Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Farewell to Nova Scotia...

So I couldn't sleep last night.  The alarm was set to go off at 6am to finish off the run from Annapolis Royal to Digby, but the sun and I rose up at 5:30 instead.  Special thanks to Carly for waking up and driving/escorting me along the route at that hour.  I make no promises that it'll be the last time.
We finished at 10:30am, but I wanted to leave the last 100 metres for 7 year old Kate Harrington, who drove over an hour, from Yarmouth, with some of her family members.  Kate arrived around lunchtime.  Her mom, Ann, was explaining to me about the need for an Autism Service Dog which costs about $18,000 and is not covered by any health plan.  We all went to lunch in Digby and Kate had done a lollipop fundraiser for Run The Dream, which raised over $30!  Young entrepreneur in the making!  She also did her homework and knew my obsession with Dr. Pepper, hence I now have 12 more cans of it!

So, it has been 48 running days, over 1600 kms run and now a third province done. Special thanks to the Digby Pines Resort for accommodating Run The Dream for our last night in Nova Scotia.  And to their entire friendly staff!  

Got to go catch my 4:30 ferry to Saint John. Thank you Nova Scotia!

The Dream Continues..... 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Isn't It Ironic??.. Don't you think??

Cue the Alanis Morisette.."It's like rain, are you ready?"...We were ready all day for the rain, but it held off for the full day of fun events between Middleton to Annapolis Royal.  Where should I start?
In Middleton, East Annapolis Elementary School showed their support for Run The Dream by bringing out all 600 of their students.  In comparison to running on the quiet roads it is quite an adrenaline rush when you here kids chanting "Run The Dream" from a few blocks away. Thank you to the staff and students for taking time out of their classroom teaching.
In Lawrencetown, Lawrencetown Consolidated School came out in full force and lined the main street with all their students as well.  I was very impressed that they have a school cheer and that every student knows it and chants it at the top of their lungs!  Another big thank you!
Last, but certainly not least, is special mention to Victor for his hard work of making a card, signed by all the peers at his school.  And to Victor's mom for the Dr. Pepper which I am enjoying right now!

The Dream Continues.....39 kms left in Nova Scotia!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Good Morning, Good Morning....

"Ninety-nine percent of your fears are unfounded and exist in your imagination. Confront them!"
Hello from in between Kentville and Wolfville (home of Acadia University)!  The road team said goodbye to Kevin Cassan who departed, Friday night, back to Mississauga.  I 'cheers' the work Kevin had to do for us.  If it wasn't for the running, I'd have an Alexander Keith's beer with him.  Carly Murdock and Alex Bittner have been taking charge.  Very soon I will be introducing our new road additions!
On Saturday, Run The Dream had the opportunity to visit the Halifax Citadel on the way out of town.  Since Halifax's founding, in 1749, Citadel Hill has played an important role to deter an overland assault on the city and dockland.  The Citadel has continued to serve a role with the Canadian military.  During two world wars the Citadel served as a sentinel on the home front and a symbol for those departing overseas.  And of course, it has an amazing view of the entire city!

As we departed Halifax the vehicle was in need of a car wash and there just happened to be a group of young people from Edgewood Oxford United Church having a fundraising car wash and BBQ.  They are raising money for their trip to El Salvador, this summer, to interact with youth there, as well as experience cultural, environmental and economic differences.  Nice to see a group of individuals take on the initiative to educate oneself about other peoples issues!  Great Work!
On Sunday, Alex and I were invited out to Kingston for an afternoon at Duck Pond with Judy Henwood, her family, including Victor, and other families in the Annapolis Valley who have children with autism..Photos to come in the next entry!

Run The Dream would like to thank The Old Orchard Inn, exit 11, off highway 101 for being our home for the weekend.  The scenery in the valley reminds me of the Niagara region, back home in Ontario.  The vineyards, apple orchards and farms make for a picturesque running backdrop!

The Dream Continues.....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cloud Number Nine....

Another dream week completed and what a week it was!  The running continued but the most important progress made away from the road.

Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to join the Special Olympics outdoor practice, at St. Mary's University.  It was a nice occasion to spend some time with a group of athletes who focus on having fun and truly embody the spirit of team success.

