How far would you go to get your message of health and wellness across to others?
How far would you go to get your message of health and wellness across to others? My family’s answer: 15,000 kilometres on foot across two countries.
On May 9, 2011, my wife Gaye, our six children and I started our journey to raise awareness on health, prevention and wellness in Vancouver. We ran in relay fashion across Canada to St. John’s, N.L., then continued down the eastern seaboard to New York City, on to Dallas and across the United States to finish in Los Angeles on Nov. 29.
My dream of running across the country began in 1980 when I was in my second year at CMCC and saw Terry Fox run on Highway 69, just North of Sudbury. Thirty-one years later, on the Sunday before Christmas 2010, when I announced to the family that I intended to make my goal a reality by running across Canada, the children said they also wanted to take part in this adventure. Because our family would run in relay fashion, we made the decision to include the United States so we could impact a larger group of people.
GET READY . . .
Getting everything organized for our run across two countries was an adventure in itself as we had only three months to prepare.
We found two chiropractors to work in each clinic and a manager to oversee the operation of the convenience/health food store that we own in Wakefield. And we purchased a motor home. The boys, Ben and Jake, own their own construction company building custom homes – so they had to complete their projects before they could leave. Karina, who just finished her first year at McGill University, received permission to take her second year off. Whitney, who was in her last year of high school, completed most of her credits before we left. The other two girls, Tanya and Dayna, took time off of their work.
As if preparing for the Marathon of Health weren’t enough, our family organized the first annual Wakefield Covered Bridge run, which took place two weeks before we left. It was a 5K and 10K race through which we raised $12,000 to improve our local recreational facilities.
Ironically, once the decision to run across two countries was made, we did not have much time to train and run long distances. In fact, for the majority of the kids, leaving Vancouver on Day 1 of the Marathon of Health was the very first time they had run 10 kilometres; running every day was also a first experience.
Getting a project of this magnitude underway could not be done without some outside help. Two sporting goods stores – Sports 4 in Ottawa and Aerobics First in Halifax – provided us with running shoes and running wear. Timex gave us GPS watches; Tanda Professional gave us some laser light therapy units; StemTech provided us with stem cell nutrition products; and 7-Minute Workout helped us create our website, www.marathonofhealth.com. Our mission of inspiring people to improve their health naturally resonated well with the visions of 7-Minute Workout and Stemtech, so they gladly helped us with our project.
GET SET . . .
Although my family and I agreed we wanted to share the actual adventure with others, we also spent some time solidifying our message, during that preparation period. We wanted people to know that they need to take responsibility for their health and the prevention of problems that can arise. We wanted to stress that this approach is much more effective and less costly than waiting for the damage that can occur and then having to institute some form of treatment. Although the pharmacological and surgical approaches to health care are very effective, they are mostly meant to deal with symptoms of health problems once they have occurred; they very rarely address the root causes, and we believe this is bankrupting our country. I wanted to let people know that good health is possible for everybody if they take certain action steps now!
|The Marathon of Health route – The Chicoine family
ran from Vancouver British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and,
then, returned back to the west coast via the United States.
A well, I wanted to be sure to let everybody know that we are a chiropractic family; thus, I prepared my portable adjusting table so that I could provide regular treatments to the members of the family.
The Marathon of Health Petition – As well as helping us with our website, 7-Minute Workout set up the petition that can be found, and signed, on the site.
The goal of the petition is to get as many people to sign, so we can create one strong voice in order to influence policy makers to implement changes in the way health is delivered and perceived in North America – that is, to become a system geared more towards health enhancement and disease prevention than simply treatment after the fact.
For example, we all know, without a doubt, that a diet consisting of mostly plant-based foods will prevent many conditionsthat we see, such as obesity, diabetese, etc.. Why not have a system in place in which plant-based foods are made more affordable for everybody, instead of refined foods – which clearly contribute to the most common diseases – being the least expensive option in the majority of cases. The importance of this was made so clear to us when we presented to a group of high school students in Manhattan. A girl made the comment that she understood the importance of eating real foods. But, she asked, were we aware that many of them lived in areas that did not have grocery stores nearby and the only affordable option for them was to purchase highly processed and fast foods?
