Thursday, November 27, 2008

High Speed...

People ask me- "How's the body holding up?", or "Are you tired?", or "How can you keep going for such a long time?"

It has now been over 8 months and 7,250 kms since St. John's, NL and I have more energy than ever before.  The other night I took a look at the average run speeds on the RunTheDream.ca website and discovered my average distance per hour has steadily increased (Maritimes- 8-8.5 kms/hr; Ontario- 8.5-9kms; The Prairies- 9.5 kms/hr; B.C.- 10 kms/hr).  Do I actually feel like I am going faster?-Absolutely Not!  
I keep running because every road is a new ray of light

Everyday is a new audience, a new experience on and off the road, and a new spectacular environment to observe and think "This is Canada?".  I am a Canadian with a simple message..... Every Canadian should "Dream As Though You've Never Failed!"  At this point in our history, this country needs greater leadership from all Canadians, to educate themselves about the growing issue of Autism, to research more about this puzzling disorder, and provide the adequate support and services to those in need of assistance.  I live in a country that embraces diversity and shares in prosperity. Those affected with Autism have dreams too and deserve the tools and resources to achieve their dream!  I invite all to brainstorm and think of what doors they can open and help support the cause.  
From Sicamous, to Salmon Arm, to Enderby, to Armstrong, me and my orange and yellow vest continue 'The Dream' through the Okanagan Valley. I'd like to thank all the mayors of those towns- Lorraine March, Marty Boostma, Sue Phillips and Chris Pieper for meeting with me. While on a brief 12 hour stop over in Salmon Arm, I was able to speak with the Rotary Club, the Salmon Arm Scout Group, as well as, pick up a new pair of shoes donated by Ray Warner from Cool Running, in Salmon Arm. 

I also met my new friend, Oliver, from Salmon Arm, an aspiring cartographer, who wanted to know where I've run.

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Special thanks to the Best Western, Sicamous and Best Western, Salmon Arm for accommodating 'The Dream'.

The Dream Continues....

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Orange and Yellow Vest...

"To give anything less is a sacrifice of your gift"
                         -Steve Prefontaine
Hello from Sicamous, B.C., well, almost!  In interior British Columbia, I've survived the first set of mountains and am now headed into the Okanagan Valley!  Today, in Craigellachie, I ran by a road that led to the 'Last Spike' of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was driven into the ground by railroad financier Donald A. Smith on November 7, 1885.  It amazes me-regardless of the 14 years of obstacles, such as, missed construction deadlines, natural disasters, financial crises, the difficult terrain, the rebellion, and many lives lost, that the greater opportunity envisioned by Sir John A. MacDonald was upheld, carried through and is now a symbol of Canada's national unity.
This morning, I had the opportunity to meet with Revelstoke Mayor, Mark McKee, and a visit with Arrow Heights Elementary before heading out onto the road.

For those wondering why the orange and yellow vest?  The speed limits through the mountains are still in the 90-100 km/hr range, the road shoulders are narrow in spots, and even with two escort vehicles with warning signs, most traffic is still in a rush.  The vest might not look fashionable, but it's practical and works!  More trucks and cars are slowing down.

I have seen a handful of bald eagles, but am looking forward to seeing my first bear in this province! 

Special thanks to the Glacier Park Lodge, in Roger's Pass; the Days Inn, in Revelstoke; and the Best Western, in Sicamous, for accommodating 'The Dream'. 

Victoria, B.C....Dec 18th....695 kms away...

The Dream Continues...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Golden Times Through Kicking Horse and Rogers Pass...