Wednesday, for only the second time, in the Nova Scotia Legislative history, a special resolution was passed by all parties, endorsing Run The Dream and working towards providing greater services and support to children and families with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Special thanks to the Premier Honourable Rodney MacDonald; Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, Darrell Dexter; and Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil on their leadership for this cause. For more info about this event you can visit .

There was also a rally outside the Province House. With the permission of the city we were able to shut down Granville St and enjoy some music (thanks to Telfer, Faded Blue, Cathy Hutch and BJ McKelvie) as well as enjoy some food (thanks to M&M Meat Shops).  The whole day was a great success and special thanks to all those who travelled from Cape Breton and other far destinations to join us!
So it is now time to carry on.  Today I finished up running to New Ross and am only 169 kms from the Digby Ferry (the end of the Nova Scotia leg).

Thank you to:

City Councillor, Partrick Murphy, for welcoming Run The Dream, to Halifax, on behalf of Mayor Peter Kelly; Vicki Harvey, President of the Nova Scotia Autism Society; the Quality Inn Mic Mac, in Dartmouth, for 7 complimentary nights and excellent customer service; Jessica Roy, Dartmouth, for being my run partner into the city; and Audrey Ellsworth-Williams (Nova Physio Message Therapy, Timberlea)

The Dream Continues....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hello from Halifax!

"Happiness is only real when shared."
- Christopher McCandless (Into The Wild)

The title of today's blog is a little pre-emptive, give or take 26 kms, but after this afternoon's 50kms, accompanied by a jump into Fletcher's Lake, will make tomorrow's run to the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal an enjoyable and relaxed one! 40 run days are in the books!This past weekend was the Bluenose Marathon here in Halifax and I couldn't stay away on my day off. And yes, I felt like jumping in, but my first Americano, in two months, from Starbucks held me back, as well as leaving all my running shoes in Truro! For those interested, this marathon is a tough one! I have never seen a course layout on such tough terrain- Hills, hills and more hills. But I guess if you like a good challenge this is the place to be! The winning time was 2 hrs and 48 mins. I am always a fan of a good running story and so as the finishers crossed the line the announcer would be saying things like: "This runner, finishing 3rd, with a time of 3 hrs 12 mins is 70 years old!" or " This runner is completing his 191st ever marathon!" I was just shaking my head in awe! There is a lot of preparation that goes into training for these races, whether the 2km, 5km, 10km, half marathon or full marathon. A lot of people make promises to run these races and those who follow through on this great achievement should be congratulated!Well friends, this week is shaping up to be a special one (see and so I will have a lot more to report on very soon! Today, I leave you with pictures of the amazing landscape seen over the past 40 running days. I'll let you guess which picture is the fjord like mountains of Newfoundland and Labrador; the calm waters of Bras D'or Lake in Nova Scotia; and the red soil of Prince Edward Island.

The Dream Continues.....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Daydream Believer....

This entry is dedicated to a women who everyone should phone and find out how she managed to raise $2500 in a town of 5000 people!  Now my math skills are not one of my greatest strengths but I do know that works out to 50 cents per person- well beyond the Run The Dream target of 10 cents for every Canadian.
Tammy Chapman CONGRATULATIONS!  Two months ago, while driving out to St. John's, I received an e-mail of appreciation because her son, Dakota, had just been diagnosed. Springhill, Nova Scotia, is a five minute drive off the Trans-Canada Highway and so I made a quick stop to say thank you before heading on to my starting point.  If Springhill does not have a heightened awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders- They do now!  

Yesterday, Run The Dream had the honour of being invited to Springhill for a reception at the local school and town hall. It is people like Tammy Chapman who inspire me!  I am doing the easy part by running, while Tammy and other families have the experience of dealing with the mystery of Autism Spectrum Disorders on a 24/7 basis.

O (a nice surprise!) as I write this Kevin just came back with the Chronicle Herald (Nova Scotia's largest regional circulating paper) and we made the front page headline!  

Well deserved Tammy and the town of Springhill!  Anne 
Murray now has some competition for local heros!
Special Thanks to:
Tammy and her family, for showing how we can all do our part!; Junction Road Elementary, West End Memorial Elementary and Springhill Jr/Sr High School for there generous support;
Mayor Guy Brown; Vickie Harvey, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Autism Society; and the ENTIRE town of Springhill, Nova Scotia!
The Dream Continues..... towards Halifax!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hello From Charlottetown!

