By Sue Tiffin
If you’re travelling from Kinmount to Lindsay this upcoming weekend, you’ll be following the same route as Russell Lavis. The difference is, he’ll be taking on the journey by foot.
Lavis is a runner, and an ultramarathon enthusiast at that. The Fenelon Falls resident has been running for just over three years and in that time has raised tens of thousands of dollars for organizations and causes he cares about, including World Vision Canada, SickKids, Bereaved Families of Ontario and for Palestinian humanitarian needs.
“The sport has been a passion and personal challenge of mine, but what I’ve come to realize is that dedicating my runs to causes that make a difference in the lives of others who need it most, brings a deeper meaning to my runs and strengthens my commitment,” he wrote to the Times.
On Nov. 13, he’s running the Victoria Rail Trail for 125 kilometres – the equivalent of three marathons – beginning and ending in Fenelon Falls while running north to Kinmount and south past Lindsay, toward Bethany. This time his motivation toward the finish line is helping Kids Help Phone.
“The youth of Canada are the future,” he said. “During this global pandemic, there are many uncertainties, especially among young people. I want to do my part in helping youth across Canada have access to Kids Help Phone’s critical services based on these uncertainties.”
Lavis said he’s passionate about supporting resources for youth to critical counselling services across Canada.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kids Help Phone has become a significantly more critical service in responding to youth across Canada. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Kids Help Phone had 1.9 million contacts. Whereas, in 2020, Kids Help Phone had 4.6 million contacts which is a 242 per cent increase in their service. Now, in 2021, Kids Help Phone has climbed to 5.5 million contacts which is nearly three times as many as 2019.”
Lavis said he also runs to be a good role model for his niece and nephew, and that by dedicating his runs to important causes and his family, he performs better, inspired by knowing the goal is something much bigger than himself.
“One hundred and twenty-five kilometres is extremely tough to endure, but the payoff is simply immeasurable,” he said.
At press time, Lavis had reached 30 per cent of his $5,000 goal. To donate toward his effort, visit https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/Donate.aspx and search for Russell Lavis.
“Some honks would be super cool as well,” he said.