Happy 150th Birthday British Columbia! On this day, November 19th, 1858, James Douglas stood in the Big House at Fort Langley and read out the proclamation that declared British Columbia a Crown Colony.  
As I write this I am at the Summit of Rogers Pass- 1330 metres above sea level.  It was a tough 45 km run today, but well worth the adventure.  Even the 400 metre climb at the end over the last 15 kms!  Rogers Pass is known for its snowfall- 10 metres per year!  To keep the Trans-Canada Highway open during the winter, the Royal Canadian Military uses 105mm howitzers to knock down the avalanches under controlled circumstances so traffic is not caught in unexpected avalanches.
Rogers Pass is named in honour of Major A.B. Rogers who was hired in 1881 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to find the best rail route from the Kicking Horse Valley, in BC, to the west coast.  To avoid the delay of avalanches on the railway a 14.5 km tunnel exists.  As well,  on the Trans-Canada Highway there are a series a tunnels protecting it from potential avalanches.
Over the next 70 kms, on route to Revelstoke, the elevation will drop 800 metres!  Amazing!

The Dream Continues...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beautiful British Columbia...

"To dream anything you want to dream- That's the beauty of the human mind.  To do anything that you want to do-  That is the strength of human will.  To trust yourself to test your limits- That is the courage to succeed."
-Bernard Edmonds
Hello British Columbia and hello Mother Nature!  Sunday was a scheduled running day, however, the plans changed due to a significant winter storm, hitting the Lake Louise, Field and Golden area.  For the next week I'll be running in elevations between 11oo- 1600 metres.  Let's hope the run can stay the course despite set backs like these!
The white stuff may look beautiful, but as the RCMP, in British Columbia, has reminded us- Be Careful!  To be more careful, Purolator has donated a Ford Taurus to the Run The Dream fleet, which has the task of warning motorists and transports at least 250 metres before they encounter me and the Ford Escape.  There are a lot of twists, turns, hills and blind corners in the mountains, so I am confident we have reduced any significant safety risks while running.  To drive this vehicle, I'd like to thank Andrea McGowan, from Kingston, ON, for coming back out and joining the road crew for the next couple weeks.
So today we got off and running.  I am 42 kms behind, but thanks to the wisdom of my advanced run team, we had decided months ago to plan for set backs like weather and altitude adjustment and build more time into the B.C. run plan.  Right now, there is no other province I'd want to be running in at this time of year.  British Columbia- The last province to be conquered!  The Home Stretch....

973 kms to Victoria, for Dec 18th!

The Dream Continues.......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spreading The Dream, Horner Style....

To the Horner family, of Calgary, this blog is a complete surprise to you, but one well deserved. Over the duration of the run I have seen parents of children with Autism travel every mile and do everything possible to improve the prospects for their child.  The Horner family- Steve, Mavis, Steph, Alex and Bingo are no exception when it comes to helping their son, and brother, John.
The Horner family facilitated with many aspects of Run The Dream in and Calgary.   After being a fixture at their dinner table almost every night I learned a lot about Autism in the west.  It is really no different then the rest of the country- under serviced, under supported, under researched and under educated in the school system.  To them I say thank you!
Friday was a very busy day.  The alarm clock went off at 6:30am, not to run, but rather to talk at Rundle College and Hamptons Elementary.  Great audiences and great questions from all the students!  Later that evening an event was held at the Horner's residence.  Representatives from the Autism Calgary Association, Autism Society Alberta, Autism Aspergers Friendship Society, FEAT of Alberta, Allies for Autism Foundation, Janus Academy and Hope for Healing Children all came out.
Thank you to the City of Calgary for the honour of being 'White Hatted'.  I hope I can live up to the long tradition and the roles and responsibilities which comes with the honour.  I'll try not to get the hat dirty.

Before I left town I did get a chance to see the CFL Western Final, BC vs Calgary, at McMahon Stadium.  Wow!  What a game!  It came down to a 'Hail Mary' pass, by the B.C. Lions, with 1 second left, but the Stampeders held onto a 22-18 victory.

Thank you to the Best Western Port O Call, near the airport, for accommodating and feeding 'The Dream' during my Calgary visit.

The Dream Continues......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello Calgary!! Take Two....

