Skip to content

Fundraising challenge sends runners out for 24 hours on shortest day of the year

North Vancouver organizer aims for darkest, rainiest day to add some fun to fundraising run

Some local hard-core runners put the good times on repeat recently during a 24-hour challenge to raise funds for The Harvest Project in North Vancouver.

North Shore-based running group Club Fat Ass hosted the third annual 24-Hour E-Duro Rice Lake fun run over the winter solstice, with nearly 40 runners taking part in a running challenge consisting solely of 2.5-kilometre laps around North Van’s Rice Lake. Racers made donations before taking part, raising $2,000 for the North Shore charity.

The annual fun run is the brainchild of Etienne Durocher, a Montreal native who now lives in North Vancouver. There were massive changes to the way the run was administered this year to make sure it was COVID-safe, but Durocher was thrilled with the participation and the money raised for charity. Part of the appeal of the run is the challenge presented by holding it in the middle of monsoon season, said Durocher.

“It was raining all day pretty much,” he said with a laugh, obviously pleased with that result. “The reason why I do it on the solstice is just a little bit more of a challenge with the shortest day of the year.”

Durocher clarified that the challenge is not an official race, but rather a self-guided fun run for interested parties. Typically all the runners would start at the same time on the same day, but this year Durocher spaced it out over four days to ensure that all runners would have plenty of space to avoid any congestion.

Runners were free to begin at their own preferred time and keep track of their laps, the only caveat being that they needed to complete the challenge within a 24-hour timeframe. The “winner” of this year’s E-Duro racked up 175 total kilometres, completing a mind-numbing 70 laps of the Rice Lake course over the span of 24 hours.

“It’s really about challenging yourself,” Durocher said about the E-Duro, and the Club Fat Ass ethos in general. The grassroots club posts fun off-the-wall outdoor challenges throughout the year as a way to motivate members to maintain an active lifestyle. COVID-19 has taken some of the group participation aspect away from the events, but hasn’t diminished the communal feeling generated by participants who swap stories online and potentially share physically distanced encouragement while out on the trails.

The fun of the E-Duro Rice Lake challenge is hidden right in the name. E-Duro is a play on “enduro,” a common name for endurance races, as well as a nickname for the event’s organizer.

Durocher has also turned Rice Lake into a fitting acronym: “Run In Circles Endlessly.”

There’s even a poem for the event (you can see the full poem in the gallery atop this article. Here’s a verse:

“Our old friend Rice Lake has become our objective

Again and again and again and again

By the end her beauty will surely be subjective

Pain and rain and rain and pain.”