Hustle With Russell and Raise Money for the Janeway

Mike Russell, an Ultra Distance Runner is about to run across Newfoundland via the Trans Canada Highway in order to raise money for the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre and he is looking for your support.

The run will begin on June 4 and is estimated to take two to three weeks to finish, and Russell has set a goal of raising $10,000 along the way. So far, the campaign has raised nearly $1, 200. “I had the idea to run the island before I moved away this year,” Russell told The Racket via email. “Then I found out my cousin Oliver got diagnosed with Leukemia [and] after many visits to see him and how well the Janeway treated the kids, it made me want to do this run for a bigger reason than myself.”

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“As I run through each community, I'll be reaching out through social media, to give [residents] the opportunity to come out and run sections with me,” said Russell. He is hoping for support from volunteers and donations and plans to broadcast the entire trip across the island though his social media channels.

 Russell surprisingly only started running three years ago but he hasn’t stopped since.”I never really cared about running growing up, and never thought it would be where I’d find true happiness,” he said. “We all need to get out there and search for what we love because this sport has taught me so much about myself and what we are all really capable of.”

When asked what words of encouragement he could provide to those dealing with overcoming an obstacle, whether it be an illness or the daunting task of running across the province, Russell said, “If you are battling an illness, it's a different battle. All I can say is to stay as positive as you can and focus on the good in your life, and find the one thing you truly passionate about.”

“For me, that was running, and I was able to accomplish these huge goals because I love the sport. I love knowing how far the body truly can go when you let it. A lot of people will give up before their body is ready. You need to stay mentally strong and push through what your mind says and continue fighting because when you break through the rough battle, everything is so much better on the other side.”

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The goal wasn’t to get off the couch and run across the province initially. Russell started with small distances like five to ten kilometres and after logging a few more miles on the East Coast Trail, Russell began setting bigger goals to complete longer distances. “It started with 50 km races, then 50-mile races, [then] 100km races and finally the biggest and longest race I ran was a 100-mile race,” said Russell. “I ran two of these in 2018 within a couple months of each other. The first one took me just of 24 hours to complete, and the second one was just over 21 hrs to complete. These races and distances change you and allow you to find the truest part of what your body and mind are capable of.”

For more information about the Hustle With Russell campaign, or to donate, visit the gofundme page. You can also follow along the run across Newfoundland on Instagram, @russinit, and Facebook where you can see live updates once the run starts.