Mind Over Matter Running for 24 Hours

by Kris Bonn

For those that follow Bonn Law or me (Kris Bonn) personally on Facebook, you likely heard that I celebrated my 45th birthday this year (2019) by running 24 hours straight around a 400-metre track in support of Brain Injury Association Quinte District (“BIAQD”).

The plan was to start at 5:00 pm on Good Friday, which was April 19th this year, and run/walk until Saturday the 20th at 5:00 pm. As the start date drew closer, the weather continued to look more and more ominous. By Thursday, there was a rainfall warning and a forecast of heavy rain, wind, and low temperatures for Friday night – not the best weather for running outside. Some people asked if I would postpone the run, but no, I would continue as planned.

I was not deterred.

I showed up at the Bruce Faulds track ready to go at 4:45 pm. I had my food ready: mostly nuts, dried fruit, some Clif bars, and bananas. I was surprised to see such a great turnout of people to cheer me on at the start. In particular, many members of the BIAQD came out to support me. That was the reason I was doing this run – to raise money and awareness for the BIAQD and its members. BIAQD is a small, relatively unknown organization in Quinte that helps a lot of people who would otherwise fall through the cracks. The BIAQD provides programs, a social place to meet, education, and support for those suffering from brain injuries and their caregivers in our community. The run was my way of giving back. My goal was to raise awareness and money for this great organization.

The first three hours were actually quite nice. There was lots of support around the track and the rain held off. However, that would soon change. At around 9:00 pm, people started leaving and the sky opened up. The rain started for real around 10:00pm and did not let up until 10:00 am the next day. I ran loop after loop in the pouring rain – but what a great experience. I remember one lady coming up to me at around 11:00 pm and asked if I was the crazy guy running for 24 hours on my birthday. She said she only had $20 and wanted to give it in support of my run.

I stayed out on the track for 2-3 hours before coming into the heated room to change my clothes and shoes. I had brought four pairs of shoes and four different outfits but even that was not enough. My amazing wife Cassandra would run my clothes back to our house and put them through the dryer. I felt amazing for the first minute after I changed into dry clothes, but as soon as I started back out onto the track, I was soon soaked to the bone.

I continued my pattern of running 10 laps and walking 1 lap for about 10 hours. After that I was down to running 5-8 laps and walking a lap. I had some great support throughout the night. Stephanie Wells, our office manager came out to the track at 3:00 am and kept me company until 6:00 am. At 4:00 am, my good friend Brad Pickering and his family were there from Cobourg and kept me going. Wynand Bekker was a rock for me, coming to pace and guide me from 5:00 am to 8:00 am. He was a voice of reason and experience.

By 10:00 am, I was really feeling the lack of sleep, cold wet weather, and lack of food. I was breaking down. I was now down to running 3-5 laps and walking a lap. But I kept moving forward.

Throughout the day people continued to drop by and run and show support for me and the BIAQD. Friends from Burlington, Tim and Tania Laurie came down with their family. My cousin and his family from Peterborough made the trip. By 1:00 pm I was physically spent. I did not have much left in the tank. I had to mostly walk the last 4 hours - but I kept moving forward. One highlight of the day was running with Bruce Faulds, the track’s namesake! He is 78 years old and he came out to support me. That was special.

As time crept on, I realized that I would not make my goal of completing 400 laps or 100 miles. That is ok, I accomplished my main goals of raising money and awareness for the BIAQD, the actual distance covered was secondary.

A word on nutrition, I could hardly eat any of the food that I had brought. Maybe it was the cold wet weather, but all I wanted was hot soup and taters from Tim Hortons. Luckily we have great friends who brought me homemade soup that kept me going. At 2:00 pm, after running for over 20 hours, I had a croissant from L’Auberge de France – heaven! I don’t usually eat bread or carbs, but that was the best thing I ever remember eating in my life.

Finally, the clock was nearing 5:00 pm. I only had a few minutes to go. I had been walking for nearly 3 hours. I made the decision to run the last lap. My friends and colleagues let me run the last lap on my own. I started to run and ignored the shooting pain in my legs in order to run in the last lap. It was amazing to run into a crown of friends and family cheering me on at the end. What an amazing experience. I had tears in my eyes that last lap. Seeing Grace, Fraser and Cassandra at the finish was the icing on the cake. I could not have done this without their support.

On the back of my shirt I had the saying, “Running for 24 hours is nothing compared to living with a brain injury.” I truly believe this statement. What I did was hard, but the pain was temporary. The true heroes are those who live every day with brain injuries and their family members who support them. I hope that my run will help raise money and awareness so we can provide more for these people in our community.

My fundraising goal when I started was $15,000. At last count, we had raised over $19,000! Thank you everyone for your support.