Cross-Newfoundland run in support of Janeway was 'amazing,' says runner

Mike Russell has spent much of June on the highway, but not in a vehicle — the runner was on foot, powering across Newfoundland in support of the Janeway Children's Hospital.

He left Port aux Basques on June 4, and on Monday evening, finally made it into downtown St. John's.

"It was amazing to finally reach this spot," Russell said.

The trip was a little more than 900 kilometres, all on foot.

When it got tough, Russell said he focused on his five-year-old cousin Oliver, who was diagnosed with leukemia, as his inspiration for the run.

"I just, I stare at the ground and I run, I tune out the pain, I tune out the negative thoughts that come to your head, and I just think about exactly why I'm doing it," Russell told CBC's Here & Now.

"These kids fight harder battles than what I'm going through - every single day they're in that hospital - so I just ignore the pain," he said. "It's temporary. I just push forward, and I know at the end of the day I'm much happier for doing it."

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During his run, Russell had an online fundraiser — Hustle with Russell — with a goal of reaching $10,000.

To date, he's raised nearly $4,000 in support of the Janeway.

For anyone else planning a similar run, Russell has some advice on how to train: "not the way I did."

"Most people would train and spend a lot of time on their feet, and it's getting used to being on your feet for long durations of time," he said.

"I spent a lot of my time leading up to this running on a treadmill every day, so essentially my training wasn't up to par for what I was doing, but it came down to mental strength. I knew I had the physical strength to push through it and I just kept my head straight and just kept going."

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