On April 12th, 1980 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Terry Fox – a Canadian student and athlete – starts a cross-Canada run with a symbolic immersion of his prosthetic leg in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
The run named Marathon of Hope by one of the greatest national heroes of Canada was a breakthrough moment in raising social awareness and an apt metaphor for prolonged, hard, and still in many cases merciless fight of human nature against cancer. Terry Fox lost this fight – he died 9 months later.
In the 21st century when tumour complications are flooding our modern world, Terry Fox’s heroic feat – 5373 km in 143 days – is assuming even greater significance and the pride with which each day he ran the distance of classic marathon has been a constant inspiration for people all over the world.
Many of them decide to run this killing distance out of ordinary spiritual need – to commemorate a loved one, to get to know themselves or to become a better human. One of them is Jakub Muda.
The legendary marathon across Canada – from the coast of the Pacific to the shores of the Atlantic – is an extreme challenge for the human body, on numerous occasions making it necessary to cross the limits of both physical and mental endurance.
The route going through all Canadian provinces requires from Terry Fox’s followers great adaptive abilities, strong will and high motivation.
200 marathons with total length of 8000 kilometers... That’s the goal set by Jakub Muda – Canadian chemist of Polish origin, traveler and adventurer. His symbolic march starts on January 7th, 2015 in Clover Point, Victoria, BC – in a place known as Mile 0 Trans Canada Highway.
The route of the marathon goes mainly along Trans Canada Trail with minor changes at the level of Calgary and Toronto. According to the schedule the expedition should be completed after 8 months in Cape Spear, St. John’s, in the easternmost point of Canada.
During 8-month-long journey you should be ready for absolutely extreme weather conditions. In the first stage, in winter the temperatures fall even below –40oC in the Rocky Mountains and on the Prairies. During later parts of the expedition, in the Great Lakes region, in the Appalachian Mountains or in the Atlantic provinces Jakub Muda must expect the heat of over 40 degrees and droughts common in the summertime. It is difficult to imagine surviving even a few hours in such extreme conditions, let alone doing 42 km each day!
The self-reliant nature of the enterprise, lack of any support team and of medical base intensify the difficulties of negotiating diverse stages of the expedition in varied terrain conditions. Sections of the route which must be traversed in wilderness untouched by humans are proof of the courage of anyone who decides to negotiate them. Numerous injuries and illnesses are unavoidable.
However, despite a mass of dangers, enormous risk, pain that goes with it, worked up sweat and shed tears, from time to time there appear new "heroes of hope".
One of Jakub Muda’s main intentions in undertaking the expedition – 8000km Across Canada – is to promote the noble idea of technology development and the popularization of the sciences, chemistry in particular. Furthermore, the adventurer of Polish origin also wants to achieve personal goals, as he says himself:
"I believe that there are no impossible things. Everything is possible. The impossible simply requires more time. I would like to show that everybody can overcome their weaknesses, to show that when we fight against them we can fulfill our dreams... During the expedition I am also planning to raise money to complete two majors – chemistry and mathematics – at a world-class university in Montreal, which will be another step bringing me closer to working in the Canadian Space Agency and realizing my greatest dream – going on a spaceflight. Astronauts spend 90% of their time on research and promotion of science. I would like to develop new technologies that will improve the quality of people’s lives."
In accordance with the idea of the Marathon of Hope, during the expedition there will be organized charity events, happenings connected with popularization of blood donation and promotion of outdoor exercise. The dates of the events will coincide with crucial annual dates in charity actions such as World Heart Day and World Cancer Day.
The course of the expedition will be comprehensively related through the www.8000kmAcrossCanada.com website on which there will be long video fragments, photos and information on the current stage of the journey.
My name is Jakub Muda. I am 21 years old student of chemistry and mathematics in Montreal. I am also an adventurer and a man for whom "Nothing is impossible". Since I was a child my greatest passion were astronomy and adventures, currently also chemistry. My life's goal is to work in Canadian Space Agency and flight into space.
The idea of my expedition appeared in February 2014. Since then my life took an unexpected turn and speed up: trainings, my studies, career and personal life - there are so many things to do in one lifetime!
After my expedition I would like to write and publish a book about my adventures as well as create a documentary movie!