trans-canada run
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Fastest Run Across Canada: Alberta Ultrarunner Dave Proctor Breaks 30-Year Record

Running from Newfoundland to British Columbia over 2 months and change, a Canadian athlete has broken a long-standing speed record.


Editor’s note: This story was originally published on iRunFar.


Dave Proctor took off from the Terry Fox monument in Newfoundland in mid-May and arrived at the Terry Fox Monument in British Columbia on July 21, 2022. The trip earned him the record as the fastest person to run across Canada, where he covered the 7,159km (4,448 miles) distance in 67 days, 10 hours, and some to-be-confirmed minutes.

He averaged a highly productive 65-plus miles per day to break Al Howie‘s previous record of 72 days and 10 hours, set in 1991.

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity, and [I’m] grateful,” Proctor told Vancouver’s CTV News after he crossed the finish line. “I’ve just seen the most beautiful country in the world, and I suggest every Canadian do the same very thing.”

He later suggested everybody else just drive the distance.

Running Across a Continent

Dry humor is far from lost on Proctor, who opted for a highly visible cowboy hat as a calling card on the run. Though he’s also prone to wax poetic on the beauty of his country and the profundity of the experience (especially via social media), he’s also proven he won’t spare a joke at his own expense.

 

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A post shared by Dave Proctor (@runproctor)

“I’ve run 7,159 kilometers [4,448 miles] through rugged Newfoundland, breathtaking Nova Scotia, rolling New Brunswick, beautiful Quebec, gigantic and desolate Ontario, flat Manitoba, the colorful fields of Saskatchewan, the ranch lands of Alberta, and the epic mountains of British Columbia,” he wrote on Instagram. “… [Relied] on friends and families support, made new friends, ate boatloads of bakery items, burned through 12 pairs of shoes.”

He went on to characterize the journey as “priceless.” What does Proctor plan to do next?

“I’m really looking forward to coffee in bed tomorrow,” he wrote. “And if you are asking, I’ll be taking tomorrow off [from] running.”

Anatomy of a Record: No Blisters (Really!)

From the sound of things, Proctor earned his reposed coffee date. Of course, he completed the run with consistent support, especially from his girlfriend, Lana Ledene. But the equivalent of summiting Everest five times can’t only be an occasion for making jokes.

On a particularly brutal day 40, he face-planted and sustained a facial laceration that proceeded to bleed openly in the humid, 90-plus-degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

 

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A post shared by Dave Proctor (@runproctor)

All in all, though, Proctor looks to have remained blissfully upbeat. We would, too, if we could rack up that much running and suffer zero blisters.

 

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A post shared by Dave Proctor (@runproctor)

Proctor secured the record after a previous failed attempt in 2018, heading west to east. On that attempt, he pulled out with an injury in Manitoba.

This time around, he said his family and the example of legendary Canadian para-athlete Terry Fox gave him all the inspiration he needed to pull through.

“He picked a target that he knew isn’t going to be broken for a long time; that was his goal,” said Ledene. “I am so happy for him, and I am so proud of him.”

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.