Hello again friends!  Hello again Calgary!  This morning, at 11 am, the final leg of Alberta was completed!  In 8 C weather, it was a nice run along the Trans Canada Highway, then onto the running path along the Bow River, with running partner, Val Bunz, into the downtown core.
On Monday, 2.2 kms east of the Morley Road and Trans-Canada Highway Junction, the 7000th km was completed.  The feeling- Unreal!!!  The total running distance left is under 1000 kms!
Welcoming Run The Dream at City Hall today was (L to R) Steve Horner, Past President of Autism Calgary; Lauren Brooke, Office Manager at Autism Calgary; Val Bunz Autism Calgary's Friend 2 Friend Program Presenters; and Lyndon Parakin, Executive Director of Autism Calgary.
I would also like to thank the Horner family (Steve, Mavis, Alexandria, Stephanie and John) and the Calgary Flames organization for working together to promote Run The Dream at the Calgary Flames game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Remembrance Day.

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The Dream Continues...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rocky Mountain Running...

"History proves that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."
                              -Barack Obama
Hello from Rocky Mountains!  Last Wednesday, Alex and I drove out to the AB/BC border to run the final 200 kms, in Alberta, west to east, towards Calgary, in anticipation of our events in Calgary from Nov 12th-14th.
Last Thursday, the run went from the border to Castle Mountain (35kms) and on Friday, from Castle Mountain to Canmore (51kms).  Friday, was a full day, which started with running from 8:30-10:30am, a meeting with Banff Councillor Leslie Taylor, then off to Banff Elementary School for a visit with the kids before heading back out onto the road to finish the daily distance.  As usual, all the kids at the Banff Elementary had great questions and comments!
Hard to imagine how fast time has gone.  Today, by the end of day, will be km 7,000!

The Dream Continues....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hello Calgary!! (for the first time)....

All the warm weather has disappeared and replaced with snow.  This picture was taken about 30 kms east of Calgary.  Yesterday, you could see the Calgary Skyline and the Rocky Mountains. Today, I couldn't see it until I reached the Bow River (about 6kms from the City Centre).
It was a wet 41 km run but remarkably the New Balance 768's held up to the slushy road conditions and I never had to change my socks!

Running in Alberta will be unique situation for the Dream.  In the prairies, I was averaging around 50 kms a day.  Most of our events in Calgary will not be happening until later next.  In the meantime, I am headed to the BC/AB border tomorrow and will be running towards Calgary again, arriving at City Hall next Wednesday at 11am.
Special thanks to the Calgary Police Force for the first of two escorts into town!  Time to head to into the Rocky Mountains.
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FYI- For those following the U.S. politics. I was investigating what the policy stance was by Barack Obama, the next President of the United States, regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders. Interestingly, it is the only specific issue, relating to a disability, they have a separate PDF document on to address the topic.

The Dream Continues....

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Chinook Experience...

"Spirit needs matter to become substantial; matter meeds spirit to become meaningful."
                                   -Anonymous

According to the road signs, and aid of the Google topographical map, the landscape will soon be changing in about 272 kms! My last day of wearing shorts was yesterday!  A balmy 17 C!  The chinook winds are a big help!
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit Margaret Wooding School in Redcliff, AB, the greenhouse capital of the prairies.  Thank you to Principal Stuart Shigehiro and the students for the opportunity to share my debut slideshow presentation of the Run The Dream experience!  Special hello to my new friend Chance!
On Friday, I met with Martin Shields, Mayor of Brooks.  He told me if I was looking for work his town was full of it!  I could start working at the meat packing plant the next day and within a year I would most likely end up in the oil fields. I politely declined because I am still enjoying my current experience.  But seriously, this town has a vibrant energy experienced nowhere else!
Also, thank you to Cathy and Richard of Lakeshore B&B, in Brooks, for hosting the Dream!

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This morning, before running, Alex and I made a quick driving detour over to Dinosaur Provincial Park.  Amazing view and drive!  The park is well known for being one of the greatest dinosaur fossil beds in the world!  In 1979, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Happy Halloween! The Dream Continues.....