Ultrarunner cross-Canada speed record quest was cut short due to a back injury

It was a bittersweet ending for ultrarunner Dave Proctor and the Outrun Rare team, who officially ended their cross-Canada trip in Halifax.  Proctor, who started running in Victoria on June 27, was on a quest for the cross-Canada speed record while also raising awareness for rare diseases, but made it just past Winnipeg before pain from a back injury sustained before the trip forced him to stop running on July 28. He had covered more than 2,400K. Dr. Christine Chambers said, “I’ve seen rare disease patients and families make new connections with each other and with our organization… But even more, Dave has helped people who haven’t been impacted with rare disease, the ‘typical Canadians,’ realize the barriers faced by the one in 12 directly impacted and their families. He’s galvanized their compassion for those of us that have fallen through the cracks in Canada’s health care system. Like Dave Proctor, I think this is just the beginning.” Proctor decided not to dip his trademark Smithbilt cowboy hat in the Atlantic as originally planned, since, as he says, he expected to end the trip in Newfoundland, not Halifax. Neurological damage resulting from his untreated herniated disk forced the decision to wrap up the trip a week early and fly back to Calgary, where he will begin treatment. Proctor says it remains to be seen whether he’ll require surgery. “We are nowhere close to being done,” says Proctor of the effort to raise awareness and push policymakers for a national rare disease strategy. He also didn’t rule out the prospect of another attempt at the cross-Canada run. Proctor holds the 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour Canadian records for continuous running. The cross-Canada speed record is held by Al Howie, who ran across Canada in 72 days in 1991.

posted Friday August 24th