Help Kyle and the Raincoast Team in our Run for Salmon!

Race day is fast approaching.  I’m inching closer and closer to running 21k (not a full marathon, but a half-marathon’s still not bad for someone who smoked a pack a day for 9 of his 27 years on earth).  I’m feeling more and more like a “runner” by the day.  Evidence to support this includes my blackened toenails (Fig 1) and taped nipples (to prevent chaffing.. I made that discovery quite painfully when I passed the 12k mark – who knew?), though I still don’t wear the full-body, electronic, heart-beat measuring, glucose-detecting, sweat-preventing, gravity-defying techno-gear donned by some of the (potentially android) runners I see fly past me on my trips around Elk Lake.

Fig 1. Blackened toenail: Photographic evidence of my (semi-) long-distance running

Over the summer I’ve been able to gradually increase my mileage.  During springtime runs with Christina and Heather up at the Raincoast Field Station (on Denny Island) I was struggling to run for 6k straight; I’ve now made it to the 18k mark, only 3k from the half-marathon target of 21k.  I’m now typically less red in the face during runs, I clutch my chest left frequently, and it’s a very rare occasion now that pedestrians I pass quietly ask one another whether they should order me an ambulance.

Getting to this point has seemed a struggle for me; however, when contrasted with the struggle faced by racers in the true ‘Salmon Runs’ (ie salmon) my efforts pale in comparison.  In the photo below we see a comparison between a spawned out salmon and a ‘spawned out’ Kyle (Fig 2).  While I may seem just as spent as our salmonid friend, the fact of the matter is that this little buddy just migrated hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, uphill the whole way; I just ran 18k on flat ground.  Despite the impressive salmony display of strength and endurance, these fish, and their home on Canada’s West Coast, face a far greater struggle ahead as many human pressures threaten their continued existence.  This is where Raincoast comes in, and why I’m pushing my distinctly NON-athletic body to run this race.  Pledges collected for this race will go towards funding Raincoast’s efforts in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, with a special focus on the ‘Raincoast Kids’ program that allows ecologists to lead educational activities in Heiltsuk territory.  These kids will have a great responsibility given to them in years to come to carry on the long tradition of stewardship of their land; our role in assisting their discovery of the ecological wonders of their home counts as one of our most valued contributions on the coast.

Fig 2. Spawned out a) Kyle Artelle (Homo Sapiens) and b) Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.)

To donate towards our run in support of this and other programs at Raincoast, please visit “Kyle Artelle’s Giving Page” at http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=9354.

This page accepts credit cards and online banking, and donating takes less than 5 minutes.  All proceeds go directly to Raincoast Conservation Foundation (tax receipts issued immediately).  All donations, no matter how small, will help greatly!  Please support us!

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