On June 11, 2021 Owen Sound-based trail runner Steve Kenny will embark on a 900 km journey from Niagara to Tobermory on the Bruce Trail. He will attempt to set a new Bruce Trail Fastest Known Time or FKT. The current FKT record of 9d 17h 2m 25s was set in 2020 by John Harrison Pockler. Kenny had the opportunity to run with Pockler during his run, and that experience inspired him to make an attempt himself.
Trail running is different from running on the road. There are unique challenges including roots, rocks, streams, low branches and wild animals. Navigation of the trail itself can be difficult, especially at night.
Typically athletes attempt to run the Bruce Trail southbound from Tobermory to Niagara. Kenny will take the opposite approach, starting in Niagara and ending on the Bruce Peninsula. This is considered a tougher run, as elevation and technical difficulty increase as the trail progresses northward. Running the trail in this direction will bring Kenny back to home turf when he is nearing the end. Running on familiar trails, seeing friends and family and hearing encouragement will help drive him during the final days and kilometres.Kenny is relatively new to running. In the fall of 2018 he began to train, unsuccessfully, for a 10km run. He realized that some major changes were needed. Having already given up drinking and smoking, he added yoga, meditation, biking and running-specific strengthening to his daily routine, with advice and encouragement from Jade McMeekin, his partner and a Registered Massage Therapist. The true catalyst for change came when he decided to eat a plant-based diet for one week. After 2 days, he knew he was never going back. Within a year Kenny had completed his first marathon, ultra trail race and 100KM run. He then set his sights on running The Bruce.
Kenny and McKeekin have launched the website Fear Know Trail for those who would like to follow the adventure. People can track the progress of the run in real time thanks to GPS location services. The website also offers ways to get involved. They encourage everyone to visit the website and find out more.
The run will help raise awareness of local food producers and healthy eating. Food is an important component to what Kenny does. Food is fuel, and better fuel means he can perform at his best. As a vegan, he requires high quality nutrient dense foods to complete a feat of endurance like this. His plan is to run on average 100km a day which will require about 6000-8000 calories daily, with stops every few hours for food and water refills and anything else he may need.
Kenny and McKeekin are proud to partner with and raise awareness for Eat Local Grey Bruce. ELGB is a not-for-profit member-owned farm and consumer co-op that provides to-the-door delivery of sustainable, locally-produced foods. Fundraising to support Eat Local Grey Bruce will help ELGB create a more equitable food culture so others can benefit from access to great local food. It will also help support ELGB’s Zero Waste initiatives, to make the organization’s practices even more sustainable. ELGB's warehouse and distribution centre is in Owen Sound.
The Zero Waste Project - in order for ELGB to go Zero Waste they plan to package many of their dry goods in mason jars (which then will be returned). The dishwasher is needed to wash the jars before they get refilled. Kenny's goal is to help them raise awareness and funds for the Zero Waste Project (the dishwasher being one aspect of that.
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