TORONTO – Despite light snowfall, several groups are facing the cold for a 650-kilometer relay race.
Currently five teams are competing as part of the 3rd Annual Race to Montreal, which began Wednesday night at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto and will end at Mount Royal in Montreal early Saturday morning.
The spirit of event slogan – “do something epic and raise some money for charity” – was echoed by several competitors that CTVNews.ca spoke by phone during their race breaks.
"It's been 20 long hours, but it was a lot of fun," said Nigel Fick, who has just completed one leg of the race. Each team can have between five and 12 runners.
"You are full of exhaustion for something that would normally make you eight hours of sleep once a day – (which) you are accumulating four or five times in a day with 30 minutes of sleep," he laughed. "It's amazing the power of a cup of noodles."
Each runner performs 10km stretches before being replaced by a teammate and getting caught by his team's trailer driving alongside them.
"It's such a crazy personal challenge you can do to convince people around you to do something great together," he said, adding to the team.RUN. TO LIKE. HELL. I had just taken the ferry from Glenora, Ontario. in the Greater Napanee area.
He owns the Culture Athletics boutique store, which sponsored the event last year. But he joined this year as a competitor because he was impressed by the joy and perseverance of the runners. "It's just something that has to do with your friends."
RACE BEGUN AS HONOR OF LATE FRIEND
Lead organizer Darren Weldrick said the race began as a way to honor one of his late friends, Colin Buchanan, who died of brain cancer.
"He had a" bigger than life "personality … and died very young. Very resilient," he said in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca as he prepared to begin the 26th round of his team.
Weldrick said that "the idea of running this race on your behalf was very appropriate."
According event website, the sponsored four-day event has grown from a small affair to an inspiring "runners of all speeds and experiences to test their courage" and fight for "bragging rights".
Buchanan spent his last days at the Kensington Health Center, which is now one of the recipients of the funds being raised.
But each team is free to raise money for whatever cause or group they choose.
NOT MUCH LOCAL GROUP: TOGETHER
Weldrick's "Run the Runway" teammate Lawrence Colsell jokingly called wet snowfall early Thursday morning as "an early gift." He laughed that the snow didn't bother him now that he was warmly inside.
He also pointed out that although the cold is less inconvenient for runners. "Well, you warm up pretty fast, so (not bad) as long as there's no strong wind," he said.
Colsell explained that while some runners slept after their turn, others need to motivate runners outside by "poking their pride a little."
He loved to see the camaraderie of the Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa teams as the race began. "It's not very often that these local groups come together … so we have some teams running home and some running home," he said.
But he pointed out that being from Montreal, he definitely didn't want other teams to reach the finish line before him. "That's what called me that," laughed Colsell.