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Day #11: September 20th– 59.9km in 13hrs ending @ Marker 97.6, Kilbride

727.3 km down ! Only 162.7 more to go. Wowsers! She is getting close to the finish.  Do you think she could do it? She’s not going as fast as her planned schedule. The female record to beat is 890km in 13 days, 10hrs & 51 minutes. Gin started on the 10th @ 5:30am. Does this mean she has to finish before the 23rd @ 4pm-ish? By the schedule it’s too late.  Something tells me (who is ultramarathon illiterate) it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Part of me writes this just to add suspense but part of me can’t help but wonder… you just wait and see.

I want to step back from the cheering and my silliness to get serious. I want to remind everyone of the main reason why Virginia is doing this. Through sweat and tears, each kilometer is potentially bringing troubled youth closer to help. She’ s running  to push mental health stigmas away from kids who suffer with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, conduct disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and suicide. Virginia knows that the sooner a young person receives professional help, the greater the chances of emotional and physical recovery.  For sure, it would be nice to hold the title of fastest woman to complete the Bruce Trail. But even better would be a program or idea that spawned from one of our donations.  If even one life was saved or one day of misery relieved, it would be all worth it.

Virginia runs because she knows that at this very moment a sixteen year old girl is frantically cleaning around the toilet after making herself sick. Her little brother is knocking on the door asking her what’s taking her so long. She may hide her bulimic cycles from her family for months and even years. Eventually, her dentist will notice the eroding enamel caused by her stomach acids and share his suspicions with her parents. Wouldn’t it be nice if our donation money could somehow cause a positive mental health ripple effect that gets to her before then? Wouldn’t it be nice that her little brother doesn’t have to visit her in the hospital? Do you want me to go on?      I didn’t think so.

Remember day 8 of this journey? It started out OK but ended in tears and doubt.   As gut-wrenching as these moments were, I know Gin would go through a dozen more Day 8’s before she’d relive even one of her vicious binge –purge cycles. On the August 16th blog, Virginia shares a detailed story of her struggles. There is a 9 minute video worth watching (be sure to have Kleenex). At the end of the video Virginia reaches out to the girls & boys who might relate. Here is her promise.

“If somebody can hear my words and is in the place that I was—a dark dungeon of a place… and you feel you’re not going to get out of it…I’m here to tell you that you WILL …and you just have to TRY.. every day… and you will. I promise you, you will”.

Ok I don’t mean to be Debby Downer on yet another grrrreat day of running.  I wanted to bring the subject up earlier but how could I when pacers are dancing and donning wigs? I just wanted to stress that Rome wasn’t built in a day, the Bruce Trail wasn’t built in a day and mental health stigmas won’t disappear in a day either — BUT every small flicker of awareness has the potential to spread like wildfire.   ….I know you are thinking by now ‘ ok ok I clicked the flipp’n “share” button 82 times— get on with the blog!!!”

She did great. The end. [slow ha…ha]

To start, watch this video. This does NOT look like a lady who finished her 727th kilometer today.

The thank you list is getting longer and longer. The pacers coming out the woodwork included Jerry Baker, Sally Heath, Laura Gatey, Patty Vab Liefland, Linda Rudy and Chris Laris. Sharing captain duty with Cathy Gallagher was Meg Mancuso.  Dr. Julie showed up for yet another chiropractor treatment. Cathy raved on about the much needed help of Agnes, Patty and the “Hogs”, who all pitched in with shuttling. Friends from Cathy’s bootcamp showed up to cheer. Jennifer,  Gin’s old friend from highshcool who she hasn’t seen since 1993 brought her family to join the cheering team. At the end of the day she found herself being spoiled again thanks to the McMillian’s hospitality.

In this video they make fun of Cathy tripping down the trail while pacing. No wonder! She had on so many responsibility hats she could barely stand— captain, pacer, pacer juggler, media supervisor, tree remover , long distance mom, shuttler and map reader.—all while carrying a huge secret I’ll share in a bit.

…and look what the cool cat (Greg Yaneff) dragged in …

And the big secret is….. Our sister Velma surprised Virginia at the McMillian’s while chatting to me on the phone. It was a joyous embracing reunion which I thought I was in the middle of . But the reality was Gin, in shock,  had dropped me (the cell) on the bed and I was singing surprise songs to empty air until someone heard the muffles. It was hilariously pathetic. Yup. Vel’s back. She flew back from PEI to finish the trail with her.  Ohhhhh people, I’m telling you. Just wait. You haven’t seen exciting yet.

Another late night. Better sign off.

Ta ta for now,


PS Here is a more detailed record of the day that Laura Gatey sent me. There’s some cute stories in here. Enjoy.

Hi Vicki, First off, I have to tell you that your blogs have been amazing!  Every day I look forward to reading them! I’ve cc’d Cathy so she can fill in the details that I have missed. I was with Virginia for just over five hours and she was in great spirits the entire time. And when I left her at 6, she still had not yet taken an advil today. Which is so awesome! Her legs were feeling much better than yesterday.The day started with Virginia running with Jerry and then Sally joined from there. (Cathy will have updates on that) At 1 o’clock they turned the pacer reigns over to trainer Cathy and myself (Laura Gatey). Cathy after being in charge of organizing everything and being in the car for the last 48 hours was happy to be back on the trails. Meg took over as captain and the three of us were off running. I will try to capture below a few moments that had us laughing.As we were running through Kelso park, I (Laura) decided to start telling people along the way that Virginia was running the entire Bruce trail. I figured it was something they needed to know! I quickly learned two things: 1) people don’t know how long the Bruce trail actually is and 2) my facial expressions tell all! The first response we got was “sure”…followed by a chuckle and then insert my look that captures the following: disbelief, shock, what the?!?!?.  Did they not understand what I was just telling them? Cathy turned just in time to see this look and set us into a case of the giggles for a while after that.  Anytime we passed people and they didn’t respond, Cathy got different versions of that look! Another person we passed had to repeat the number 700 a couple of times as they tried to understand Virginia’s amazing feat! Like 7- 0 – 0? She has done 7-0-0 km?!?At another point, Cathy mentioned that there were some more people cheering for Virginia up ahead…to which we figured out was a rooster! While at Kelso, we had stopped to move to the side so some bikers could go by us and Virginia, never losing her Virginia spirit, said “Have a good ride.”  The response she got was “Have a good walk.”  From that moment forward, became the quote and biggest understatement of the day! You can imagine how that sat with Virginia!! “Have a nice walk?!? Have a nice walk?!?! Are they kidding me?!?” Virginia’s amazing chiropractor Dr. Julie meet us on the trails. Dr. Julie has been awesome! We joked about princess Virginia as I held a towel over her to block out the sun while she was worked on! As well, you will notice a picture Cathy sent of our tree mover! He moved twigs, rocks, and trees out of Virginia’s way! Late afternoon we were joined again by the Hogs running group who just kept running the trails until they could find us. After that we were joined by Andrea and Magdin Stoica. At all rest stops Meg was waiting for us! Cathy, I hope I captured most of the day! I don’t remember the name of our tree mover!  I had such a great time with you ladies today! Thanks again Vicki for your blog!          Laura Gatey

One last thank you to the McMillians

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