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Day 154 October 7, 2011 Vancouver to West Vancouver 9km (13km to home)

1 Dec

Running homeWe met at the cauldron around 11:45am and prepared for the run into Ambleside. Shortly after we arrived, a school bus pulled up and 40 Collinwood students and a few teachers began spilling out. They had come to run with me across the bridge…

Day 154 October 7, 2011 Vancouver to West Vancouver 9km (13km to home)

1 Dec

Running home

We met at the cauldron around 11:45am and prepared for the run into Ambleside. Shortly after we arrived, a school bus pulled up and 40 Collinwood students and a few teachers began spilling out. They had come to run with me across the bridge into Ambleside. I was also joined by a number of my friends from high school. All in all there were almost 70 of us when we took off from the Cauldron. It was pretty sweet seeing everyone who had come out to run and I was excited to get started.
We had the same escort as the day before including our mustachioed leader, although much abbreviated today. We left at around 12:15 and were escorted from the Cauldron along Pender St to Georgia St. It was fun listening to the kids get excited about running with an escort and I was enjoying what is likely the last time I’ll ever have one. From Georgia we turned onto the path and ran along the Stanley Park Causeway to the Lions Gate Bridge.  I think this is actually the first time that I had run along the causeway, I normally run through the park, and we got a number of honks from passing motorists.
With the exception of a small portion of my run through Winnipeg, stepping onto the Lions Gate Bridge was the first time that I’ve been on a route that I have regularly run and was very familiar with. As we crested the top of the bridge I looked down to where the finishing point would be and could see a huge crowd had gathered. We stopped at the bottom of the bridge for quick photos with all the runners before we continued on down towards the beach.
The West Vancouver Police Department had kindly blocked off the short stretch from under the bridge along behind Park Royal to the trail and it wasn’t long before we were through the dog park and running along the beach. As I approached I was greeted by almost all of Collingwood School, grades 3-12. I looked around and everyone was cheering and holding signs they had made. It’s hard to describe the feeling but it was fairly overwhelming as I made my way through the path to the Ocean that was lined with students.
Again there was a banner at the end, and just like that I was at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Rodger Wright, Collingwood’s Headmaster, and the mayor of West Vancouver said a few words and then I got a chance to address the crowd. I felt a little silly standing there surrounded by everyone cheering but I was having a great time!
At many points during my run I had wondered what I would actually do when I got to the beach. I had envisioned hurling myself into the water and splashing around but I hadn’t envisioned having over a thousand people watch me do it. So I slowly waded in and poured out the bottle of Atlantic water that I had collected at Cape Spear and carried with me throughout the run. When that was done I wasn’t sure what to do next so I began walking out of the water, but I didn’t get very far. Derek, Mike and Russ came running in and tackled me back into the ocean. So I got my dunk in the water after all.
I spent the next hour or so talking to students, friends and family and taking lots of photos. I even got a chance to talk with another school that had come out to watch the run finish as well!
As time went on the crowd slowly thinned, the students having been given the rest of the day off, and soon there were only a few of us left. My house is only about 4 km from the beach and so after everyone was gone Derek, Russ and I took off for the final leg home. It took a little while longer than it might have, as we stopped off at the Red Lion Pub for a drink before continuing on home.
It’s hard to put into words the emotions I felt yesterday and today and this blog seems remarkably inadequate. The last 5 months have been the biggest adventure of my life. I’ve met a ton of great people, seen a ton of great things and hopefully, made a difference in the fight against prostate cancer.
Tomorrow I’m going to …

Day 154 October 7, 2011 Vancouver to West Vancouver 9km (13km to home)

1 Dec

Running homeWe met at the cauldron around 11:45am and prepared for the run into Ambleside. Shortly after we arrived, a school bus pulled up and 40 Collinwood students and a few teachers began spilling out. They had come to run with me across the bridge…

Day 153 October 6, 2011 Burnaby to Vancouver 12km

14 Oct

The finishI didn’t sleep all that well last night but I was anything but tired when I woke up this morning. David Bell showed up early dressed in a cowboy outfit, at which point I noticed that Russ was similarly dressed. I changed into my running gea…

