When Jack Amos was approached by his friend Joe Robertson last spring with the idea of running the length of Vancouver Island, Amos demurred.
Amos, originally from Dawson City, Yukon, is an avid long-distance runner but he worried about injuring himself. He also wasn’t wild about running for days alongside roads and highways.
Robertson wouldn’t let the idea go, though.
“He called me back a few months later and said there’s a group of people who said they don’t think we could do it,” Amos recalled.
“I said, ‘OK, well, we’ve got to do it now.'”
Amos and Robertson started from Port Hardy, B.C., at the northeast end of Vancouver Island, a couple of weeks ago and they’re expecting to finish their journey in Victoria this weekend. They’re using their feat to raise money for the 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre.
“Basically what they provide is, counselling, emotional support, parent coaching, clothing and other goods for single parents in Victoria,” Amos said.
It’s a cause that’s close to Amos’s heart, as his mom raised Amos mostly on her own through his teenage years.
“I just got to look at, you know, just kind of watch my mom working like seven days a week, maybe one day off a month, supporting my running, supporting [Amos’s sister] with her endeavours,” Amos said.
“I was just like, oh my God, that looks like one of the hardest things ever. Yeah, I still can’t really comprehend how she did it.”
A little more than a week into their run, Amos and Robertson had reached their fundraising goal of $10,000 and were aiming to raise even more.
Amos and Robertson would each run about 25 kilometres per day, but often more. They would take turns running and driving their support van.
The journey has not been without incident — they’ve had some “awful” weather, and they were also involved in a minor collision with their van.
They were OK, Amos said but they ended up spending a few nights in Campbell River, B.C. They’ve also had a few mechanical issues with the van since then.
But they’re still moving along, and the goal was to finish in Victoria by Sunday. Robertson is from Victoria, and Amos went to high school there after moving from Dawson City.
Amos said the fundraising effort is a way to give back to his adoptive city.
“It is an opportunity to return, I guess, the kindness and the support that I had received,” he said.
Amos also gave credit to his former hometown. He said he owes a lot of thanks to people in Dawson City.
“I have no idea who I would be without them … When I think of Dawson, I think of the town and all the wonderful people, and they have truly supported me with everything that I’ve pursued.”