Get ready everyone… this is going to be good.
Throughout this blog I’ve kept the focus on Virginia’s efforts to raise money to promote mental health. As mentioned before, when you do something like this, it has to be for something bigger than you. At the same time, I know I’m not fooling anyone, and neither is Virginia, to think that this is not also very personal. Virginia is going to finish this trail no matter what. If an injury pulls her off at any point she will take as long as needed to heal (could be hours, could be weeks) and then return to Bruce. She will eventually cross that finish.
Taking that goal up a notch is what I like to call the “R” word. The Record. The 13day, 10hr 51min, female record finish. The “R” word has only been whispered through all this. It’s been the quiet backdrop against which Gin ran to help others. But you bet your sweet bippy, it’s been on everyone’s mind. Yesterday morning, when Gin was down and deflated, I learned that, before running, she had quickly glanced at Day 11’s blog and my mention of the record. Shortly into her run she told Velma “There’s no way, there’s no way, I’m not going there. I just can’t.”. Well, as you can imagine, I felt like horrible that I had brought up the “R” word at the wrong time… until, that is, I was texted the video of Gin with the Hayden HS running team. What a relief to see her smiling again and just enjoying her run. The “R” word was not brought up again and Gin focused on being in the moment and embracing the support around her. No matter the outcome, Virginia wants to finish this thing in a healthy head space –for herself, as well as for the many people following her. Positive mental health is the whole point, not only for the followers but for herself.
However… The “R” word just hasn’t quite gone away. It has been looming this whole time and now that she is sooooo close, I cannot pretend the elephant isn’t in the room anymore.
Disclaimer: the crew has strict instructions from me that Virginia cannot read this blog in the morning. I don’t want anything I say to throw her off. [Gin, so help me, if you are reading this and you are not yet at the finish….]
She’d better be gone, ‘cuz boy do I have a story for you…
So last night Coach Cathy emails me, on the down low, to share that she has a plan. Low and behold, the record is in sight! She writes “ I am working on strategy with my husband, Barb Campbell and Ray to get her to break record but not ready to tell her… just keep her in the game ……no regrets, you never know…big day tomorrow, 1/2 day Wednesday …done …record? Won’t tell her yet she’s too sensitive about it.” Cathy
I knew it. Didn’t I tell you? From 500km away I could see it unfolding. If you know Gin in the least, or have a sense of who she is from reading these tales, you knew it too.
At noon Velma called me, busting through the phone to share that Gin had been raring to go since her 4am wake up. Apparently, she was like a race horse kicking at the starting gate during the 30min drive to the 6am start. And then she was off, with Vel & Denise Rispolie pacing behind her. “Vic, I could barely keep up with her!”. At the rest points, Ray could see Gin was on fire and he knew it was ‘time’ …At the 15km mark, Cathy called to speak to her. Vel heard the whole thing on speaker phone and it went something like this…
Cathy: “Virginia, I have something to tell you. You need to trust me on this one…”
Gin: “ I’ve trusted you since day one, I’m not going to stop now”
Cathy: “Gin, this is going to be a BIG day, your biggest day yet. YOU can do this”
The “R” word wasn’t even mentioned. It didn’t need to be. Virginia hung up the phone, tied up her laces, looked at her running crew and said;
“Let’s do this. Let’s go for the record!” And off she went.
[pause here so your goosebumps can subside]
I don’t know what Cathy Lee and Chuck Malcolmson put in last night’s chicken and pasta dish. Whatever it was, I, along with every athlete reading this, would like the recipe.
So the rest of the day went like this…
This video is proof that once again they never shut up. By the way my sisters & I have a brother, Jonathan Cann.–He never did learn how to speak ‘cuz he couldn’t get a word in edgewise 😉 Hi Jonboy! I know you’re watching
This is my favorite video. Virginia announces that the famous Rhonda Marie joined her (learn more @ http://www.8percentnolimit.com). She also speaks out to her highschool basketball coach Ronnie Shaw. Every kid should have the privilege of a teacher, coach, leader, mentor of some sort, who believes in them and makes them feel special. Mine was my volleyball coach/teacher Mr. Gouthro. Who was yours? Who do you believe in? Trust me, they will remember.
Velma & Ray were captains again. The pacing team today was Denise Rispolie (33km), Velma Vos (27km), Paula Cruikshank 23km, Steve Forest (another 26km). We can’t forge Rhonda Marie, or Rodney Burke, Stewart Munro, Alex Campbell & Pete Gingras!!
Gin ran all evening into the night with Cody Gillies who held the Bruce trail record 2012-14 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Trail) and Henri Ragetlie who also has ran the trail end to end along with Alex Campbell. What an inspiration these guys were to Virginia. I’m sure they played a very influential role in her distance today. A big thank you to Henri’s wife Diane who shuttled cars.
Here’s the end of the day video
Ok here’s the scoop. Right now I don’t know exactly how much further she needs to go. The team sent me an email to explain why the Bruce trail is a little more than we thought. I will attach this note for the eager beavers. I have had the math verified and here it is;
Gin started September 10th at 0530hrs. If you add the record to that (13days, 10hrs & 51minutes) she will need to finish Bruce by September 23rd at 1621hrs (4:21pm).
She could do this people. She could do this.
I’m working a 12hr nursing shift tomorrow. I won’t be able to relay all the details until late that night but I promise I will put a quick notice up as soon as she finishes.
P.S. Total $ raised so far $13720.00. Keep spreading the word. and don’t forget the VIRTUAL RUN.
Note from the team and then the pics
Keen observers may have noticed that I updated yesterday’s blog to increase the number of kilometres Virginia still had to run. It turns out the Bruce Trail is longer than we thought – just what she wanted to hear, I’m sure! The Bruce Trail website describes the trail as “more than 890 km”. Since even the Bruce Trail’s own app couldn’t confirm the current trail length, we used the 890 km number as an estimate, knowing there would be some adjustments along the way. Now that we’re getting close to the finish, we can confirm that Virginia will run more than 900 km.
Why was it difficult to know for sure? The Bruce Trail is constantly evolving as sections get rerouted closer to the Niagara Escarpment, temporary detours direct hikers around major repairs, and private property owners grant or withdraw permission for the trail to cross their land. It’s not uncommon for the Bruce to be rerouted several times in a month. If two people have done the Bruce Trail end-to-end, it is almost certain that they did not travel exactly the same route.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy is working to secure the trail corridor permanently by accepting donations of land and by purchasing land. In this manner, each year the BTC is able to preserve hundreds of acres of Escarpment landscape and Bruce Trail corridor forever. If you use or care about the Bruce Trail, please buy a membership and consider donating to the Bruce Trail Conservancy.