Red soil, Cows ice cream and lobster!  It has been a really busy run out here on the island. Aside from indulging in some of the local culture the dream has accomplished another first! Special thanks to the Honourable Premier Robert Ghiz (currently the youngest premier in all of Canada) for the statement of recognition, in the legislature, in support of Run The Dream. For the entire transcript you can go to!  The Premier also made time before the house went into session for a photo-op.  The Honourable Allan Campbell, Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development also was available for the picture and wanted to show his support.
Time to back up to Wednesday morning before all the political activity in the afternoon.  After finishing off the last 14kms a Run The Dream Event was held at Confederation Landing.  Speakers included Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee; Michelle Pineau (left in picture below), President of the PEI Autism Society; Honourable Gerald Greenan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.  Entertainment included Cathy Hutch (right in picture below) as well as Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold.
In other PEI news- The first cruise ship of the year (1 of 37 scheduled) docked today.  The Maasdam is cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal on a 13-day voyage.  I finally figured out why gas prices are only $1.24 per litre!  In PEI the government regulates the pricing and prices only change on the 1st and 15th of the month.  Heard on the radio that they are going to $1.30 today.

It is hard to believe another province is done!  Today is a special day off from running for an event in Springhill, NS!  I will be filling you in about that tomorrow!  Very excited! Nothing but sunny blue skies! 
The Dream Continues....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From New Glasgow to Prince Edward Island

This week started off on a high note! F.H. Macdonald and East Pictou Middle School came out Monday morning to support Run The Dream. Then it was onto Temperance Street Elementary School to meet with some more supportive students.  I had the honour of running with Deputy Mayor Henderson Paris for the majority of Monday's run.  We ran from Temperance Street Elementary over to New Glasgow Town Hall where Tawnya States had arranged a fantastic reception with the mayor and a large group of supporters.  Everything was so well organized!
I would have loved to stay all day but we had a ferry to Prince Edward
 Island to ca
tch and I still had to run 24kms to get there!  We made it though and I had a quick hour nap while we made the 1.5 hour voyage.  When we docked I felt refreshed and felt like running until the sun went down. 45kms away from Charlottetown!
Other Special Mentions of thanks to:
Rodds Royalty Resorts, Charlottetown, for three nights complimentary accomodation
The Dream Continues....

Monday, May 12, 2008

And The Wheels Just Keep On Turning....

"In life, the most difficult battle is to conquer self."

A little recap- Last Monday we started the Nova Scotia leg of the run and this week Run The Dream is taking a three day trip to Prince Edward Island before repositioning itself, on Thursday, for the journey continuing onto Halifax.
For the runners, and others interested in running, a little piece of advice- it is all mental on the road and knowing when to push oneself and when to slow down. Anyone can do this!  You've just got to believe in yourself. Compartmentaliz
ing all thoughts are key!  I prefer the KISS approach (Keep It Simple Stupid!).  Sometimes i
t just happens to be that strengths can also be weaknesses depending on the situation. I admit to being competitive by nature.  However, there is a time a place for everything.  Thus far, I have been surprised by the run results when working towards quality rather then quantity.  For those keeping track at home, or at the office- I started off in Newfoundland and Labrador running 3 kms and walking 1 km.  As of last week, I am now up in the range of running between 5-10kms and walking 1 km, as intervals towards the daily targets.  The results I have achieved speak for themselves:  Shorter time completing the distances (efficiency); Ability to run farther (productivity); Less 'wear and tear' on the body (longevity); and the greater opportunity to address the objectives of Run The Dream, to raise money and awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  There is always room for improvement and I'll continue to strive towards being a better runner and person!  I believe there is a strong correlation!

On another note, my apologies for not mentioning this last week, but Run The Dream is very appreciative of a new support vehicle for the duration of the run.  Special thank you to David and Irene Bodanis, founders of Jake's House for Children with Autism, for donating the use of a Ford Escape (see picture).  We are very excited to have this generous contribution join our fleet to help raise the ASD awareness!

FYI- Big Maritime Events are coming up in Charlottetown, Halifax and Frederiction.  If you are in the area I would love to meet you at hear about your dreams!  Stayed tuned to for more details about these events and when I'll be running through your community.

