He may play Iron Man on the big screen, but Robert Downey Jr. has nothing on Abbotsford’s Peter Schofield and Mel Dick.
In conjunction with the sixth annual Run for Water, Schofield, 52, and Dick, 49, concocted a plan to take on all five of the race distances over five days.
The duo ran the five-kilometre course together on Wednesday, then the 10k on Thursday and the half-marathon Friday. They joined the ultra marathon group Saturday, and then participated in the main marathon on Sunday.
Add it all up, and it’s 134 km.
“It’s Costco (in Abbotsford) to the top of the Coquihalla (Highway),” Dick estimated with a wry chuckle. “That’s basically what it is.”
Remarkably, at the tail end of their endeavor, Schofield and Dick managed to post Boston Marathon qualifying times in Sunday’s marathon, clocking in together at just over three hours and 24 minutes.
“It was really tough the last two or three kilometres (of the marathon),” Dick said afterward.
“Oh, it was hard. It was hard,” Schofield chimed in.
“But probably five minutes after we stopped running, I was amazed at how much better I felt, just standing around and getting some water into me,” Dick added.
The purpose of the gruelling venture was to push their limits athletically while raising awareness of the Run for Water cause.
The feat captured people’s imaginations – between the two of them, Schofield and Dick raised approximately $4,000 towards clean water projects in Ethiopia.
Asked why the event is so special to them, Dick answered, “How much time do you have?”
“The biggest thing is what it’s doing,” he said. “It’s raising money and awareness for Ethiopia, that there is still a water crisis.
“Every morning when I get up, I grab a glass of clean water from my sink to start my day hydrated, and I fill my espresso machine with clean water. And most days, I do remember that not everybody has that. This is a chance for us as a community to support another part of the world and give them water.”
Ken Baerg, chair of the Run for Water organizing committee, lauded Schofield and Dick’s efforts.
“These guys have created a little bit of a cult of their own here,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable undertaking – physically, mentally, and they’re huge fundraisers for the cause as well. They kind of embrace this holistic thing – fitness, being elite athletes, and raising funds for people who don’t have access to clean water. They’re true ambassadors for the cause and the event.”