If our governments invested more time and money in the area of prevention, and developed incentive programs that encouraged people to better take care of their health, could you imagine what the impact on our societies could be?
As I said above, we began our Marathon of Health on May 9. We left from Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C.
Our daily routine included preparing the route we would take for that day, assigning a section to each member of the family and making sure everybody was ready, and able, to do their part.
At first, we would follow each runner with the van, but soon found out that this took a long time, waiting for each person to get his or her individual run in. We soon adopted the method of dropping off a runner, driving ahead his or her pre-determined distance and getting the next runner started. We repeated this all day long until the total distance, for that day, had been covered. This was easy to implement in Canada, with the Trans Canada Highway, but we got lost many times in the United States, with its many roads and heavy traffic.
In some sections, where we had to cover longer distances in a shorter period of time, each person had to run twice or even three times during the day. The ultimate challenge came when we set a goal to run from Dallas to Los Angeles in 10 days. We actually did it in 10 and a half days because the vehicles needed repair in El Paso, Texas.
On average, we ran about a half marathon each day. We slept and cooked in the motor home. We parked overnight in campgrounds, along the side of the road, in people’s driveways and in Wal-Mart parking lots – in other words, wherever it was most convenient.
A TEST OF ENDURANCE
Despite the fact that the majority of the kids were not long distance runners before the start of the Marathon of Health, nobody had any serious injuries and we were all able to run extensively. We prepared all our own food and made sure to eat a well-balanced, high-quality diet and to take into consideration the large caloric intake we needed.
As I mentioned earlier, I brought my portable adjusting table on the journey and I regularly adjusted all the family members along the way. This helped to keep us all in top form through our long runs.
The whole family is convinced that another important factor in our ability to perform was our supplementation with adult stem cell nutrition products. As Jake, who turned 20 during the run, stated, “I could not believe how quickly I was able to recover after taking these products, especially considering the fact that in the last month, I was running around 45 kilometres every day, some days, 50, and on the second-last day, 70 kilometres! I was also very impressed that my dad, at 57 years old, covered more distance, overall, than any of us.”
GETTING OUR MESSAGE OUT
Occasionally, we took time off from running to do presentations and meet with the media. The coverage we received from newspapers, magazines, radio shows and television programs was quite extensive. We made it onto national TV in both Canada and the United States, and were enthusiastically greeted by producers and anchor people in numerous cities.
Another part of our daily routine was to network with as many people as possible using social media through the Internet. We had seven laptop computers for this purpose.
Overall, we met thousands of people along the way, in doing presentations at various schools and council meetings of numerous cities, and we received many proclamations and citations from government officials in both Canada and the United States. Mayors, ministers and governors from different cities, provinces and states proclaimed Marathon of Health Day as we ran through their respective regions.
Everyone we saw agreed with the message our family had to share. What was really exciting was that the thousands of high school students we talked to enthusiastically agreed with our vision and loved the fact that there were young people like themselves sharing this message of health!
When asked about the highest moments of our journey, we all agree that meeting lots of interesting people, getting to share our message in front of large groups of people, and on television, and receiving many e-mails from people stating that we were inspiring them to improve their health were definite highlights. The opportunity to bond as a family was absolutely another highlight, as was seeing both countries on foot.
THE CALM AFTER?
Now that we are back in Wakefield, and settling into our routine once again, we realize that life will never be the same after having had this experience.
The Marathon of Health lives on, as the task to get as many people as possible to take responsibility for their health is never-ending. Together, we can all make a difference.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions regarding the Marathon of Health, stem cell nutrition or how the 7-Minute Workout program could benefit your patients. We are available to give presentations on preventive health and motivate people to take action. Please visit our website at www.marathonofhealth.com and sign our petition. You can read the first chapter of an entertaining novel I just co-wrote, that shares secrets to good health, by visiting www.tuneupandthrive.com . Check out the March issue of Runner’s World magazine for an article on our family’s adventure.
Dr. Ed Chicoine is a 2003 graduate of CMCC and operates two clinics in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec, one in Wakefield and one in Maniwaki. He is accustomed to family adventures. In 1997, he and his wife drove, in a van, from Canada to the bottom of South America and back with their six young children. They were gone for more than three years. During that time, he helped to pioneer chiropractic in Chile.
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