A 17-year-old high school senior from southwestern Ontario went the distance for Canadian military veterans on Saturday by completing a Remembrance Day ultramarathon fundraiser in support of his local Royal Canadian Legion branch.
Gavin Pratt, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School in the town of Lasalle, just outside Windsor, completed the 100K at the Whispering Grace 100 in Massillon, Ohio in 19 hours and 45 minutes.
Gavin Pratt, a grade 12 student at Villanova High School, is competing in an ultra marathon — running 100 km — on Remembrance Day to raise money for Legion branch 594. Thank you Gavin!👋👋 https://t.co/HgHrmdjR5w
— The Royal Canadian Legion (@RoyalCdnLegion) November 8, 2023
Pratt told CTV News following the event that he had a tough time during the race—held on a 4-km looped course through pastures, fields and on road—but that reflecting on the sacrifices made by military veterans motivated him to keep moving forward.
“I’m really glad that I was able to do that,” he told CTV News. “I’m really thankful the race organizers put the race on and I’m really glad I was able to raise money with it. It definitely made it worth it and I was thinking about the veterans the Royal Canadian Legion supports as I was running and thinking about what I was doing wasn’t even close to what so many had to go through.”
The teen has previously completed two 50K events and one 80K run. In completing Saturday’s race, Pratt not only bested his own record for the longest distance run by more than 20 km—his race watch showed a final distance of 108.2 km—but also shot past his $5,000 fundraising goal in support of Essex County’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 594. By Monday afternoon, his campaign total had topped $5,700.
“To me, military service has always represented a commitment to something greater. It represents the belief that there are things in our world—family, friends, community, and ways of life—that matter more than oneself, and that therefore must be defended,”the teen wrote on his gofundme page.
“The brave Canadians who leave the comfort of home to protect our country live this belief every single day, and their effort should not and cannot go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
In addition to money raised through Pratt’s own fundraising effort, a portion of registration fees from Saturday’s races—which also included 100-mile, 50-mile and 50K events—will go to help programs that support veterans.