at the races A Guinness World Record at the Calgary Marathon for a Beautiful, Brilliant...

A Guinness World Record at the Calgary Marathon for a Beautiful, Brilliant Cause 


Blaine Penny has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for MitoCanada through running and the Servus Calgary Marathon for a rare mitochondrial disease affecting Evan, his 20-year-old son. “There’s no real treatment for Evan’s mitochondrial disease, but raising money for research and awareness makes us feel better than accepting the news that there’s nothing we can do,” says Penny, run coach, father and elite marathon runner, attempting a Guinness Book of World Record Challenge this Sunday at the Servus Calgary Marathon, where fourteen members of his run club will attempt a linked half marathon under 1:20. 

“The running community here in Calgary is powerful and my team and friends all love running and draw strength from the sport which has expanded beyond the simple, physical act of running to touch so many of our lives in so many profound ways.” 

Penny and his team—many affiliated with Jeremy Deere and the great independent Albertan running shop Strides—already have four Guinness Book of World Records for linked running: both the marathon and half marathon. A fiercely competitive runner—his PB is 2:27 and he’s currently in pursuit of his sixth star—Blaine also runs with his wife Sarah and finds that the sport, beyond helping them raise much-needed money, also uplifts their spirit. Endurance training can sometimes be most powerfully needed when we’re not in our running shoes.     

“Evan’s condition, at times, can obviously feel overwhelming and you get stuck feeling powerless, but the running and, importantly, running community, has always been there for us and we’ve been able to actually become stronger,” says Penny, adding that MitoCanada will also have a cheer/fuel station set up this weekend at the Servus Calgary Marathon. 

“Everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, but Sarah and I will celebrate 22 years of being married this week and the city of Calgary, the running community and the Servus Calgary Marathon have always shown up huge for my family and I.”

Sub-1:20 for a half marathon finishing time is nearly elite and a difficult challenge, even with super shoes and a good night’s sleep. The idea of running that fast linked with fourteen runners seems impossible. However, fueled by Evan, training, friendship and will, Blaine Penny says his scrappy team of Albertan speedsters is up for the challenge to share MitoCanada’s message to the world. 

“We started MitoCanada fifteen years ago to help support families navigate care and raise awareness, fund research and, along the way, we found that setting Guinness records at the Calgary Marathon felt not only empowering, but fun,” Penny says. “There’s no treatment for Evan’s condition, but he knows we’re out here running and when he recognizes the impact of our team—that glint of recognition—it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. He’s inspired a lot of people to want to go further, faster and harder. We look forward to Sunday’s run and feeding off the energy of the mitochondrial disease community and our tethered friends.” 

To celebrate the Servus Calgary Marathon’s sixtieth anniversary, Blaine Penny and crew will be attempting to break the linked half marathon Guinness World Record and raise $60,000 for MitoCanada. To donate funds to these awesome runners and tremendous awesome cause, please click here.


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