Martin Parnell’s 10th and Final Run Walk

Posted by martin.parnell |
Martin Parnell’s 10th and Final Run Walk

All good things must come to an end and so it is with my 10th and final run / walk on December 31st

Looking back, it was on Dec. 31st 2010 that I completed my 250th marathon of that year. Marathon Quest 250 was in support of the humanitarian organization Right To Play (RTP), raising $322,000 and giving the gift of hope to over 6,000 vulnerable children around the world. 

On that day, a group of us lined up outside The Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre and at 9.00am the gun went off. The route was “out and back”, along the Bow river and turning around at the old trestle bridge. The temperature was -27C but that didn’t stop hundreds of participant running distances from 2kms to 50kms. 

That was the start of the Annual Dec. 31st Run / Walk at the Sports Centre. From 2011 to 2014, the year-end events were in support of RTP but with the completion of the “Quest for Kids” initiative (10 Quests, 5 years, to raise $1m for RTP) I decided to support another deserving cause. In 2015 funds were raised for the “Sue and Martin Parnell Playground” built for Boma Africa in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania. Not only was a playground provided but also a giant bouncy castle, and classroom resources for the Lindsay Kimmett Kindergarten. 

The 2016, 2017 and 2018 year end events were in support of Free To Run, an organization that uses adventure sports to develop female leaders in regions of conflict. Funds raised from those three years allowed Afghan women and girls to enjoy kayaking, camping, figure skating and ice hockey for the very first time. 

Over the years there have been a number of highlights and lowlights. The highlights include the 62kms run by Ellie Greenwood over the 6hr event day in 2012, the running streak set by Hiro Watanabe from Edmonton who has run 50km every year and the support of hundreds of boys and girls, parents and grandparents who have come out and completed the 2km Cookie run at the end of each event. The one lowlight was in 2018 when the temperature hit -48C. On that day a number of us ran the loop however it was reported in the Calgary Herald that the penguins at the Calgary Zoo had to be kept inside because it was too cold. 

Finally to 2019 and the Dec. 31st, 10th and final year end run / walk and this time we’re bringing it home. We decided to support a local organisation and one that has always been close to my heart is The Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area. All of the funds collected from the run will go towards operations and programing at the CLUB. The CLUB is a youth exclusive division of the Boys & Girls Club, which provides teens a fun, safe space to hang out, do homework or seek support. 

So save the date: Tuesday, December 31st 2019 at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. Come on down between 8.30am and 3.00pm. Run / walk the 2km loop to 50km, it’s up to you. Registration is on the day with a donation at the event. If you can’t make it and what to help then click on: and hit the big red “DONATE” button. 

This event is for everyone and you may even see a penguin.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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