Dave Proctor checks his watch as he takes his first steps into his journey to raise awareness from Mile Zero in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday June 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Alberta man running across Canada to break records, raise money

David Proctor hopes to cross the country in 66 days and also raise $1M for rare diseases

The prospect of pie and a family reunion propelled Dave Proctor along the Trans-Canda Highway as he neared Calgary on his cross-country run.

The 37-year-old from Okotoks, Alta., is attempting to set a speed record crossing the country in 66 days, while raising over a million dollars for the Rare Disease Foundation.

His nine-year-old son Sam has a rare disease affecting his mobility and balance.

Nine days after dipping his cowboy hat into the Pacific Ocean in Victoria, Proctor was scheduled to reach Lake Louise, Alta., on Thursday.

He must average about 108 kilometres per day to reach St. John’s N.L., by Aug. 31, which would beat the record of 72 days 10 hours set by Al Howie in 1991.

Proctor said he was struggling mentally and physically a few days into the run, but felt his body and mind were starting to adapt to the rigours of his undertaking.

“When I get done tonight, I’ve got the most incredible carrot waiting for me,” Proctor told The Canadian Press while running towards Field, B.C.

“I get to have pie with my kids. I get to squeeze my children. I haven’t done that in two weeks. I’ll break down crying if I keep talking about it.”

When Proctor reaches the outskirts of Calgary on Friday, a team of scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services will poke and prod him to study what mega-mileage is doing to his body and why he’s able to handle it.

His heart, lungs and arteries will be examined and blood drawn to look for signs of inflammation and stress.

“Dave is not an ordinary Joe like we are running and then getting tired,” said Dr. Antoine Dufour, who will collect blood samples from Proctor.

“He’s kind of a super-human if you will. Some things will be quite unusual with him in a good way and we want to find out what that is.”

Dr. James White of the Foothills Medical Centre’s cardiac imaging centre wants to study Proctor’s heart.

“It is certainly of interest to understand how excessive exercise changes the heart and how people like Dave are able to do what they do,” White explained.

“However, the effects of excessive workload on the heart and blood vessels can also tell us a lot about how the heart adapts to certain diseases.

“For example, if one of your heart valves is leaking it can become very similar to running a marathon each day as far as your heart is concerned.

“With Dave we are being given an opportunity to study how the heart changes over time to this kind of workload.”

Proctor’s vascular system of arteries and veins fascinate Dr. Aaron Phillips.

Prior to starting his run, Proctor did a VO2 max test to provide a baseline measurement of how efficiently he uses oxygen while he runs.

“Some of the most interesting results from Dave’s trial was that he doesn’t have a genetically remarkable maximum aerobic capacity, but what he does have is a high threshold where he can exercise at a very intense level without going into what we call borrowed energy supplies,” Phillips said.

“Dave’s able to exercise at an intense level and it’s almost like he’s walking. He could do it all day.”

Since Proctor is running to raise money for research, he was willing to offer up his body for it, albeit different research.

“Research is exactly one of the reasons why rare disease is as big of a struggle as it is right now,” Proctor said.

“I’m a geek and I absolutely love hearing about research like this. When I have the opportunity to be poked and prodded because of really a once-in-a-lifetime thing, absolutely put me on the list.”

Anxiety over what he was attempting disturbed his sleep his first few days on the road. The fatigue altered his stride, which spawned painful tendinitis in his leg.

Proctor admitted to feeling doubtful earlier this week that he could continue, but his optimism was returning Thursday.

“The body now has come to grips in my opinion. Everything is getting into a cycle that’s very manageable,” he said.

“The human body is capable of incredible things. Unfortunately we pull back and pull the plug way too soon before the body creates those adaptive changes.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder

The Big Read: Vancouver Island mom calls for more mental health services as son battles OCD

T.W. Paterson column: From ‘Old Dobbin’ to ‘King Gasoline’ — to bust

The late Jack Fleetwood loved to tell how he and his brother Doug bought six used cars — for $10!

Special weather statement forecasts hot weekend ahead on mid Island

Environment and Climate Change Canada advises residents in Nanaimo and Duncan to take precautions

Readers have plenty to say about Greyhound putting on the brakes

“It is a sad day for a once proud company”

Accused takes stand in trial for fatal crash in Yellow Point

Dustin Dennis Zinter represents self, testifies in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

B.C. Lions claw their way back to score 20-17 victory over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Edmonton, fell to 2-3 with the loss

High winds, lack of rain suggest no breaks in sight for B.C. wildfire season

There were 11 new wildfires across the province over 24 hours, BC Wildfire Service officials say

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies as fire, crash happen at same time on Vancouver Island highway

Young male motorcycle rider collides with one vehicle, then struck by another in Nanaimo

Former B.C. flight attendant protests sexual harassment outside YVR, asked to leave

Mandalena Lewis said she was handing out pamphlets outside YVR terminal when asked to leave

Most Read