It is said that life is a journey not a destination, but for Scott Cannata and the Run to Live campaign, the finish line in Port Renfrew, BC is one they have had in mind for a long time.
The shoreline of the Vancouver Island city where Cannata symbolically dipped his foot on Monday, January 16th, marked the end of a journey that began over eight months ago in St Johns, Newfoundland.
Motivated by his mother’s battle with cancer, Cannata began making plans to run across Canada in support of cancer research more than a year ago.
“Never had it occurred to me that I couldn’t do this,” said Cannata prior to his finish.
Anita Record recognized this determination right away. As manager of the Peterborough unit of the Canadian Cancer Society and one of Scott’s biggest supporters, she never doubted Cannata’s ability to go the distance.
“A lot of people have come to me saying they were going to run across Canada,” said Record “ (but) I knew he was going to do it as soon as he stepped into my office.”
For many the concept of running a single marathon seems daunting. Cannata endured running as many as 30 consecutive marathons, all the while battling hazardous running conditions on the road side and Canada’s unforgiving elements.
In many places during their journey across the prairies it was impossible for the truck to remain with him as the shoulder didn’t allow for much room for a vehicle and weather conditions required more than what running shoes could provide.
“At times I had to snowshoe (on the shoulder of the road) 10 to 15 km without seeing my team,” comments Cannata.
It was during these times that the 25 year old nearly reached his breaking point, but as he did many times along the journey, Cannata drew strength from the many stories of courage and inspiration of the people he met along his path.
In contrast to his great athletic accomplishment, Cannata fell short of his goal to raise two dollars for every Canadian. Over 40,000 dollars was raised through his effort.
“I feel sad,” says Cannata “not for me but for everybody else that this was for.”
The campaign took 261 days from the time it began on May 1st 2011, included 209 marathons and sacrificed nearly a dozen pairs of shoes. Awareness however is not so easily measured
While the money raised will assist in funding future research grants, it is the seeds of inspiration that Cannata has planted in the many youths he met along the way that will lead to a harvest of greater discoveries in the search for a cure.
“We are just a piece of the puzzle,” says Cannata
Now that he is done, the Run to Live team will begin the long trek home to Peterborough and close the book on an accomplishment that was almost a year in the making.
Once home, both Trent University where Cannata works and the Canadian Cancer Society of Peterborough will host events to celebrate his accomplishment.
For more information on the Run to Live campaign and the upcoming events please see www.theruntolive.com