One year after running from Campbell River to Nanaimo to raise money for alternative cancer care, Quadra Islander Ryan Rasmussen is doing it again on June 25 and 26 — only this time he’s adding another 40 km to the trip.
“I am going to run from Duncan, I haven’t gotten the landmark yet, but from Duncan to Campbell River,” he said. “It’ll be 200 km this time. Last one I did was 160. I survived it, so we’ll see how far I can go this time.”
He is calling his now-annual run the Coco Run in honour of his sister Nicole who passed away from colon cancer early in 2021.
Last year, he embarked on the longest run of his life, running through the night down the Island from Campbell River. This year while it is still technically the longest run he’s undertaken, he has a better understanding of how it will affect his body and mind.
“I feel like a lot of this is mental. I know if I can make it that far, 40 km more isn’t that much. It’s scary, but it’s not as scary as last time,” he said. “There was a point where I wasn’t drinking enough water and that kind of got to me last run. I think just focusing on the water and keeping my mind strong is what I’m going to focus on.”
He is also changing direction this year, planning to arrive at Robert Ostler Park near the Campbell River-Quadra Island ferry terminal at around 1 p.m. on June 26.
The goal is to raise money to help people pay for alternatives to chemotherapy, many of which are not covered by the provincial healthcare system. For the 2021 run, Rasmussen raised about $7,500, which he donated to a man who was dealing with cancer.
“Last time I was doing it in honour of my sister. She had just passed away. I’m still doing it in her honour, but last year I was running to escape the pain and for it to be more therapeutic. This time isn’t really the same. It’s not as therapeutic. It’s still for the same cause,” he said. “The guy who I donated the money to last year, he’s actually not doing too well, I was talking to him yesterday. The cancer is taking its toll on him, so I’m running in his honour.”
With a goal of $10,000, Rasmussen is looking at various ways to raise money. Like last year, people can donate straight to him, but there is also an online auction set up to help bring in some more dollars. However, if they do not reach the $10,000 mark he will still be happy.
“Even if I raised $100 I was still going to do it,” he said. “Giving someone $100 or $300 or $1,000 is better than nothing, the way I see it. I think it’s for a good cause.”
As for the run itself, Rasmussen is looking forward to it. Particularly, he is excited to tackle the nighttime portion again, saying “last year the night was the hardest part for me.
“I struggled a lot during the night last year, and I’m actually quite excited to approach the night differently mentally and to tackle it.”
To donate, visit www.thecocorun.ca.