Man runs 88.5 kilometres to raise money for Alzheimer Society
A young man ran all the way from his home in Bay Roberts to St. John’s - all 88.5 kilometres. He went the distance to help raise funds for the Alzheimer Society.
Two days after completing his run from Bay Roberts to St. John’s, Russell Cooper made an unscheduled visit to his doctor.
“I’m on my way to get my toenail removed, because there’s a big blister on my toe,” the 20year-old said.
“ Yeah, there’s pain. To tell the truth, I really can’t walk. But it was worth it,” he added.
In April, the Bay Roberts resident decided he wanted to do something to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“ The main reason was my grandmother. She’s had (Alzheimer’s disease) for years now,” Cooper explained.
He decided to run from Bay Roberts to the St. John’s office of the Alzheimer Society. The distance is 88.5 kilometres. Leaving his home on Water Street at 8: 30 p.m. Friday, Aug., 27, Cooper reached his destination - 685 Water Street in St. John’s - at 12:30 p.m. the next day.
“Long” and “ hard” are the words he used to summarize his experience.
“ But I was able to keep up the pace,” he added, determination showing in his voice.
Cooper’s parents, Sharon and Neil Cooper, accompanied their son in a vehicle, passing him energy food and water every mile.
One of the most difficult sections for the runner was a section of the TCH near the St. John’s Rod and Gun Club, located near Holyrood approximately 45 kilometres west of the capital city.
“ That was really hard. My girlfriend, Victoria, offered to walk up the hill with me,” Cooper said.
After that, he made greater progress than at first.
This was his first attempt at anything so extreme. He managed five kilometres once, but not because he liked it.
The challenge Cooper set for himself required intense training. A columnist for Ultrarunnning magazine volunteered to design a strict regimen for him to follow. Over the next five months, he trained relentlessly.
The training paid off, despite the moments when Cooper wondered if he would reach his goal.
“ The last few miles were really hard. Around the Mount Pearl area, the sun started coming out. It was really hot and I figured I had farther to go than I figured,” he said.
Cooper’s sister, Samantha, ran ahead and clocked off the actual distance.
“I thought it was 10 miles, but it was 10 kilometres. That really helped,” Cooper said.
In addition to Cooper’s family and girlfriend, others drove along with him for the last few kilometres, while motorists stopped to encourage him.
At the Alzheimer Society’s office, a group of supporters awaited Cooper.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support I sensed,” he acknowledged.
Cooper’s run raised $1,600 to support the programs and services of the Alzheimer Society.
“ We think it was a very generous and very worthwhile journey for Russell,” said Shirley Lucas, executive director. “It helped us tremendously in raising our profile in the community, so individuals who need support know where to turn ... We commend him on his significant efforts and congratulate him on a job well done and one that would make his grandmother proud.”
Russell Cooper quenching his thirst with water supplied by his parents, Sharon and Neil Cooper.
Russell Cooper running behind the family van as he nears the end of his 88.5-kilometre run just outside St. John’s.