Wendy Brown recently returned from a marathon session of daily runs linking Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek.
The Run for Recovery through B.C.’s Northeast Peace Region was conceived as a way to raise funds towards a proposed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Fort St. John.
Brown, a Lake Babine Nation member and Burns Lake resident, has connections to Fort St. John. She wanted to do something to give back to that community after it rallied in support of Burns Lake following the explosion at the Babine Forest Products mill in January, 2012.
The mileage for the run was supposed to be 324 kilometres, but after a detour along the old Alaska Highway to avoid heavy road construction, Brown chalked up 350 kilometres of running over 12 days.
Running almost 30 kilometres a day for 12 straight days would have been challenging on its own, but her run had the additional difficulty of unseasonably warm temperatures.
“The hottest it got was 26 degrees Celsius when I pulled into Hudson Hope,” Brown recalled. “It was burning hot.”
The final tally is not in yet, but her run raised over $20,000 towards the Fort St. John project. The five million dollar centre is hoped to have ‘shovels in the ground’ this summer, said Bruce Lantz, the project co-ordinator.
“The Run for Recovery was instrumental in raising awareness about the project throughout the region and beyond,” Lantz said. “We are most grateful to Wendy for taking this on. Her cheerful dedication was amazing to watch as she completed this run, which has never been done before.”
Brown was away for the month of June in preparation for the run, the 12 days of the run itself, and fundraising events during and afterwards. Residents and communities across the region showed strong support for Brown’s cause.
Local mayors, the region’s member of parliament, Bob Zimmer, local fire departments, students, and other well-wishers joined Brown at different stops along the way.
After two weeks of celebrity-like attention from local media, fire brigade escorts into towns, and a support RV for her evening stay-overs where ever her daily run ended, Brown is adjusting to being back in Burns Lake.
“Last night it really hit me,” Brown said. “ I can’t believe that I did it. If they were to ask me to do it again, I most definitely would.”
After a week of rest, she’s back out on the roads around Burns Lake in preparation for whatever her next project might be.