A local life coach has pledged to run around Burnaby Lake for 24 hours to raise enough money to send first responders battling post-traumatic stress disorder to a wilderness camp for “natural healing.”
Mark Kennedy, a local mindfulness trainer and life coach, says he will take to the trails at the Metro Vancouver park from 8 a.m. on Oct. 12 until 8 a.m. on October 13– unless he finishes running 160 kilometres first.
It promises to be 10 hours longer than any trail run he’s done before, and the overnight running will be a challenge, he said.
“The dark, that’s when you get really tired and you have your headlamp on and everything is shadows, so your mind can play tricks with you,” he said.
Kennedy said he’s taking on the feat as a way to give back to first responders, who’ve been there for his family through some terrifying and difficult times, like 23 years ago, when his then-eight-day-old daughter stopped breathing and nearly died. She’s now 23.
“When those guys came in, they knew exactly what to do,” Kennedy said of the paramedics. “Any time there’s been a large amount of trauma or sadness in my life, there’s always been a first responder there.”
Recently, however, when Kennedy connected with former medic Terrance Kosikar, he was reminded that first responders pay a price for the work they do.
Kosikar was a medic at the Whistler Sliding Centre when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili crashed and died during a practice run on the day of the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Kosikar was among the first responders who tried to save him.
The experience left an emotional gash, and Kosikar says he tried to take his own life just one hour after the Olympics ended.
His life spiralled and he ended up on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside before finding healing in B.C.’s backcountry.
Since 2015, he has run an off-grid residential wilderness program called Camp My Way to provide that same natural healing to others battling post-traumatic stress.
Kennedy, who took up ultra trail running about three years ago, was moved by Kosikar’s story and was determined to do something to help.
It costs about $2,500 for a first responder to attend the camp; Kennedy has vowed to raise $24,000.
To find out more, visit Kennedy’s GoFundMe page at https://tinyurl.com/BurnabyLakeRun.
To find out more about Camp My Way, visit https://campmyway.com.