By: Carolynne Simons
We don’t always see the countless hours of training and exercising that shape people and communities. From July to the end of September, Team Milton, led by MP Adam van Koeverden, encouraged community participation in the Race Across Canada Challenge. I would normally be planning my race schedule but an emergency spinal surgery, Multisport Canada’s race series going virtual, and work changes lead me down a different road.
Team Milton’s 37 member team won it with 10,890km in the virtual race, well beyond the 8,030km goal spanning across Canada’s east to west coast. While the team raised $721.96 for hospice care in our community, I was pleased by how safe and socially responsible this was by tracking distances covered from running, swimming, biking, walking, canoe/kayaking. This all coincided with what I could control in my personal situation and helped me pull on sports to speed up recovery. It was also a terrible time to be in any healthcare emergency during Covid-19 and a physiotherapy/acupuncture schedule had to align. Thanks to a few, open water swimming added kilometres to the virtual race and helped me pivot when local Kelso Conservation in Milton was at capacity.
Race Across Canada – Team Milton had a facebook page, which was the key engagement tool in how I believe this came together. I also never cared much for Facebook until I came to appreciate that connecting with new team members might be a good fit and distract me from my highly analytical ways. I’ve always advocated that when it comes to exercise, the problem isn’t ‘you’ it’s sometimes the systems around you. Virtual exercise platforms (seen right) weren’t new to me, but I had to look at rebuilding my body through a very different lens this year. I was five weeks out of surgery when I joined on this team and everything seemed far from a linear progression… I let go of performance metrics, coaching plans, and everything that I used to keep my fitness sharp. I felt my heart rate go through the roof from the smallest burst of exertion, threshold/pace changes across the board and my sleep/appetite were disturbed to the max. I couldn’t count on anything anymore, except for those who I chose to surround myself with. I reached out to some of my local training partners and they jumped on Race Across Canada – Team Milton with us. We could all go at it at our own pace, and the cumulative kilometres made for adjustments needed on all levels.
“As an Olympian, I saw firsthand how physical activity can bring a people together. The Race Across Canada initiative has shown once again that our community here in Milton is ready to take on any challenge. Coming in first place was definitely nice, but the real prize was knowing we raised money for the Townsend Smith Foundation, ensuring that the people of Milton will always have access to quality end-of-life care.”
- Adam van Koeverden, Member of Parliament for Milton
“Many of us are missing our community connections and training partners. So why not combine community fundraising with physical exercise? Getting exercise while connecting with those around you benefits everyone because it makes you more accountable for getting some exercise, keeps you socially connected, and forces you to think beyond ‘traditional events’.”
- Carolynne Simons, member of Team Milton
“Townsend Smith Hospice Foundation is working very diligently to build a local hospice and bring awareness to palliative care. Race Across Canada has allowed the community of Milton to help us achieve our goal. This and other similar events are helping to bring a greater awareness to the cause.”
- Kate Holmes, Director of Development, Townsend Smith Hospice Foundation
This was a win-win-win, then by the fall I was back in action with an ongoing checklist of work to do!
An action-oriented approach no matter how tough getting exercise in can seem right now? Just reinforces how spending time doing something good for both you and others creates a halo-effect.
Maybe it’s a good reminder that sometimes we have to let discipline carry us…when motivation won’t.