It was announced Saturday morning that due to a neurological injury, Dave Proctor is unable to complete his run across the country.
“I’m a bit upset,” he said, when we reached him in Kenora, Ont. this morning. “An injury’s an injury, and it’s the right and reasonable choice for me to stop… One more day and I would have been hospitalized.”
Proctor began runnning across Canada on June 26 with two goals: to raise $1 million for rare diseases, and to break Al Howie’s cross-Canada speed record of 72 days. (His nine-year-old son Sam has RECA, which stands for relapsing encephalopathy with cerebellar ataxia, a rare disease characterized by motor and gait abnormalities that first manifested itself when Sam was a toddler.) But a herniated disk, possibly sustained while getting off a motorcycle at a publicity event in Victoria before his trek (called Outrun Rare) began, caused back pain from the beginning, and an MRI performed in Brandon, Man. revealed the damage. Proctor’s chiropractor came out from Calgary and treated the injury with laser therapy, but it was not enough to keep him on his feet.
On July 24th Proctor tweeted, “Seems like each day my back is blowing up earlier and earlier. Frustration is the word.”
Since the announcement yesterday, Proctor says he’s received an outpouring of support. “All the clear, kind, loving messages from the rare disease community and Canadians in general have gone far beyond my expectations,” he says. “Life is going to be better tomorrow because of this campaign, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. Canadians want to believe in something good, and this is good.” Proctor is inviting Canadians to “colour their runs orange” and consider donating $1 for every kilometre they run, to support Outrun Rare. You can donate at outrunrare.com.
Planned media events along the remainder of the route will still go ahead, and Proctor will dip his hat in the Atlantic in Newfoundland on August 26, even though it’s unlikely he’ll be able to run more than a few steps here and there as his journey continues by RV.
In the 28 days Proctor spent running, he covered just over 2,600K.
Proctor is also the subject of a “Thank You” campaign by TD Canada. As of today the video has 480,000 views.