The Haliburton Echo
Colin Harris loves the outdoors.
So much so that the outdoor education director for YMCA Camp Wanakita is running across the country encouraging students to get outside.
And so far it’s working.
In January of this year Harris began his dream to run across Canada in St. John’s, Nfld. During the past five months he has run through various cities and provinces, stopping at elementary schools along the way.
On June 16, Harris stopped in at Stuart Baker Elementary School to tell students in grades 2 and 3 just how important it is to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
The desire to run was instilled in Harris at an early age, when he watched the torch relay prior to the Calgary Olympics in 1988.
During his talk, Harris called up three volunteer students, who ran a distance that measured approximately 100 metres.
“I have run that stretch 32,000 times already. To get across Canada I have to run that distance another 43,000 times,” he said.
Harris explained that when the students returned to school in the fall he would still be running across the country.
The experience has made him value the outdoors that much more.
“I know it’s true for people that it’s good to be outside,” he said.
Harris spoke about the rising rates of obesity and how studies show children spend many hours indoors playing video games and other activities.
“Science tells us adults spend 93 per cent of our lives inside,” he said.
“Science also tells us the more time you spend outside the better you’ll do in school,” said Harris.
Following his presentation students had the opportunity to ask Harris questions about his cross-country initiative.
Harris told the students he runs 42 kilometres every day and uses a ferry to cross large bodies of water.
“Is it fun to run across Canada?” asked one student.
“It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Sometimes I get tired,” Harris said.
He told the students the most exciting part of the challenge was stopping into different schools and visiting with children.
To date Harris has visited about 65 schools and spoken to 17,000 students. A map outlining his journey and his stops can be found on his website, along with a daily blog tracking his progress.
Written by Angelica Blenich
Article originally appeared in the Haliburton Echo on June 20, 2011.