The Dream Continues...... 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

When All You've Got To Keep Is Strong, Move Along....

Hello from the Comfort Inn, in New Glasgow!  I checked out the google map on our Run The Dream website and could not believe that 254 kms was covered in six days.  The feet are in great shape and the 'Chi' running form is making the distances less taxing on the body, hence the back-to-back 50+ km days.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with Kathleen Chisholm, the mayor of Antigonish, at the town hall. A new Run The Dream first happened as well (1 of 3 mentioned in this blog entry)... Breakfast with the mayor!  Kathleen invited the team out!  How can you say no to the mayor? For those not familiar with Antigonish, the town is home to St. Francis Xavier University.  According to myth- supposedly confirmed by a question on Jeopardy- the X-ring (giving to graduating students of St. FX at convocation) is the most recognized ring in the world after the papal and Super Bowl ring.  Famous alumni include Brian
Mulroney (former Prime Minister of Canada), Frank McKenna (former Premier of New Brunswick), Rodney MacDonald (current Premier of Nova Scotia), Seamus O'Regan (co-host of CTV's Canada AM) and Mike Smith ("Bubbles" from the Trailer Park Boys), to name a few.

As the final run of the week got underway Run The Dream had another first (2nd of 3)....Top story on the news at noon (98.9 X-FM)! And the other new first (3rd of 3)....running on a sidewalk! Yes, I said it- a sidewalk!  Other highlights of the day included meeting up with
 Kristi Murdock (Carly's sister and my longtime best friend, since I was in diapers, on Bramblewood Lane, in Mississauga) and her friend Kara Gillis (from Glace Bay, NS) on the highway.  We'll be seeing them again when we reach Halifax in 10 days!  Special thanks to Aunt Vern and Uncle Bobby (Carly and Kristi's relatives) for having the team over for a pasta dinner.

The weather Gods have been smiling down on us because today (our pre-planned rest day) the forecast has been strong wind, rain and snow!

Happy Mother's Day Mom and all other mothers!

The dream continues........ 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

1,000 KM MILESTONE.....

It seemed like yesterday I was dipping my toe into the Atlantic Ocean.  Time flies when you're having fun!  On Wednesday, with 53 kms left on the TCH of Cape Breton Island, the 1,000 km milestone was reached! 
Great news as I write this...Cape Breton Island is done!  Woke up this morning and had a radio interview with 101.5 FM 'The Hawk'.  The Run The Dream story was broadcasted every half hour, on the morning news, including the warning to motorists that we'd be crossing the Canso Causeway around noon, so expect traffic delays!  The causeway is a 1.4 km stretch connecting Cape Breton Island to the mainland.  With a police escort, it took under 7 minutes to cross. Upon completion, I turned around and noticed that we had caused at least a 50 car back up.  A few people did pull off and give us donations.  After a brief stop for a snack I wanted to get as many kilometres done before the rain came.  I was scheduled to do 42 kms today, but I was feeling good.  I told Kevin and Carly I wanted to post a big number finish, but Kevin threatened to run me over if I dared do 60 kms and also reminded me I still have the rest of the country to run. We compromised at 56 kms, in 7 hours, and I had a Dr. Pepper to celebrate!
Special thank you mentions over the past few days to:
-Inverary Resort, in Baddeck, for a complimentary night;
-Econo Lodge, in Port Hastings, for two complimentary nights;
- Canso PetroCan and Rod's One Stop, for a tank of gas each; and
-Constable Craig Hubley for the Police Escort over the causeway.
The Dream Continues.....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Feet In Motion.....

I'm on my way again. New province, new terrain, new challenges and, best of all, new opportunities.

I'd like to start off with a few special mentions.  Thank you to Michelle Gardiner and her great work with the Autism Society of Cape Breton; Maritime Atlantic for the safe ferry voyage; and 94.9 FM, The Chronicle Herald and Cape Breton Post for covering our first day in Nova Scotia.

