When Edward Dostaler ran into the gymnasium at Sands Secondary School last month, he was welcomed with hundreds of clapping hands and cheering voices. In the front row, a sign decorated in purple and pink read, “Congrats Eddy.”
Dostaler, commonly known as Fast Eddy, recently finished running across Canada and back, unsupported and solo, in support of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s awareness. With the idea that average people can do above average things, he began his run on March 1, 2015 in Victoria, B.C.
After more than one year, he completed his journey on Oct. 29, 2016, having run over 27,000 kilometres in 608 days. In the final stage, Dostaler ran from Nanaimo to Victoria (a distance of 137 km) in 24 hours. When he started in March last year, it took him three days to complete the same stretch.
Dostaler said he decided to run for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada because a former professor was an advocate for the society, while also running for the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada in honour of his grandmother, who suffers from the disease.
When asked the goal of the run, Dostaler replied, “at the very beginning stages we wanted to raise a lot of money, but then the foundations couldn’t come up with a way to track that money, so then it was about awareness.”
Although the running itself was obviously difficult, the criticism he faced was worse. The charities that he was running for did not support his run because it was deemed unsafe. Many of the towns he ran through showed no support. His car was vandalized and at one point he was almost struck by a vehicle as he ran.
To make matters worse, a volunteer that was to drive his car for him pulled out last minute, leaving Dostaler to run, stop, run back to his car, drive to the place where he had stopped running and pick up where he left off, adding an extra 6,000 km to his ordeal.
When students at Sands heard that Dostaler had nearly finished his journey with very little support, they knew they had to do something, and soon the school’s community ambassadors class had organized an assembly in recognition of Fast Eddy and his incredible journey.
Throughout the event, Dostaler encouraged students to not only think about their futures, but how they could improve the lives of others.
“If you’re not bettering someone else’s life then you’re wasting your time,” he said. “Create change in a positive manner.”
Now the biggest question is, what’s next for Fast Eddy?
Dostaler said he doesn’t have any future plans at the moment.
“It’s hard to think about tomorrow when such a great thing is happening right now.”
For more on Dostaler’s year-plus on the road, visit fasteddycanada.com.