Man running Vancouver Marathon in full firefighter gear for charity

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Image: Stephen Anderson

As if running 42 kilometres is not gruelling enough, one North Vancouver man is vowing to run next weekend’s BMO Vancouver Marathon with full firefighter gear – an extra 45 pounds on his body.

For the past two months, Stephen Sanderson has been training for up to four hours a day, six days a week in preparation for the big race. His routine consists of running 50 kilometres a week, boxing, weightlifting and swimming.

But he is not insane: this is all for charity, to raise money and awareness for muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that causes muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass. It affects about 50,000 Canadians.

The 28-year-old is a welder who recently completed firefighter schooling and is now aspiring to become a firefighter. This will be his first marathon ever, however, he has had years of physical training to help push himself to new limits.

Even with full firefighter gear on, he is aiming to finish the race in about 4.5 hours, which is also the average time it takes most participants to complete a marathon in Canada.

“I have been boxing for the past 10 years and it has kept me in great shape and mentally and physically prepared me for this event,” Stephen told Vancity Buzz. “I would be happy just to finish the race.”

With nine days to go until the big race, he has raised $3,440 and is hoping to reach a goal of $10,000. All funds raised will be donated to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

“Muscular Dystrophy Canada inspired me about a year ago when I met a person named Stephen who came out and talked to us when i was in firefighting school,” said Stephen. “My mother also worked with special needs kids for her career so I was always involved in helping special needs people out.”

You can donate to Stephen’s cause here: http://m.akaraisin.com/10059/gd/index

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