By Juli Harland
Time is getting short and the countdown is on for ‘Fast’ Eddy Dostaler and his epic run across Canada … and back again.
On March 1 at 8 am, 26-year-old Dostaler will set off from Clover Point; Victoria, BC, on a journey to raise funds, break records, and inspire an attitude of change. On that day, Dostaler will start his 21,585 kilometer run to raise funds and awareness for both the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.
Starting in Victoria, BC, Dostaler’s trek will take him through Vancouver, Kelowna, Kamloops, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John’s, hundreds of cities and town in between, and then all the way back again.
The real journey, however, started for Dostaler back in his school days, when he was assigned an essay on a Canadian hero. Not having a favourite already, he was encouraged to do some research on the subject. That’s when he came across two great Canadians: Rick Hansen and Terry Fox. And he was inspired.
“They did such tremendous good and really put others before themselves,” says Dostaler. “I was so inspired by them. That stuck with me. I always knew I would do this run.”
He originally chose the Alzheimer’s Foundation because, he says, it didn’t affect him. He wanted to run for a cause that was outside himself, to help others, but in a way he could never understand. He would run in one direction across the country, from Victoria to St.John’s, to run for the disease which was on the verge of being cured. He could be a part of pushing it over the edge.
Then his grandmother was diagnosed with the disease, and the run had a personal lift.
The decision to make the second part of his journey a fight for breast cancer came through a close bond with his university mentor. “I went to go and tell a professor of mine, Dr. Tom Owen [about the run],” says Dostaler, “then found out he passed away. He died of lung cancer.” The run wouldn’t be news to the professor, however, they had discussed the idea of doing great things for research before.
“He told me that if I was ever going to do anything big, do it for breast cancer,” says Dostaler, noting that the foundation was making great strides. “So I planned out my run and doubled it up and made sure it would go just under a year.”
And that was how the passion and vision grew for Mr. Eddy Dostaler. It started with a spark, an inspiration, and was fanned by the love and support of those around him. Even though, according to Dostaler, his mother is quite convinced he will be eaten by a bear along the way
And it’s already been a long journey just to get to where he is today. Born from an inspiration back in high school, Dostaler has been working tirelessly gathering support, deflecting naysayers, contacting media and sponsors, all while training his body for this remarkable journey. And he is coming out on top!
Word has been spreading about ‘Fast’ Eddy Dostaler. The local news has been talking about Dostaler for close to a year now, with stories on CBC.ca, CFJC TV, 1075 KISS FM, Kamloops This Week, and Penticton InfoTel. He has also recently hit the media circuit in Calgary and New Brunswick.
“This has been getting the best media coverage,” Dostaler says. “It puts it on my shoulders not to fail.” And failing, he says, is just not an option.
During his journey Dostaler will be stopping in each province and hosting 24 hour runs to both help to raise awareness and to meet and greet the public, giving each and every Canadian the chance to run alongside ‘Fast’ Eddy and be a physical part of change. And if you miss him going in one direction don’t worry, he’ll be coming back through on his return trip.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” he remarks. “I don’t think of it as running across the country twice. I think of it as getting around that next corner. Or there’s a straight stretch, let’s make it to the end of that stretch.”
Dostaler will be doing this run for Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s unassisted. Pushing all of his gear in a small jogging type stroller which he has named “Aurora”, he will be travelling through the wide and varied regions of Canada on his own. “Where the bears are,” he laughs.
But unassisted, Dostaler says, doesn’t mean he is unsupported. “I’ve got a great team,” he explains. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them. They are all busy with their own stuff and they still work hard for me. They are vital to this run.”
As well as his close circle of support, Dostaler is also thankful for the great companies who have stood up in support of this run. These include: Hoka, Thompson Rivers University, BodyGlide, CEP, Runner’s Sole, Superfeet and The North Face, with more in the works.
While the time is drawing near, Dostaler is filling his time doing talks at local schools, holding interviews, speaking at local events, reaching out to cross country media, and, of course, doing a little bit of running while he’s at it.
Dostaler will keep in touch throughout his run by using social media outlets such as Twitter: twitter.com/fasteddycanada, Facebook:www.facebook.com/FastEddyCanada, and Instagram: http://instagram.com/fasteddycanada. If you’d like to contact him for donations, sponsorship, or just to send an encouraging “well done” you can reach him and his team through his website at www.fasteddycanada.com.