Led by a superhuman demonstration of perseverance and sheer willpower from 24-hour man Dave Proctor, TeamMito runners smashed seven out of seven treadmill Guinness World Records to complete their #MitoTreadmill challenge at the Big Four building in Calgary on Saturday.
Proctor, who came up with the idea of challenging the treadmill records to increase awareness of mitochondrial disease and raise funds for MitoCanada, battled back from the brink of despair to complete the seventh and final record by running an incredible 260.4 kilometres on a treadmill in 24 hours. He also set a record for most kilometres in 12 hours.
Arielle Fitzgerald also dug deep to end the day with women’s 50k and 100k records, while men’s and women’s teams – each comprising 12 runners – established new 24-hour records. Meanwhile, Bernadette Benson simultaneously set the 12-hour female record in Australia to raise funds for mitochondrial disease. The records are yet to be ratified and remain unofficial.
“It was an unreal 24 hours. There was so much emotion and excitement – it exceeded all my expectations,” said MitoCanada co-founder and men’s team runner, Blaine Penny, adding at least $75,000 has been raised for the charity. “So many people came out to watch us and so many people were talking about mitochondrial disease and MitoCanada.
“The atmosphere was electric – it made the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Dave Proctor pulled it off in the end – he was the superhero of this whole event along with Arielle, the other runners and our amazing volunteers.”
With less than 10 kilometres to go to break the 24-hour record, Proctor was in so much pain he contemplated quitting. A heart to heart with Mito Canada co-founder and men’s team runner Blaine Penny gave him the strength to carry on and ultimately break the current record by almost three kilometres.
“I was done. I was in so much pain with my stomach,” said Proctor, who was supported by his wife Sharon and their three children, as well as his parents and friends. “I asked Blaine to tell me something that would make me finish. He talked about how much strength it had taken to get through the last few months, when his son Evan was so sick he thought he might lose him. He said that the running community coming together gave him so much power.
“He thanked me for coming up with the idea for the treadmill challenge, and moving it forward. He said, ‘there’s one thing left to do and that’s to finish what you started.’ ”
Evan was a happy and healthy child who began developing serious health problems after having a routine appendectomy at the age of four. He was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease about a year later and is now a quadriplegic who is unable to talk.
“The last three months have been rough for Evan. He’s had four surgeries since Christmas,” said Penny. “Dave and I talked about that. We knew Dave had a 50-50 chance of completing this record physically, but when you think about all the things that can go wrong, what he accomplished was just amazing.”
The seven new Guinness World Records, which remain unofficial until confirmed by GWR, are as follows:
- Dave Proctor: 12 hours – 139.2 kilometres
- Dave Proctor: 24 hours – 260.4 kilometres (previous record was 257.88)
- Arielle Fitzgerald: Fastest 50 kilometres – 3:51.25
- Arielle Fitzgerald: Fastest 100 kilometres – 8:30.34
- Bernadette Benson: 12 hours – 128.62 kilometres
- Women’s team of 12: 344.45 kilometres
- Men’s team of 12: 24 hours – 394.76 kilometres
(Women’s team: Allison Blackmore, Shannyn Clancy, Devon Karchut, Carmen Lambert, Megan MacDonald, Jen MacPherson, Melissa Paauwe (capt), Debbie Reed, Faye Stenning, Sharon Styles, Adriana Wild, Arden Young, Men’s team: Darcy Bell, Keith Bradford, Adam Campbell, Jody Draude, Adam Kahtava, Tristan Janusc (capt), Rich MacDonald, Duncan Marsden, Greg Medwid, Calum Neff, Myron Tetreault, Blaine Penny)
The world record attempts started at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 27 and finished 24 hours later. TeamMito received incredible support from a huge volunteer crew led by the tireless efforts of Robert Lazorko and Daniel Bowie. Movement Sports Clinic did shifts through the night to keep Proctor and the other runners moving while GoodLife Fitness supplied the record-setting Procor treadmills. Other key sponsors were Terra Dental, Canada Diagnostic Centres, The Running Injury Clinic, Neil Zeller Photography, Amaranth Whole Foods Market, The Calgary Marathon and Toolshed Brewery.
The whole TeamMito crew would also like to thank Lakeview Bakery, Perfect Fit Fitness Moves, Christie Lites and Daniel Bowie AV.
The term mitochondrial disease refers to a large group of disorders, many of which are yet to be discovered. Each condition is the result of a genetic mutation, which causes the mitochondria to fail and results in less energy being made in the cells. The cells may stop working or die. Parts of the body may not function properly and many health problems can result. The symptoms of mitochondrial disease can range from mild to severe. There is no cure. However, many people have a normal life span with their disease well managed. Research is underway across the world that will help us learn more about these diseases and find new treatments and therapies.
About MitoCanada and TeamMito
In 2009, MitoCanada was formed by a group of mitochondrial disease patients, family and friends, with support from dedicated medical professionals. MitoCanada exists to provide support and practical information that will help to improve the quality of life and sense of community for patients and their families. TeamMito was created to provide a means to raise awareness for MitoCanada and mitochondrial disease through the participation of team members in sport of all types.
More to follow …