For several months now, members of the Raincoast ‘Salmon Run’ team have been scattered in various places running the trails and roads of Calgary, California, Vancouver and Victoria as they train for the upcoming Victoria Marathon.
For me, I’ve been hitting the logging roads of the Broughton Archipelago on the BC coast. Despite some drawbacks – like the clearcuts and accessorizing with pepper spray or a flare gun – logging road training has its advantages. The road is soft (and my 40+ bones really like soft), the distance is marked every kilometer from the camps (so I don’t run an extra metre more than I have to) and if you’re going to run in the wilderness for 20 kilometers or so, the loggers watch out to make sure you’re back to your boat by dark. If not, they come looking.
Today was my last run before race day next weekend. It was a magical day that started with humpback whales in the morning, sunshine by noon, and salmon in one of the rivers along my running route.
Sometimes I struggle with the daily contradictions these runs invoke. I run a logging road that facilitates the trashing of salmon habitat. I access the lake glowing in the evening sun and I hear salmon splash. The salmon numbers are so low in the rivers that I work in, I worry for hungry bears and the future of these runs. 30 million sockeye returned to the Fraser River. But here in the Broughton, a neighbour has a grizzly walking his floats looking for food. I watch a young bear fish for salmon. I rejoice in the beauty. I suffer in the pain of knowing what low returns of fish mean for this region.
Raincoast’s Salmon Run, along with the money we hope to raise, is targeted for our outreach to youth. Our goal is to provide youth with experiences and education that can shape their understanding of this remarkable coast and its fragile life forms. We want to inspire their imaginations with the possibilities of a strong future for salmon and wildlife; a future where decisions are based on maintaining the health of the land and sea and all that depend upon them to survive. That’s worth running for. The link below will take you to my marathon donation pages. Thank you for your support!