If all goes according to plan, on September 14th long-time Montreal ultra-runner Carl Andersen will, like thousands of others across Canada, run 10 kilometres in the annual Terry Fox fundraising event. What makes Carl stand out among these runners isn’t just that he’s 78 years old, but that at about the six kilometre point in this run he will pass the 100,000 running miles point. That’s 100,000 miles, not kilometres. He has been running – including 95 marathons – and logging his miles for several years. That’s a whole lot of running!
Realizing that when it came to running he was hooked for life, Carl decided to put his passion to good use, and in 1986 started raising funds by getting people to sponsor his running. He has been going strong ever since. After a career at BELL Canada he opened a running equipment store in west-end Montreal, selling it in 2009. At his peak, Carl used to undertake an annual fundraising run around the circumference of the island of Montreal, a journey of over 120 kilometres!
Over the years this ultra-runner’s pursuits have raised almost $1 Million for several charities including breast cancer research – Carl lost his mother and two sisters to this disease – multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.
For many years Sheila, Carl’s wife, handled travel arrangements for the company I worked for. I spoke with her on an almost daily basis, yet had never met Carl. One day in April of 2005, Sheila sent me an email informing me she would be out-of-town the next day. She attached a news release stating that her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor General of Canada, would be presenting Carl with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in appreciation of his fundraising efforts.
Carl J. Andersen, Montreal, Quebec
Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award
Carl Andersen has been volunteering since the 1950s and, since 1997, he has collected funds for breast cancer treatment, education and research by running an ultra-marathon of over 120 kilometres. This is a grueling challenge for anyone, and it is particularly arduous for a man in his sixties living with arthritis. Without any corporate support, Mr. Andersen has inspired individuals to donate more than $250,000 for the state-of-the-art Cedars Breast Clinic at the McGill University Health Centre. Mr. Andersen’s mother taught him that we always have time to give to others and his efforts honour her memory and the memory of his two sisters who died of breast cancer. At the same time, he has brought hope to numerous women facing the prospect of breast disease.
Recently I asked Carl how he felt as he approached this impressive milestone, if he has any particularly fond memories that stand out from his years of running. Ever the overachiever, rather than looking back he focused on what is ahead, and replied “I hope to one day get to 100 marathons, but for now please help an old man achieve his goal of $15,030 in support of Terry Fox.”
Please consider sponsoring Carl in this year’s Terry Fox Run and be part of history. You can easily do so at this website.
Good luck Carl!