Peter Schofield ran upwards of 130 kilometres on Saturday, but he insists he’s not a glutton for punishment.
He’s a glutton for accomplishment.
The 53-year-old Abbotsford resident ran all five distances of the Run for Water, beginning at 3:50 a.m. with the half-marathon course (21.1 km), continuing with the ultra marathon (53 km) and the marathon (42.2 km), and wrapping up with the 10 km and 5 km distances. He took the last step of his epic 131.3 km journey at 10:30 p.m.
Schofield attempted it just to see if he could. And he did.
“It was a personal challenge just to do it,” explained Schofield, an avid runner who takes on everything from trail runs to marathons. “You don’t know how far you can go until you go as far as you can.”
Last year, Schofield ran each of the five Run for Water distances on five consecutive days alongside his friend Mel Dick.
This year, the natural “next step,” as he put it, was to run them all in a single day.
Schofield trained the same as he would for running a marathon. Anything more, he said, would be redundant. And he made sure to leave plenty of time for recovery and rest so he wouldn’t burn out on the day.
Schofield let his friends know what he was planning, but he didn’t seek out any media attention in advance because he didn’t want the extra pressure. The most he’d ever run in a day was 80 km, and while he was confident he could extend well beyond that threshold, he wasn’t completely certain.
Schofield ran the half-marathon course with two friends, then drove out to Chilliwack to join up with the Run for Water ultra marathon group. He completed the last three distances with other friends cycling or running alongside.
“I was confident that I could do it, but trust me – there were times during the marathon when I wanted to quit,” he acknowledged with a chuckle. “I had no idea what to expect. It was a job.”
When he was finished, Schofield felt a deep sense of accomplishment, but mostly, he just wanted to get home and fall into bed.
On Sunday morning, he was back at Mill Lake Park to watch the main Run for Water festivities, and he looked – and felt – remarkably spry.
“I feel better than I do after racing a lot of marathons,” he said. “Maybe I’ll hurt more tomorrow, it’s really hard to tell. The legs feel really, really good.
“Pain is so temporary, but bragging rights are forever . . . It’s a sickness, I tell ya.”
For Schofield, the Run for Water is more than just an excuse to put his body through the wringer. He’s a big supporter of the charitable component of the event, raising $1,750 which will go towards creating clean water sources for people in Ethiopia.
“It’s such a worthy cause, when you see the effect that putting wells in and supplying water has on the children of the village,” he said. “Rather than hauling water all the time, they can go to school and actually have a life. I’ve seen a lot of presentations on it.
“It touches my heart, even though I’ve never been in that position. We’re so fortunate here.”