An Alberta father is going the extra mile for his son. And then some.
Ultramarathoner Dave Proctor announced Saturday his intention to break the cross-country speed record and run 7,200 kilometres across the Canada in 65 days, seven days faster than the 1991 record established by Al Howie.
That’s more than 100 kilometres a day — the equivalent of two and a half marathons every day. He expects to burn through 15 pairs of running shoes.
The 38-year-old from Okotoks, Alta. is embarking on this journey for a deeply personal reason.
“I’ve got a 10-year-old son and he’s got a rare disease called relapsing encephalopathy with cerebellar ataxia,” said Proctor.
LISTEN BELOW: Alberta man seeks to break a running record for his son
During the six-year period it took to diagnose his son Sam with the condition, Proctor noted he became aware of just how much work is needed around rare diseases in Canada.
“We want to create a movement when it comes to supporting rare families across this country. We need to create a better system and I think this is the first step.”
Canada is the only developed country in the world without a rare disease strategy or orphan drug plan, Proctor said while appearing on Global News Morning Edmonton.
“Going through the process that we went through — it’s heartbreaking, because there’s very little for us,” Proctor said, explaining the health care system is great as long as patients “fit within the box” of the system.
“If Canadians only knew of the void within their system, they would do something about it. I think this run is showing Canadians just how far us families are willing to go for our kids.”
Proctor has been training for this for quite a while, though after an injury last year, he thought his running days were finished.
Proctor’s attempt to run across the country in record time in 2018 ended early after completing a third of his journey because of a herniated disc in his back.
However, his rehabilitation has gone so well he believes he can do this challenge, set to start on Victoria Day of 2020, even better.
His journey is called Outrun Rare and he is raising money for the Rare Disease Foundation. He raised $311,000 in his initial run and wants to reach $1 million during this second go-around.
“I’d run to the ends of this Earth for my son,” said Proctor. “And next summer, I might just have to.”
The announcement comes as millions across the country and world prepare to participate in the Terry Fox Run on Sunday, raising money for cancer research and honouring the Winnipeg-born icon’s Marathon of Hope.
— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News