Oliver Stankiewicz could picture his mom Laura Jean’s face at the end of his gruelling 101-kilometre run in her honour.
She would have been proud, said Stankiewicz, a Vernon businessman pleased that so many stepped up to support his MOVE4MOM fundraiser for Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre. Laura Jean passed away from uterine cancer on Aug. 31, 2020 at age 59.
Stankiewicz ran the 101 kms on Mother’s Day on the Okanagan Rail Trail in 16 hours and 45 minutes, starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 9. He ran one last kilometre for Laura Jean.
His event raised $30,028 for the cancer centre.
“Retailers put together fantastic prizes, there was a lot of emotional and mental support along the way, lots of words of wisdom and pats on the back,” said Stankiewicz. “My mom would have been very happy.”
Stankiewicz’s body held up pretty good throughout the nearly 17-hour run which started under cool, clear midnight skies, and ended in hot, sunny conditions. He persevered through some nutritional issues as well as emotional ones.
“Probably at about kilometre 35, at 3:30 in the morning, I had a mental breakdown,” said Stankiewicz. “It all suddenly seemed so daunting. There were still 65 kilometres ahead of me. It was at that point I shut my brain off for the rest of the race.
“I removed any emotions for the run but I thought about my mom. It was a weird flood of emotions.”
Stankiewicz’s friend, Nico Guertin, ran the course with him, not having trained a lot for the event due to his schedule, but stuck to Stankiewicz’s side.
Marie Articus, Stankiewicz’s girlfriend, did aid stations every 10 kilometres along the trail for her partner. She was at the finish line to greet Stankiewicz, as was his father and sister and her family.
His goal for the inaugural run was a modest $5,000.
“I was thrilled with the final amount raised,” said Stankiewicz. “It definitely exceeded my hopes and expectations.”
Plans have already started for the second MOVE4MOM event in 2022.
“We’ll be implementing some other events that we’ll touch on at a later date,” said Stankiewicz. “But things are in the works that will be awesome for the community.”