Martin Parnell’s 10-Year Journey with IMPACT

How a magazine helped marathoner Martin Parnell become a household name while raising cash and consciousness

Martin Parnell
Martin is a world-class endurance athlete, 5-time Guinness World Record holder, author, speaker and philanthropist from Calgary, AB.
Photo: Charles Hope

A decade ago, IMPACT Magazine published an article in their 2011 Running Issue titled “12 million steps to Success.” It shared the story of a challenge I had set myself a year earlier, to run 250 marathons in one year and raise $250,000 for the humanitarian organization Right To Play.

However, publisher Elaine Kupser and her team didn’t just write the story, they were part of the story. The 100th marathon took place on Sunday June 6, 2010 and Elaine organized a party at Eau Claire Market. Over 80 people turned up and she had cake for everyone.

Over the years, my running and fundraising continued and IMPACT was with me all the way. In 2011, it was hanging out with The Fitness Guy, Pete Estabrooks while playing 61 hours of netball and setting a Guinness World Record, or my annual New Year’s Eve 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon. Elaine was there again, even when temperatures hit -36 C and it was too cold for the Penguins at the Calgary Zoo to go outside.

Recently, Elaine and IMPACT have been a big supporter of my efforts to help the women and girls in Afghanistan who run for freedom and equality. In 2015 I read an article about the first Afghan woman who had run a marathon and the challenges she faced during her training. As she ran along the street men would verbally abuse her and throw rocks at her to stop running. But she didn’t quit. She went back to her walled garden and ran around and around for hours on end to get her mileage in.

I travelled to Afghanistan in 2016 and ran a marathon in support of these women and girls and in the 2017 Running Issue, Kate Mckenzie, Co-Director of The Secret Marathon film, wrote an article telling the story of these courageous and powerful women and girls.

Over the years, Elaine, editor Chris Welner, Pete and the rest of the IMPACT team have become friends. IMPACT is more than a magazine, it is a family. It is a community of individuals who believe in an active lifestyle, who need a place to gather and that place is IMPACT Magazine. 

IMPACT shares stories, it allows us to look beyond our horizon and dream of what could be. IMPACT has been publishing for 30 years now and I have been on my dream journey for 10 years with them.

I’m looking forward to the next 10.

Photography by Charles Hope

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