In front of a group of supporters on the Galloping Goose Trail on Wednesday (July 12), Yana Hempler ran across the finish line with a big smile on her face to mark the end of her 10 marathons in 10 days challenge.
The initiative is part of Hempler’s campaign to raise $1 million for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, and this is the third marathon challenge she’s completed. In 2020, she completed her first 10 marathons in 10 days and went on to complete 30 marathons in 30 days in 2021.
She has raised more than $90,000 in the last two challenges, with approximately $1,300 coming from the most recent one.
She said this challenge was the hardest one yet for her to complete. In late 2022, a strange illness left her unable to walk, eat or sit up for long periods of time and forced her to take three months off work and four months off running. While the symptoms have gone away, she is still building up her stamina.
“In the past, I’ve been able to do a marathon in four and a half hours every day, and this time it was under six hours,” she said. “But I’m just happy to be able to do it again. I know the speed is going to come back with time and training as I get stronger and in better shape.”
Supporters Daisy Tattersall-Maasanem and her daughter Mia Maasanem, 9, ran alongside Hempler for the last three kilometres.
“I loved running with her because she’s inspired me to run a lot and that makes me happy,” Mia said.
Among supporters from the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the finish line was Danielle Mulligan, manager of events and annual giving. She said the campaign is an inspiration to her and other members of the foundation.
“Supporters like Yana, they don’t just provide the funds and the resources that caregivers need, they really provide a lot of encouragement as well, especially when the caregivers are going through challenging times with staffing and just generally coming out of the pandemic has been such a difficult thing,” she said.
But Hempler said this challenge is just the beginning of reaching her $1 million goal for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.
“I’m really excited to be at the finish line and I’m looking forward to what’s next,” she said.
In August, she will be hosting the Dream Nation Apparel 24-Hour event at the Cowichan Sportsplex where people will be invited to run for three, six, 12 or 24 hours and see how far they can make it. While continuing her fundraising campaign, she will also be participating in the Chicago Marathon in October, as well as the London and Tokyo Marathons in the next few years.
“I hope that people will find it in their hearts to support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation because they touch almost everybody at some point in their lives,” she said.