hours on a treadmill took him places and taught him things he never knew.
“I’d never hurt that bad before in a race,” he says of his leading role in seeing seven world treadmill running records fall during the Calgary Marathon expo. With 90 minutes to go, Proctor’s 35 year-old body began to shut down, his gut in knots. He stopped for a bathroom break and could barely move past a walking pace when he stepped back on the treadmill.
His friend, Blaine Penny, held his hand and reminded Proctor why they were running – their children … trying to uncover the mysteries of mitochondrial disease … running for those who can’t.
“There was nothing more emotional than seeing Blaine’s face and two fathers who desperately love our children,” Proctor says. “I’ve done enough running but never had that emotional connection.
“I had nothing left, but I started running faster than when I started.”
Penny was among a group of runners who also set treadmill running records that weekend, including Arielle Fitzgerald, who ran the fastest women’s 50K (3:51) and 100K (8:30) solo on a treadmill. A 12-man team ran a 24-hour relay, covering 394.76K, and dozen women took turns compiling 344.45K. With more than 1,000K underfoot, the runners raised $75,000 for MitoCanada.