Ultramarathoner David Proctor told a packed room of running enthusiasts and supporters at the Canmore Brewing Company on March 5, of his attempts to run across Canada on the shoulder of the Trans Canada Highway.
His first attempt ended in Manitoba after he experienced a painful back injury in 2018, but Proctor isn’t giving up and giving it another try. This time with a new and revised plan starting on May 18 in Newfoundland and finishing in Victoria.
Proctor explained his intention to break the cross-country speed record and run 7,200 kilometers across Canada in 67 days, seven days faster than the 1991 record established by Al Howie.
This time he will run from east Canada to west, while facing oncoming traffic, aiming to cover an average of 108 km per day.
He said his motivation is for his son Sam, who has a rare disease which impacts his balance, co-ordination and dexterity. His journey is called Outrun Rare and he is raising money for the Rare Disease Foundation. He has raised just under $400,000 to date and wants to reach $1 million during this second go-around.
“I don’t get intimidated by distance, I get intimidated by being a parent raising a child with a disability without support. That is why I run.”
Originally from Okotoks, Alberta, he and his wife, Sharon, have three children. He works as a sports massage therapist and in his spare time. He manages to fit in running extreme distances in training of 100 km every week.
He holds two world records in treadmill running, set at the Calgary Marathon expo in May: the 12-hour and the 100-mile, which he set at 153.8K and 12:32:26. Proctor holds the Canadian records for 24 hours and 48 hours on the road.
“My skill set in this sport is mentally locking in and convincing myself that pain does not exist but is replaced with joy and gratitude.”
He said he never runs without his signature cowboy hat, which he had custom designed especially for running: “It never blows off and it protects me from the rain, it keeps me cool, I can store things in there and I think it looks good on me.
“I picked up a rock where Terry Fox stopped running, I still have it and this year I am going to put it back in that same place.”
He described the importance of his high calorie diet on the road, that includes daily heavy cream shakes and eating bacon while running.
You can follow Proctor and his journey to shatter the trans-Canada speed record starting May 18, and his effort to raise awareness for Rare Disease Foundation on his website outrunrare.com