Yesterday was a fantastic day!  Another special thanks to the Unique Events Production Team for arranging the first of many events for Run The Dream.  At 9am we kicked off Nova Scotia with a welcome press conference at the ferry terminal.  Words of welcome came from Michelle Gardiner and councillor Gordon McLeod.  The first "Run With Jonathan" was held too!  One of our objectives, to raise awareness about Autism, is by educating school children.  This will be the first of many "Run With Jonathan's" on the east coast.

After we said goodbye, at the ferry terminal, it was time to hit the road running.  One pleasant feature of running on the Trans Canada Highway, in Cape Breton, are the kilometre markers, every kilometre, counting down to the Canso Causeway. 36.5 kilome
tres was completed.  The major challenge of the day was Kelly's Mountain- a 7km stretch 
of highway that reaches an elevation of 240 metres.  How could I turn down this running challenge?  Lots of intense focus was needed because this challenge came at the end of the run, but I got her done and what an adrenaline rush it was to complete it!

The dream continues......

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nova Scotia begins.....

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of the dream."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Run The Dream is on a roll!  Saturday morning, Kevin Cassan, and I, entered North Sydney after a seven hour ferry ride.  When we got on the Joey and Clara Smallwood Ferry we toured around to find our bunks in the dormitory area.  My apologies to the women who was sleeping below me.  I had secured my wallet in my hat and kept it next to me for the night.  However, I was a restless sleeper on this particular night and in the middle of the voyage my wallet slipped between the mattress and landed on her head below.  Ooopps!
Once off the ferry we checked into the Quality Inn, in Sydney, where we have been offered three complimentary nights along with boardroom privileges for the duration of our stay.  To my surprise, it was a very nice gesture for the hotel to recognize us on their sign.  I must also acknowledge that their buffet here is amazing!  I ate until I could no longer pick up my fork.

I should also introduce some new maritime members to our Run The Dream team for everyone.  They have been working around the clock to make sure the Autism Awareness message can make the most meaningful impact in every community we visit in the east.  There is Mike McCarther, Sarah Hill, Aaron Murphy, Alex Tessier and Carly Murdock.  You'll be hearing me mention their name for awhile now.  This is just informal e-introduction!

For those wondering....Where did Alex Bittner go? Don't worry a moose didn't get her!  She loved Newfoundland and Labrador so much that she offered to drive the rental van the 900+ kms back to St. John's.  She'll be flying home to Ontario today to take care of her four-legged friend, named Tucker, who misses her dearly! "CUTE!"  She'll be back though.

9am at the North Sydney Ferry Docks the run continues......

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mother Nature Always Wins!.....

Twenty-eight run days and 900+ kms later, Run The Dream has completed Newfoundland and Labrador!  Just like most stories about the island weather played a factor!
I will take you back about 36 hours ago.  It was windy!  No, I mean really windy!  The final 35.5 kms seemed to be like a two part final exam on Newfoundland and Labrador Weather 101. Part one, yesterday, with the winds gusting up to 90 km/hr in "The Wreckhouse" the plan was just going to be to build in some more time.  Well, mother nature would have none of that!  If anyone is thinking of designing a new ride for a water park- Go visit The Wreckhouse!  To even attempt to move forward the body had to lean into the wind with purpose.  A few times Kevin and I got blown off the road while Alex, who was smart enough to say dry in the car, stayed amused by taking the videos and pictures.  I had not trained for these kind of windy conditions so we packed it in after a long 13 kms.
Today, part two of the exam, and 24 hours later the weather was a complete opposite.  Winds in "The Wreckhouse", if I were generous enough reached 10km/hr.  It was a lot smoother running.  Finished off the last 22.5 kms in under three hours! I was told the Deputy Mayor, Chester Coffin, was available to meet us.  What was a very nice surprise was that I didn't have to drive over to the town hall to meet him at the conclusion of the run because he works at the Ferry Terminal. 
Well, it is with bittersweet emotion to say thank you to all those who assisted Run The Dream, in Newfoundland and Labrador, to where we are now.  I am going to miss hearing the "Yes Boy" or the "My Dear" on a constant basis.  Will I miss the weather?  Well, from a running perspective, only the sunny days with the wind at my back.  I am still undecided about how to replace the Cod Tongues, Fish Cakes, Fisherman Brewis and Moose Soup as a staple food group when I get to the mainland tomorrow.

If I didn't say it enough to everyone...Thank you, thank you, thank you....The dream continues...