Why do you run? To stay in shape, to get faster or to improve your mental health? This year, Andy Wilson will be running for a larger purpose. The Ottawa resident has pledged to run a minimum of 5K every day for the entire year to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation in memory of his late father.
Wilson ran cross-country in high school, and after a hiatus from the sport he picked up running again when he met his wife 14 years ago. Although he struggled in the beginning, he now runs with the Mile2Marathon group in Ottawa and trains for his favourite race distance, the half-marathon.
Two years ago, Wilson’s dad passed away suddenly of a heart attack, and since then he has wanted to do something in honour of his late father. Inspired by others who have completed run streaks, he decided a run streak of his own would be the perfect way to do so. After getting the go-ahead from his coach, Dylan Wykes, he reached out to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, who jumped at the opportunity to partner with him.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when taking on a challenge such as this one, and Wilson is aware that injuries or sickness could make it more difficult to get out for a run on some days. Ottawa’s notoriously cold temperatures in the winter will also test Wilson’s resolve, but he is determined to accomplish his goal.
“Regardless of whatever weather conditions I am dealt, or physical ailment, I will continue to run. There is a time to race and a time to focus on just completing the distance,” he says.
Wilson is also planning on training for the Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon (should it go ahead this fall), and so there will be days when he will have to run far longer than 5K to prepare for that race. He admits that knowing he cannot take a day off during his training is on his mind, and he knows there will be some very tough days, but his commitment to the cause is unwavering.
Wilson says he has been overwhelmed by all the support he has already received, and despite being less than one month into his challenge he has already raised over $6,000. February is heart month, and so he will be helping the Heart and Stroke Foundation bring more awareness to Canadians about heart health and the impact it has on so many lives. If you would like to support Wilson, you can donate to his cause by clicking here. You can also follow along with his journey here.