Ron Berezan loves to walk. He loves to walk so much that he’s taking on the Sunshine Coast Trail (SCT) to try and establish a record.
“I am undertaking an attempt at an unsupported fastest known time on the SCT as a fundraiser for Miklat Recovery Society this coming weekend, June 4 to 6,” said Berezan. “Unsupported means I carry all my own gear, food, supplies and can receive no help or pacing from anyone.”
Berezan said the SCT in Tla’amin territory is a world-renowned hut-to-hut trail, reaching 180 kilometres with more than 20,000 feet of elevation gain.
“Hiking these trails keeps me well in mind and body and connects me to the stunning ecology that surrounds me,” said Berezan. “I will speed-hike, not run the trail and hope to complete it in less than 72 hours. If all goes well, I may even finish in under 59 hours – one hour for each year of my life.”
Berezan said while there are currently supported men’s and women’s fastest known times on the SCT, there are no unsupported fastest known times.
“I’m very excited and it’s almost game time,” said Berezan. “I’ve been planning this for a long time.”
Berezan said he has been walking since he was a little kid and he would disappear from home and his parents would have to come find him.
“It’s kind of my happy place,” said Berezan. “When COVID-19 hit I spent more time on the trails. I just needed that for my own kind of wellness. I spend long hours walking and I love it.”
A van is the plan
Berezan’s interest in using the distance walk to support Miklat grew from a hike he heard about that was being done for some of the men in treatment. Berezan figured maybe he could leverage his walk to do something with some social good along the way. Plans for the funds raised are to go toward purchasing a bigger van for the society so its residents can do more out-tripping, according to Berezan.
He is also hoping his efforts will encourage more people to get out on the trail and do some walking or hiking.
“On some of the days I’ve been out for eight or 10 hours on the SCT and I’ve seen nobody,” said Berezan. “We have such a great resource here with the land, the lakes and the views that are all so incredibly gorgeous.”
Berezan’s walk will start at Sarah Point at the gateway to Desolation Sound. He aimed to be walking by 6 am on June 4. He said he has a plan to get to Confederation Lake on day one, which is about 74 kilometres. He plans to stop and get some rest and then head out for the second leg, which is about 68 kilometres, which includes lots of ups and downs, such as Tin Hat mountain and over to Lois Lake for a short sleep. The final day will stretch from Lois Lake to Saltery Bay if all goes according to plan.
Berezan said he has walked most of the SCT in his time in Powell River. For his planned walk to set the record, he has been doing lots of training, building up distance on a weekly basis. He has done one long walk each week, with his final long walk being 72 kilometres. Once a month he’s been doing two long back-to-back days to acclimatize himself for the big walk.
“I’m excited and really anxious to get out there,” said Berezan. “I had originally planned to do it on the May long weekend, but with the snowpack up there, it was just a little too much. I’ve delayed it a couple of weeks but now I’ve got to get it done.”
Fundraising is underway
In terms of the fundraising component, so far, a little more than $6,000 has been raised toward the purchase of a van for Miklat so they can take the men in recovery programs out into the community for more activity, including hikes on the SCT.
Rob Fitzpatrick, operations manager for Miklat Recovery Society said a big portion about recovery is exercise and outdoor activity.
“It’s therapeutic to be outdoors, to enjoy nature’s beauty,” said Fitzpatrick. “For Ron to do this is encouraging to all of the clients and motivating. Also, the goal of funding a van is incredibly helpful.
“At this point we can’t go very far from the recovery centre because we can only hold six people in our van so we have to make two trips wherever we go. A bigger van would be hugely helpful to Miklat, so we’re very grateful for this.”
A link to the event can be found at facebook.com/events/876004722949243. To access the fundraising page, go to canadahelps.org/en/pages/sct-hike-for-miklat-recovery-society.