Island runners go from Port Hardy to Victoria for charity

It’s a long island. Try running it.

That is what Jack Amos and Joe Robertson did, completing the 495-kilometre trek from Port Hardy to the Terry Fox statue at Mile 0, on a windswept Monday afternoon.

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“It kind of made the Island feel small,” said Robertson, of the adventure, which began Nov. 15.

Both Amos and Robertson are elite runners coached by two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon. But this went beyond anything they have experienced competitively on the track.

“It was hard work and stressful. The last two weeks have felt like three months,” said Amos.

It included a crash north of Campbell River involving the support vehicle, a 1983 Dodge camper van named Pippi, which later also broke down.

“We’re quite lucky to be OK. But in the end, it really paid off,” said Amos.

The pair, both 19-year-old Oak Bay Secondary graduates raised by single parents, ran one at a time in tag-team tandem to raise more than $11,000 for the 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre.

“These have been difficult times for households, especially single-parent households, because of COVID,” said Amos, a native of Dawson City, Yukon.

The knot of greeters at Mile 0 included Susanne Ledingham, who is Robertson’s mother.

“This is so deeply meaningful,” she said.

“They both saw beyond themselves to try to facilitate positive change.”

Their coach was also there to greet them.

“It’s a fantastic achievement,” said Deacon, who ran for Canada in the marathon at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“They were both raised in single-parent households and this meant a lot to them. They set themselves a goal and achieved it. I think they’ve earned themselves a few cocktail stories.”

Before hitting Mile 0 on ­Monday, the pair ran to Oak Bay High School where both alumni competed for the powerhouse Bays track and cross-country teams, and were cheered by the current student body.

“That felt really great going by our old school,” said ­Robertson.

The pair were supported on the run down-Island by van driver and videographer Rob Zastre.

People can still contribute to the effort and the cause by going to the GoFundMe pages listed under Amos or the 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre Society.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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