The time on the clock read 3:19 a.m. when some of Peter Grant’s fellow runners on the “TooManyReasons” team noticed he’d clocked up 35 kilometres.
There are many things Grant dreamt of doing in the wee small hours — running a marathon wasn’t one of them.
He was one of hundreds of runners and walkers taking part in the annual 12-hour Relay for Life on June 16, held at the Richmond Olympic Oval in aid of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Grant, like many of the competitors, were hurting bad. But they were all driven on by a common bond of being touched in some way by cancer.
Grant’s wife has recently had breast cancer, he’s lost a brother-in-law to cancer and two more relatives were diagnosed with the killer disease 18 months ago.
So, with only another seven kilometres left to complete the official marathon distance, and more than two hours left to do it, Grant stepped off the track for a quick leg massage before soldiering on.
“These other ladies started to count and by 3:18 a.m., it was noticed that I’d done 35 kilometres and there was still two hours to go,” said Grant, 50, who’s run 21 full marathons.
“It was definitely challenging at that time of the morning, especially with no sleep.
“But the environment keeps you going, there are bands playing and people were cheering me on.”
And at exactly 5:27 a.m., Grant passed the 42.2 kilometre mark, chalking up an amazing 211 laps of the 200-metre track to become the first person to run “the marathon” at the oval.
“Of course, with the ceremonial laps, I did more than that distance,” Grant joked.
“It’s really a way of attempting to do something, our family has been touched many times recently by cancer.
“It’s feeling like you’re really doing something. When you’re there, there’s people all around you that have suffered with cancer and that motivates you.”
His team raised more than $9,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, before Grant admitted to a rather strange side effect to running around the tight oval track.
“I did feel like I was still turning left for quite a while after finishing.”