A Saanich runner wants his first marathon to stand for something more than a sense of self achievement.
Mitch Hughes, 20, is registered for the 2019 BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 5 with a goal of raising as much money as he can for the KidSport Victoria charity that helps pay for youth sports registration fees. But raising the money is only part of it. Hughes plans to run the 42.2-kilometre course around Vancouver with the money, as much as $5,000 worth of it, in a backpack.
Hughes started a Go Fund Me campaign in late March not knowing what financial goal to set and by Monday afternoon it had hit $2,600 of the $5,000 he entered as a goal.
“The last three summers I’ve worked at Saanich Commonwealth Place as a youth leader running day programming in summers,” Hughes said. “It was there that I realized the impact sports and an active lifestyle have on youth.”
As a youth, Hughes tried everything from swimming, to skiing, baseball, running and more. On Jan. 1, 2016, Hughes – who grew up near Lochside elementary and attended that school, Royal Oak middle and Claremont – and his mother made a resolution to run 5 km every day, and they did.
They ran at least 1,800 kilometres, if not more, and that year he ran the TC10K with a respectable time of 36 minutes and 25 seconds.
Now in his third-year in life sciences at Queen’s University, Hughes has returned to regular running and upped his kilometres from a daily run of 10km to many more on the weekend, and is feeling confident in the marathon.
Along the way he became familiar with KidSport, which will benefit greatly from his fundraising. In just a few days the Facebook post of his GoFundMe page had 75 shares.
“The idea was for me to carry the money (bills only) that I raise as a symbol of the financial burden. It’s about the symbol, it’s not about the weight, which will only be a few pounds. Even if it was $100,000, it still wouldn’t weight that much.”
In 2018, KidSport Victoria provided $274,675 in funding to register 1,015 children in Greater Victoria youth sports.
“It’ll be my first marathon and it will mean even more being for such a good cause,” Hughes said.