Day 153 October 6, 2011 Burnaby to Vancouver 12km

14 Oct

The finish
I didn’t sleep all that well last night but I was anything but tired when I woke up this morning. David Bell showed up early dressed in a cowboy outfit, at which point I noticed that Russ was similarly dressed. I changed into my running gear in the MCC one last time and we set out to CityTV for Breakfast Television.
On the way there I was mocking Dave about his cowboy outfit and he said it didn’t matter because he wasn’t going to be on TV (little did he know). For the first time this trip I had to have make up put on before going on television. In addition, the make up lady wasn’t thrilled about my cowlick and began attacking it with various products to ensure it stayed down.
BT was a lot of fun and we even got Mike, Dave and Russ on camera quickly as they panned over to look at the two funny looking guys in cowboy outfits. From there we headed over to CBC Radio for the morning show with Rick Cluff. Again a lot of fun, with the security guard commenting on our arrival that we must either be Americans or from Alberta based on how some of us were dressed.
By the time we got back to Trev Deeley’s Motorcycle shop people had begun to arrive. First my family, then my friends, and then 8 motorcycle cops! I had a mic on for the whole run and so Global could hear everything that was being said all around me for most of the day. My sister had managed to get 100 blue shirts made with our logo and slogan on it and we had them all passed out to all who were running. By the time we started running there were quite a few of us, and the crowd would only grow as the morning wore on.
Our first stop was the mayor’s office. On the steps of city hall Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made a proclamation that October 6, 2011 would be known was “Dr Riley Senft’s Step Into Action Prostate Cancer Awareness Day”!
Our second stop was the Vancouver Prostate Centre where over 100 health care workers and researchers from the centre met us, most in their white coats with blue gloves on. It was the first time today that I felt a little emotional and was at a loss for what to say. Thankfully though my father stepped in and gave an impromptu speech thanking everyone for their commitment. I also had the opportunity to meet Dr Larry Goldenberg, the urologist who performed my father’s surgery.
Our third stop was the new Terry Fox memorial at BC Place Stadium. We had a quick stop there and looked around the memorial. I really like the four statues of Terry, it gives a great representation of his gait. It was another opportunity to stop and talk with some of the people that had joined our growing group of runners. We actually should have stayed longer because we were slightly ahead of schedule but the excitement at finishing got the better of us and we set off a little early.
The police escort through Vancouver was so much fun, the motorcycles blocking traffic on all sides and the confused looks from people on the side of the street. And there were lots of people on the side of the street because it was 12:30pm on a Thursday afternoon on the main streets of downtown so it was great exposure. As we turned onto Burrard St and I could see the ocean I started to get really excited. Everyone who had run with me continued on to the Olympic Cauldron and I stayed back in front of the Vancouver convention centre to give them time to set up. I hung out in the MCC with Dave, trying to stall so that I didn’t arrive too early. When Dave gave me the go ahead to get running again I stepped out and ran up to our police escort and he put his siren on as I approached the cauldron. When I turned up and saw everyone cheering, the cauldron lit and Derek and Lauren holding a big banner at the end, I thought it was as perfect an ending as I could have ever dreamed of.
After saying hi to as many people as I could Mike got up at the podium in front of the cauldron and said a couple of words. Ron DuMouchelles, the CEO of the Vancouver Prostate Centre and Dr Colin Collins a researcher at the centre then spoke. Finally it was my turn and standing up there, looking at all the family and friends that had come out to support me was overwhelming, and I had a hard time keeping my voice from breaking.
I spent the rest of the time talking to everyone I could get my hands on and really enjoying the moment. I was finally dragged away from the cauldron as the crowd dwindled and disappeared although I could have easily stayed for hours. I can’t describe how awesome and worthwhile I think this campaign has been and I just want to take an opportunity to thank everyone for their support. I really couldn’t have done this on my own and the number of people working behind the scenes while I was running is staggering.
We had a big dinner that night to celebrate the end of the run.
Tomorrow I will run across the bridge, joined by my former high school, to the North Shore and finally into the Pacific Ocean!

