2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada

Our five women and six men came from five different provinces and included one runner living in California. They experienced all kinds of weather conditions, as would be expected in Canada at this time of year, with most running in negative degree temperatures. Icy terrain had to be negotiated by some athletes. ACU is incredibly proud of all our athletes who ran for Team Canada last weekend and their show of spirit, sportsmanship, comradery, determination, inclusivity and creativity.

Below are some athlete comments on their runs.

Gina Tranquada

It was a pleasure representing Canada in the 2023 6-Hour Solidarity Run!  Although I did not have the snow free 400 meter track to run on, as originally planned, I took advantage of our local Manitoba running community to share the miles and fun.

It was -24⁰C with the wind chill as I headed out on the run. The sidewalks made for poor footing, however, the temperature managed to hit a high of around -11⁰ by the end. Focus on the positives right!?  Plus, we all know that there is rarely a long run or ultra race that ever goes perfectly as planned. I chuckled as I imagined other global athletes potentially struggling in heat in their Solidarity run! It's amazing what you can endure with a positive mindset and the right supports.

The weeks leading up to this event have been trialling.  As a full-time working mom, ultra-running maintains my sanity (my husband can verify!)  It is a time of self-reflection on how I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, occupational therapist, etc. It is exciting to see how this community and support has developed, and is still developing, in Canada.  

Being a part of your local and national trail and ultra running associations is a great means at improving and bringing more awareness to the sport.  I thank ACU continually expanding the ultra running horizon and globally connectivity!

Overall, I am proud of my run! Coming 3 weeks off a 100km race, I managed a light pace with a few warm up stops and a coffee. Enough to leave me fuelled and ready to go for a new training cycle next week!  Felt extremely grateful for the opportunity. Also for the left over breakfast that my family left for me post run!


Stéphanie Simpson

A few weeks ago, I ran 12 hours on a treadmill to raise money for the Blackburn fundraiser which brings resources to children who do not have the money to do sports. Saturday morning, my body didn't want to do a 6 hours run at "race pace". Good thing about getting older is that you kinda get wiser too. I chose to listen to my body. My friend Francois even kept me company for the whole 6 hour run. He did a PB with just over 65 km. I ran by feeling because I experienced lower back pain in the last few days. Wasn't my easiest run, but I was very happy to complete it for the Solidarity Run representing Team Canada!


Brenden Randall

For the IAU 6hr Run, I ran my favourite trail along an old railway line! From my doorstep, I ran into cottage country beside lakes and streams on gravel trails covered in snow and ice. It was certainly a challenge, yet I enjoyed the run along the way. Thank you for allowing me to take part in this inclusive event!


Jessica McBride

It was a great first ultra back after having my fourth child during the pandemic. The first two hours or so were looping a park for largely practical reasons. Historically, if my stomach is going to sabotage me it’s going to do it in the first two hours.

After I realized I was doing alright, I did some out and back along the length of our city. One of the photos provided is one of the many blue ribbons on street lamps in Spruce Grove today. They were put up by friends and family in our community to honour the two police officers who were killed in the line of duty last week in Edmonton (one of which, Constable Brett Ryan, lived here in Spruce Grove). I was so struck by it on my second back cycle through Spruce. 

I was in the pain cave, I have a pretty serious abdominal wall issue I’m waiting on a second surgery for and was hurting at this point (my Strava data likely illustrates that pretty well). I was starting to feel sorry for myself and the ribbons snapped me back to purpose in a way. What a privilege to be alive enough to feel pain, and doubt and exhaustion. It was a sobering thing to realize that Constable Ryan would likely have given anything to be given the opportunity to run out and backs into perpetuity if it meant he was still here. And so I went on and appreciated the time I had left out there.

I finished out the six hours not thrilled with the ground I covered, as I know I can do better, but grateful I have the opportunity to try again.


Tim Higham

Well, my run was a pretty big fail. I thought I had recovered from my 24-hour race (2 weeks ago), but my IT band started acting up to the point where I couldn't keep going after about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was only able to run 24km.


Vincent Pagot

I planned a 12.4km two bridge loop around the river on gravel trails so I could be at my truck every hour or so and refill water and nutrition. I started at dawn, 6:45am, to avoid the dark. My goal was 70km. I ran 5 loops on the clock but I knew my legs were slowly falling off so I decided to run an out and back for the last hour and grinded to 70km in 5:46 so I could walk a bit to reach 6hours. Total 71.3km. Really happy. We were lucky here on the BC coast this weekend with some beautiful dry weather and unusual high temp of 15°C.


Jason Handley and Eric Schweitzer

Our day started off at 6:00am at -12⁰C in the dark. Over the course of the next 7¾ hours (6H on the IAU clock and then 1¾ hours to get back home), we ran trails on both sides of the South Saskatchewan River. We encountered snow, ice, and loose rock. As the day warmed up, we spent time running in mud.

It was a perfect day for a run - no wind, sunny, blue skies - the type of day when you want to be outside and enjoy nature.


Laura Sherrer-Townsend

I can’t imagine anyone having a better IAU 6 Hour Global Solidarity Run than me.

I ran 6 hours of Edmonton river valley trails (about 31km at 6 hours, then another 3km to get back to the start). The route included a set of 50+ stairs and I collected over 20 hugs along the way!

It was extra special knowing I was also running virtually with other teammates I have met through the race world, particularly Survivorfest family members Stephanie Simpson in Quebec, Tim Higham in California and Jessica McBride in Alberta. 

Originally I had been planning a long run on March 19 for a running friend that involved the staircases and trails along the river valley through Edmonton. When I was chosen to represent Canada for Association of Canadian Ultramarathoners, I invited local running friends to join us on this adventure.

It was a beautiful and amazing day! Two friends joined me for the entire day while 8 others joined us for 10-15km portions. Luckily, we all fuelled and paced ourselves well as none of us experienced any of the typical ill effects that can sometimes be experienced. We’ll have to blame it on the fantastic company, weather and terrain. 

We had a beautiful sunny spring day as we said “Good morning!” to other people we passed. I was lucky enough to see other running friends along the way and received more hugs. My heart is full of gratitude and love for this sport and this running community that has given me so much over the years. Truly a run of solidarity in so many ways.




1 Vincent Pagot 71.30 km
2 Brenden Randall 50.88 km
3 Michel Gouin 40.40 km
4 Eric Schweitzer 33.40 km
4 Jason Handley 33.40 km
6 Tim Higham 24.34 km



1 Stéphanie Simpson 63.05 km
2 Keeley Milne 58.08 km
3 Jessica McBride 53.09 km
4 Gina Tranquada 51.97 km
5 Laura Sherrer-Townsend 31.20 km


The Team completed 511.11 km in total. Congratulations


Jacek Bedkowski

IAU Director of Communication

2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada
2023 IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Weekend Canada

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