By Pat Bolen, Special to the Times-Advocate
EXETER — An Exeter-area runner is hoping to raise $10,000 for the South Huron Hospital Foundation (SHHF) with a double marathon run Sept. 29 through most of South Huron’s towns.
Ben Armstrong, who is 36, lives on Elimville Line and lived in Exeter for 21 years.
Armstrong said he was inspired to run 84 kilometres in one day two years ago, after seeing a woman named Theresa Carrier, who ran 100 km in a day for breast cancer.
According to Armstrong, his original goal of matching the 100 km distance was a little extreme and he decided on 84.4 km, as it will allow him to run through Dashwood, Grand Bend, Mt. Carmel, Huron Park and Centralia.
“I first started running in the spring of 2009. Later that summer I stopped, then in January of 2011 I really started getting interested in running again and have been running consistently ever since.
“My longest race to date was in March of this year in Hamilton, at the ‘Around the Bay’ 30 km road race, and since then I have added longer training runs.”
Armstrong has attended the SHHF Gala for the past three years and, seeing the generosity of others, he felt the need to somehow help the community.
“After running in Hamilton I decided to combine the two factors that were motivating me and that’s when I came up with this plan of running 84.4 km. I wanted the distance to be out of the ordinary but also achievable with the limited time I had for training.”
Armstrong said he has researched ultra-running and spoken with people about it, but is not following a training schedule.
“I try to do two shorter training runs throughout the week, which average eight to 10 km each, and then two longer runs on the weekend, which have a combined average of 50-60 km.
“I also have a long run Saturday mornings and another long run Saturday evenings, which are accompanied by a middle-distance run Friday nights or Sundays.
Armstrong added, “I have also included some cross-training with core exercises and massage. I have been consulting with a sports nutritionist who has worked with me to make sure I am eating properly and getting the right amount of calories. He has me eating upwards of 4,000 calories a day and training consumes most of my spare time.”
The run will start and finish at South Huron Hospital and Armstrong has a goal of completing the run in a maximum of 10 hours.
The money raised will be put towards purchasing new equipment for the physiotherapy department. For more information, Armstrong can be followed on Facebook at ONE Strong RUN or at www.canadahelps.org.
Donations can also be made by calling 235-2700, ext.5133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.