Day 153 October 6, 2011 Burnaby to Vancouver 12km

14 Oct

The finishI didn’t sleep all that well last night but I was anything but tired when I woke up this morning. David Bell showed up early dressed in a cowboy outfit, at which point I noticed that Russ was similarly dressed. I changed into my running gear …

Day 153 October 6, 2011 Burnaby to Vancouver 12km

14 Oct

The finishI didn’t sleep all that well last night but I was anything but tired when I woke up this morning. David Bell showed up early dressed in a cowboy outfit, at which point I noticed that Russ was similarly dressed. I changed into my running gear …

Day 152 October 5, 2011 Maple Ridge to Burnaby 46km

6 Oct

I made itIt was cold and wet this morning and I was sure I had only just gone to sleep when my alarm started going off, but as I got up there was a hint of the fun to take place today.The 6km run to Maple Ridge was wet but our pace was swift in anticip…

Day 152 October 5, 2011 Maple Ridge to Burnaby 46km

6 Oct

I made it

It was cold and wet this morning and I was sure I had only just gone to sleep when my alarm started going off, but as I got up there was a hint of the fun to take place today.
The 6km run to Maple Ridge was wet but our pace was swift in anticipation of what was to come. As we turned the corner and came down a hill we saw a police car waiting for us with a reporter and the mayor of Maple Ridge. After introductions and some discussion about the run we started off, our RCMP escort out in front with lights flashing.
Mike and I continued on along the Lougheed Hwy listening to the mostly friendly honks from the morning traffic. After about 10km we stopped for some water and another reporter showed up for an interview and to take some photos. At one point she wanted to take pictures of Mike and I stretching, and Mike got a panicked look on his face as he tried to decide what stretch to do.
As we started up again a 2nd RCMP officer, this time from Coquitlum joined us. Our Ridge Meadows escort peeled off as we entered Port Coquitlum and were joined by yet another RCMP car and a fire truck. At the same time Don Konantz arrived with 7 wonderful ladies from West Van who had come out to run. The 9 of us continued across the Pitt Meadows Bridge and as we approached the border to Coquitlum Rob Snowden pulled up with William Morse, a friend of mine from high school who joined in the run. Literally around the next corner we were met by three more fire trucks along with 10 or so fire fighters in their running gear. Now we had almost 20 people running and a huge escort as we continued along the highway. The ladies from West Van were delighted to now be surrounded by fire fighters!
Shortly thereafter my friend Wendy appeared by the side of the road with her son Cameron and the two of them joined in for a short jog alongside the growing group of runners. We continued in this fashion, with the Coquitlum fire fighters running until Burnaby and trading off with the Burnaby Fire Department, with some of their fire fighters running. As soon as we crossed into Burnaby I finally started to recognize my surroundings and the fact that I was nearing Vancouver really started to sink in a bit more. Just before cresting our last real hill before finishing we passed Rob Snowden again, this time cheering with some of his coworkers from Paladin Security by the side of the road.
As we turned on to Boundary Road and into the Trev Deeley Motorcycle dealership I was pretty excited.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying a beer over lunch at Earls, touring the motorcycle museum at the dealership, and thanks to the short day finally catching up on my blog.
Tonight is my last night in the MCC and it’s a little bittersweet. I’m pretty sure I won’t miss RV living, early mornings, blisters or the five H’s but I will miss spending my day meeting interesting people, seeing incredible scenery, and having no task to focus on other than putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been an incredible experience and if we’ve convinced even a few men to get checked, a totally worthwhile endeavor.
Tomorrow I will enter Vancouver

Day 152 October 5, 2011 Maple Ridge to Burnaby 46km

6 Oct

I made itIt was cold and wet this morning and I was sure I had only just gone to sleep when my alarm started going off, but as I got up there was a hint of the fun to take place today.The 6km run to Maple Ridge was wet but our pace was swift in anticip…