A Wilfrid Laurier University student plans to run from the Niagara region to the CN Tower in Toronto in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the homeless situation in Waterloo Region and beyond.
Ryan Douglas, 21, of Georgetown, Ont., will hit the pavement in Vineland at around 7 a.m. in hope of ending his trip at the CN Tower around 12 hours later.
“We have raised in the ballpark of $4,000 thus far and have a generous donor who has offered to match all donations made in the days leading up to Saturday,” he told Global News. He has set a goal of raising $10,000 for Raising the Roof’s homelessness prevention programs.
People who want to take part can join a group of others doing a virtual run with a distance of their choice which does not have to be disclosed.
“With the idea of getting out there, challenging yourself and getting uncomfortable in support of those who struggle on a daily basis,” he explained.
Douglas, who captains the Laurier baseball team and also suited up for the Kitchener Panthers last summer, only took up running last January, as he was looking for alternative workout options.
The business administration student would run from his apartment in Waterloo, down King Street and into downtown Kitchener.
“As things got colder and conditions got worse, I was reminded while I was training of how dire that situation was, and how the pandemic kind of impacted things,” he explained. “And also just how prevalent homelessness was or is in Kitchener-Waterloo.”
Douglas says this helped generate his plan to do the run, which is called Horseshoe for the Homeless, which will see him foot the distance from Niagara Falls to the CN Tower.
Last April, he ran a marathon and in December he ran for 50 km but he has never come close to the distance he will run on Saturday.
“I’ll be starting in Vineland and we’ll be leaving at 7 a.m. I have some friends who are crewing me in a truck,” he said. “They’ll drive up the head a little bit, have some of the supplies that I need, and then we’re hoping to be at the tower by 7 p.m.”
Douglas, who is going into his last semester as a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, says he appreciates his buddies who are stepping up to help him.
“I’m super thankful to have a group of friends who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to hop in a truck and sip on coffees for a long, extended period of time, just to kind of help me execute this and to keep pushing the boundaries and to support those who can’t support themselves.”
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