Ronnie Vickers has been participating in the Woody’s RV World Marathon in Red Deer since 2017.
But the 74-year-old Rocky Mountain House resident won’t be able to participate in the event this year, due to its cancellation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When you’re doing a marathon, it takes a long, long time to train,” said Vickers, who has been training through nordic walking since January.
“When it was cancelled, I had already been training for about 10 weeks, so I figured what the heck, I’m just going to keep doing it and I’ll do it alone in Rocky.”
With help from his friend Kent Plosz, Vickers has created an online fundraising page to support the Red Deer Hospice Society.
“Kent said to me, ‘Even if you only raise $20, that’s $20 they wouldn’t have received if you just went out and did this on your own.’ Now it’s all starting to come together and I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.
Vickers has raised about $1,800 for the hospice society.
“I’ve had various members of my family who have passed away from cancer over the years, and friends who have actually used the hospice, and it’s just a fantastic place. It’s very near and dear to my heart,” Vickers said.
The fundraising page is called Scottie’s Marathon, which is a nod to Vickers’ Scottish roots – he emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1970.
The first half-marathon Vickers participated in was Oktoberfest in Red Deer in 2016, when he was 69 years old.
In his first Woody’s event in 2017, Vickers participated in the 21-kilometre half-marathon. In 2018 and 2019, he did the full 42-kilometre version, which will be the same distance he will travel for Scottie’s Marathon.
“I just started doing this a few years ago. It’s one of those things that you have to say in your head, ‘I’m going to do this.’ Of course, it takes a lot of endurance as well, but a lot of it is mental fortitude.
“You can ask runners about it and they’ll tell you that you have to be serious about this kind of thing.”
Vickers’ marathon is Saturday in Rocky Mountain House.
The fundraising page will remain open until May 27. To donate, visit www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/scotties-marathon.