Matthew White of Dartmouth, N.S., is working toward completing 40 marathons ahead of the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope this fall. As of Sunday, White has completed 22 of the runs, and he’s on track to complete all 40 by September 20 (the anniversary date). He began this challenge in January, giving himself 37 weeks to complete 40 marathons–no small feat, especially when running through an East Coast winter.
White's Garmin data from several runs
White mulled the idea over through December, and he committed on January 4 when he did his first run. Most weeks he runs one marathon, but a few weeks will require a double-up due to bad weather in the winter and one terrible spring run (which he didn’t end up finishing).
White’s father was a runner, so he got into running at a young age. From there, he ran cross-country and track in high school, but he didn’t get serious about the sport until 2012 when he ran his first marathon at the Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville, N.S. He says it was a terrible experience.
“Like all first timers do,” he says, “I swore I’d never run a marathon again.” But this proved untrue.
The Valley Harvest course is now where White does most of his running. “We have friends who live in Wolfville, and now that the Nova Scotia government has allowed two-family gatherings, my wife and I have returned to Wolfville for weekends. I run the first 10K of these marathons alone and then my friends will join me for the last 32K.” He’s run 13 of his 22 marathons on the course.
White’s pace ranges, but he’s averaging 4:00 marathons. “Some of them have been slower due to the weather. One winter day it was -20 degrees with the wind chill, and half way into the run my water had completely frozen. That was a 4:14 marathon with no water.”
After his 40 marathons are complete, he plans on taking some much needed downtime before hopefully pacing runners at the Blue Nose Marathon this fall. “I’ll need some rest, but I’ve been running four-hour marathons for weeks now, so I might as well put that to good use and help some people. It feels nice to run for someone other than yourself.”
Over the summer, White will complete 18 more marathons, and he says he’d love if runners donated to the Terry Fox Foundation in support of him and their work. “Registration just opened. I’ll be creating a page and if people want to donate that’d be awesome.”