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LIFE WITH CYNTHIA Does it add up? Certainly

In her latest column, Cynthia Breadner reflects on an adventure she's not likely to forget

Is it a numbers game…?

In this pondering #104, I will talk about team #182, where eight people ran 23.6 km each, an accumulated 188.8 kms, in 30 hours after driving 11 hours in each vehicle, and four hours in another. Does that add up?

What an adventure! It started in December 2019 when I signed up for a relay race that was to take place in May of 2020. You know what happened. While we all waited for the great matter to pass, it was discovered the Canadian portion of this adventure had vanished into thin air leaving us with a choice. Transfer to a U.S. equivalent or forfeit. Being the adventurers we are, we decided to transfer. Hence, Aug. 11 at 6 a.m., I headed toward the Fort Erie border on a journey to West Virginia, more specific, Big Bear Lake on the edge of the Maryland border.

I picked up two more adventurous souls along the way while a second vehicle, packed tight, left from Alliston at the same time. A team of eight people ready, willing, and able to take on the American venture called Ragnar.  Most of us Ragnar virgins, our veteran runner had completed 14 prior races, we still knew we were in for the 36 hours of a lifetime.

We arrived at about 7 p.m. and landed into the “gear drop.” It was about this time the heavens opened and it teamed down with rain. Scurrying and tarping we managed to unload, move vehicles and then set up camp to begin the journey. We were only eight of about 400 people all trying to drop gear, set up camps and prepare for the 8 a.m. start.

This was an adventure of epic proportions and while it was fun, scary, and eye-rolling all at the same time what I took from it is far from any of those descriptions. What I gained was companionship, teamwork and love. Not only from my own seven teammates but from the overall community I witnessed.

I might just continue to do the "what did I learn this weekend." I learned as Canadians, we are truly noticed. My team were astute enough to remember a Canadian Flag and put it up on our campsite this weekend at #ragnar West Virginia. As we were on the trail of runners coming in we watched every runner finish up every loop. As people passed by, they would sing Oh Canada! or shout out "hello Canada" and say things like, "great neighbours" and "thank you.” It was wonderful!

We also had two rocks sticking up right in front of our site people kept tripping. One of the team placed a small Canadian Flag as an alert for runners so they would not trip then she dubbed it the Canadian Rockies...we laughed and laughed. With each runner passing, we would sit in our chairs and say, "welcome to the Canadian Rockies."

Unadulterated, deep and profound joy was shared this weekend. I cannot say how cathartic it was for me, and I truly thank each and every one of my teammates for struggling through my first night with me in spirit even though I retreated to my tent. I learned, laughed and felt welcome and included.

Throughout the great matter, and its unfolding, we were stripped of community. We let fear of a disease break us apart and separate us. We allowed a disease to leave people to die alone, care for others alone and be sick alone. We allowed our fear of something foreign to override our ability to be strong together. This weekend I found out once again how there is safety in numbers. As we each solo ran across the rocky, muddy and hilly terrain of the Appalachian Mountains, we then leaned on each other and teamed up when we became tired and stressed. We cheered each other out and cheered each other on return. We shared food, water and chairs. We built togetherness that cannot be ignored.

As we laughed and cried together, hurt together, and swore together we bonded. That is what it means to be human. Living in groups, touching, sweaty hugs and salty cheek kissing. Sharing scary port-a-potty stories and covering each other’s backsides with toilet paper, literally as the rolls were empty. This team will carry these memories 4-EVAH…So, does it add up? Yes…let’s see how:

Team #182 + eight people + 23.6 km each equaling 188.8 kms; 30 hours running + driving 11 hours in each vehicle + four hours in another all adds up to “PRICELESS”!  #ragnar

Cynthia Breadner is a teacher, author, grief specialist and bereavement counsellor; a soul care worker and offers specialized care in spiritually integrated therapies. She works as a LTC chaplain assisting with end-of-life care for client and family. She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practices fitness, health and wellness. She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections, if you have any questions contact her today!   

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Cynthia Breadner

About the Author: Cynthia Breadner

Writer Cynthia Breadner is a grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul care worker providing one-on-one support at
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