Victoria Hospitals Foundation-pic
Yana Hempler (Centre) with two volunteers from Victoria Hospitals Foundation (courtesy Yana Hempler)

A Vancouver Island runner has raised over $20,000 for a local charity by committing to run 12 marathons in 12 days.

Yana Hempler says she was inspired to perform the feat of endurance by a friend who was hospitalized last year.

“I picked this charity because back in October 2019, one of my best friends was in the hospital in critical condition, and is currently alive and well because of the care received,” she wrote in an email.

Hempler, who works as a fitness coach and writer, saw a need for community fundraising with most regular marathon events cancelled due to COVID-19.

Initially she pledged to run 10 marathons in 10 days to raise funds for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, with a fundraising goal of $10,000.

Hempler completed her 10th marathon on Sunday and shortly after made the decision to extend her pledge to a cool dozen, with her 11th marathon on Monday and her 12th on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, her fundraiser for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation had raised over $21,000.

With her 12th marathon completed, Hempler says she is open to extending her fundraiser even more.

“I’m tempted to say that since the fundraising page is open until Aug 31, that I would do one more marathon for every additional $15,000 raised through the fundraising page.”

She is also looking forward to holding more running events, some of which will be open to public participation.

“One of the events that I’ve opened up is a virtual run called Run4Life 5k or 10k where people can challenge themselves and do their run anytime anywhere with all proceeds being donated to charity,” Hempler added.

More information on that event can be found here.

As for the response to this milestone, Hempler says she’s both proud of her personal achievement and thankful for the public’s support.

“Honestly, I thought that at best, $5,000 would be possible to raise especially considering the pandemic and the financial challenges that everyone is facing,” she says.

“I also didn’t think I was going to make it past day five with the daily marathons because of how much I struggled on day one. I also couldn’t run a block when I first started running several years ago.

I’m grateful for the media support as well as the support from the community that helped me reach my fundraising goal.”

Donations remain open for Hempler’s Victoria Hospitals Foundation fundraiser until August 31. Those wishing to contribute can do so online at Canada Helps.