Do you like to celebrate your birthday by going for a run? Or do you prefer to take the day off? One Winnipeg runner decided to celebrate his birthday in a much more unconventional way: he ran 50 ultramarathons over the course of one year.
In 2020, Junel Malapad decided to mark his 50th birthday by running 50 kilometres 50 times before the end of the year. Over the course of this impressive undertaking, he chose a different charity organization to support every month. Malapad says that helping out these organizations is what encouraged and inspired him to continue running month after month.
He finished off his year of ultramarathons on Boxing Day with a 100-kilometre run around the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in St. Boniface. Running on Boxing Day has been a tradition for Malapad for several years, and you will often hear him using the expression “change Boxing Day to Running Day” to encourage other Winnipeggers to get out and run the day after Christmas.
“In 2015 I wanted to run during [Boxing Day] because I don’t like to shop. I told my friends I wanted to run 15 hours,” he explained.
By the time his friend met him at 5pm, Malapad had already run 80 kilometres. His friend suggested they keep going, and he ended up running 100 kilometers that day. He decided to do the same thing the following year, only this time he raised funds for the Siloam Mission homeless shelter. Since then, Malapad has run in bliizzards, minus 45 degree weather, and diffcult footing, and has raised over $100,000 for various organizations throughout his 13-year running journey, and over $20,000 for Siloam.
Malapad began running because of health conditions in his family. In order to avoid the same fate as many of his relatives, he decided to take action so that he could live a long life. He is now asking people to use Running Day to help themselves, help others, and help their communities. This is more important in 2020 than ever before, at a time when people are looking for ways to get out and to find some sense of normalcy.
In previous years Malapad has been able to run with others on Running Day, but of course with COVID-19 restrictions in place he had to do this year’s run alone. Despite this, he is still trying to encourage others to join him by going on their own solo runs. Boxing Day, or rather, Running Day, is now over, but the year isn’t. Malapad has raised over $14,000 for charity in the past 11 months, and you can still donate to the Siloam Mission by clicking on this link.
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