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The Team MitoCanada Records

As a camera on the wall, it was an incredible experience.

Story by Neil Zeller May 30th, 2016

The team

I can’t claim to be a part of this amazing team, even being with them for the better part of the weekend. What I can claim is being a part of the official record of these amazing world record attempts. That’s good enough for me. I’ve had opportunities to photograph some incredible people/places/events but whenever I shoot for Team Mito Canada, it takes me to a different place. You see, while I’m not officially a team member, I get to be right beside them at their finest philanthropic moments.

Short story: 27 people set 7 world endurance records by running on treadmills.

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Arielle and dave

I heard rumblings that Arielle had been dealing with an injury in the weeks leading up to the World Record attempt. But whatever it was, she chose to go ahead and set aside her own personal pains and run for others. Oh, she ran 50kms AND 100kms on a treadmill faster than any other woman in the world.

Dave. Well, ok, just go get on the treadmill at 4pm on Friday, and hop off at 4pm on Saturday with 260+ kms ran. That is more than 6 marathons. It’s a World Record too.

I can’t get over how gracious these two people are. In the face of their own person demons at times during these runs, they were models of citizenry, teamwork and hope. I don’t have words to describe the efforts I witnessed.

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Why do this?

Because Mitochondria.

I am not fully aware of all the terrible things that the disease Mitochondria can do to a person, but I do know what it did to one.

From the Calgary Herald

“Evan was born with a genetic mutation that can result in mitochondrial disease at any time in one’s life. It can lie dormant and can manifest itself because of stress on the body. In Evan’s case, he woke up one morning with a sore stomach and, thinking it was appendicitis, Blaine and Evan’s mother Sarah took him to the hospital. Doctors did an ultrasound and when they couldn’t see his appendix thought it was either hiding or ruptured, and took him into surgery. “He never woke up from surgery and went into a coma,” Penny said. “When he woke up from the coma he had suffered a severe brain injury and has been a quadriplegic ever since. He hasn’t spoken a word since, and he’s tube fed.”

Blaine, with the support of his wife Sarah and daughter Julia started ‘running for those who can’t’ and co-founded Team MitoCanada. Team MitoCanada has grown into a successful fundraising arm of MitoCanada, with runners and supporters from all over the world. My own interest in the running community plus my desire to tell stories through my photography led me to being a ‘match’ to support this in the only way I could. My goal whenever I get invited to be a part of events is to capture the moments, the crescendos, the failures and the victories. I am honored to be unofficially ‘on’ this team of some of the worlds fastest runners, to help them raise awareness and money to battle Mitochondria.

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More records

The girls relay team ran more than 344kms in 24 hours and the guys team ran nearly 400kms in 24 hours. that’s more than 16kms/hr. Most fit runners run 10kms in about an hour to add some perspective to these totals. The seventh record came from Bernadette Benson who ran the farthest a woman has ran on a treadmill in 12 hours. She ran concurrently and via uplink from Australia. You can read the all the details here in the Team MitoCanada official story.
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The people

My favorite thing after the records and the money/awareness raised is actually a little bit selfish on my part. I simply love to be a part of something like this. Outside of my amazing and supportive family who are the world to me, this event makes me feel worthwhile, like I have something to add to the greater good of humankind. I came away from this event as satisfied, inspired and awed as I have been in a very long time. They say to me thank you for capturing the ‘feeling’ of this event, well I say it’s the least I can do. When I am shooting anything I tend to detach from the event to gather in the best visuals. Not this time, I was sucked into it completely, riding the waves of nerves, gut checks, anticipation and celebration!

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Calgary, AB, Canada