A local athlete used to letting his arm do most of the work has put his legs to the test for a good cause.
Ryan Douglas is a fourth-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University and a pitcher on the Golden Hawks' mens baseball team and, as a pitcher, doesn't tend to do much base running.
That said, earlier this month, Douglas ran for about 334,662 total bases as part of a fundraising run from Vineland to the CN Tower in Toronto.
The more than 100km-long endurance challenge has been in the making since earlier in the pandemic when Douglas says he turned to running as a way of staying in shape while the gyms were closed and fell in love.
"Really putting my foot in the ground and falling in love with this is something that took about a month of it just sucking, it sucked for a month, I hated running, it's boring and there's not a whole lot of comfort there," Douglas said. "But I think as time progressed and I started to see the rewards of staying consistent with it, it became a lot of fun and something that I've tried to rally my friends and family to join me in."
Douglas says he would train by running up and down King Street between Kitchener and Waterloo and it was during those runs that he also came to better notice the local homeless issue.
"And set a goal for myself that once I have that ability of both fitness and some time to build a bit of a campaign here to make an impact I would reach out to some of the leading homelessness organizations in the area," Douglas said, adding he then connected with Raising the Roof.
Fast forward then to this run, and Douglas says he set out on the more than 100km trek having only previously run a max of half that.
"I knew running 100km with a previous longest run of 50km was going to be something I couldn't really fully prepare for in terms of what I was going to go through, the pain, the discomfort," he said.
But Douglas says he pushed himself as hard as he could during the winter in hopes the better spring conditions would make the run seem more simple.
"It was about 15 degrees, sunny, no wind at all," he said. "The pain and discomfort was really limited until about 75km and at that point we were so close we could taste the end and the beers that would come shortly after."
As of the time of writing, Douglas has raised more than $13,000 through his Horseshoe for the Homeless campaign which continues to raise money for Raising the Roof.
You can find out more about that campaign and how to donate here.