Last June, during the year’s summer solstice, Peter Celler ran more than 80 kilometres, from sunset to sunrise, in order to raise money for Shelter Movers, a non-profit organization which provides free moving services for women and children fleeing abuse at home.
Celler started his eight-hour Run Through Night event at Sunset Beach in Vancouver in the late evening and continued eastward until he reached Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford by early morning, smashing his initial fundraising goal of $8,000. He ended up raising almost $15,000 for the non-profit organization.
“I thought about making it an annual thing with lots of participants and everybody fundraising. Last year, nobody thought COVID was going to last this long. I said this year I’ll run it by myself and next year we’ll run it as a proper fundraiser with lots of people and everything. Now, here we are dealing with third waves,” says Celler.
He’ll do his run solo again this year, and because of provincewide travel restrictions due to COVID-19, he won’t be leaving the North Shore.
Starting at 9 p.m. on June 19, Celler plans to run 100 kilometres around the track at Windsor Secondary, which he estimates will be around 250 laps. He hopes to be done by 7 a.m. the following morning.
His goal is to raise at least $10,000, which would be enough money to help at least 50 women and their children move away from an abusive situation with the assistance of Shelter Movers.
“The need to help people get out of those situations, and how the pandemic has made things worse, it seems like just an apt thing to pair this with,” says Celler. “I go for a run everyday but it’s not everyday my run does some good.”
Shelter Movers works on the principle that when someone is fleeing domestic abuse they may not have the time, wherewithal or ability to move all their cherished possessions and other necessities with them.
“There is a tremendous amount of amazing people doing work already in the transition homes and support services – what’s really missing in this is there’s a gap in helping them to safely get out of their homes into their transition homes and then progress in the system,” Shelter Movers Vancouver director Brian Vidler told the North Shore News last year.
Although he’d love to have more people involved in this year’s Run Through Night, Celler reminds the community not attend the Windsor track during his run due to COVID-19 health restrictions.
‘Obviously it’s more fun to run across half the city or multiple municipalities, but being confined to this one track is a bit of an echo of what’s going on,” says Celler. “It helps me remember that the restriction that I’m going through is inconvenient but it’s mild compared to what other people are going through because of COVID.”
Visit Celler’s Run Through Night website for more information or to donate to the campaign.