Ultrarunners Mark Carey and Claire Heslop will be running around Toronto this weekend. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be running through the city, up and down random streets—they will literally be running around Toronto, tracing the perimeter of the city for a total distance of 135K. Carey and Heslop are experienced ultrarunners, both having competed in the sport for a few years, and they will be running around the city to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross and COVID-19 relief. They’ve raise close to $2,000 so far, and donations can still be made on the Red Cross website. The pair will start their run at 5:30 a.m. on May 30.
Who they are
Heslop is an ER physician who works at various Toronto hospitals and Carey is an Internet consultant. He says the idea came to him one day on a long run before the pandemic, and he thought it could be a fun challenge. He’d been training for the Sulphur Springs 100-miler, which was scheduled for May 22 in Ancaster, Ont., and when it was postponed, he started to seriously entertain the possibility of a run around Toronto.
“I was in shape for Sulphur Springs and I thought the idea would be kind of neat to follow the borders of the city,” he says. “When I was first thinking of it, I thought it would be 70 or 90K, but when you map it out, it’s actually a fair bit further.”
Before this project, Carey had never met Heslop, and he’d planned to do the run on his own. When a friend of Heslop’s showed her an article on Carey’s run, though, she decided to reach out and see if he wanted company.
“I figured if I pitched myself to Mark as a pacer or someone to make sure we get to the finish line, it might be a more fun day.” Carey took her on as a run partner, and the two are set to go together on Saturday, noting that they’ll be sure to follow social distancing guidelines throughout the run. They’ll both have friends stopping along the route to check in on them and give them food and water.
Carey’s been competing in ultramarathons since 2013, and Heslop joined the ultra community the following year. Since their beginnings in the sport, both have completed multiple ultra events. Carey has several 50-mile races and a 100-miler under his belt and Heslop has completed some 200-mile runs, including the 2018 Moab 240 in Utah.
Fundraising for the Red Cross
The two will start the run downtown at the waterfront, run past Scarborough, up to Steeles Avenue, across to Mississauga, past Pearson International Airport, past Etobicoke to the waterfront again and then back to the city core. So far, the run has raised $1,930 for the Canadian Red Cross’ COVID-19 response fund, and Carey and Heslop are still working toward the ultimate fundraising goal of $10,000. To find out more about the run, visit their website, and to donate, click here.