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Image courtesy of Impact Marathon.

Tour de blogosphere: Impact Marathon

By Jordan Duff on February 21, 2018

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One of Apt613’s longest running series is the Tour de blogosphere, highlighting bloggers that love this city as much as we do. Five years ago, Apt613 interviewed Joe Rios about his blog, Thrive With Joe. His story was a good one: former couch potato turned ultra-marathoner decides to run a marathon on every continent.

In 2013, Rios had run marathons in North America, Europe and South America. As a kind of “where are they now?” I reconnected with Joe. He has since collected the remaining four continents and has literally ran across the globe. Not bad, Joe.

Through running, Rios realized the real impact was through fundraising and charitable efforts – appropriate as most organized races are attached to a good cause. His focus changed from promoting a personal healthy lifestyle to a more holistic view of wellbeing.

Image courtesy of Impact Marathon.

This lead him to connecting with The Impact Marathon Team, which combines social sustainability with marathon running. In 2016, Rios was a member of a team that ran a marathon in Nepal before assisting with the building of a 5km water pipeline that would bring year round fresh water to the racers’ host community of Kakani, Nuwakot.

This year, Rios wanted to do more by bringing a team from Ottawa to participate in the event that is next being held this March in Guatemala.

“This is the first step to drive inspiration,” says Rios, “Start the movement to build the awareness of what we can do. My vision is to make the connection on how we can do good, volunteer, challenge our limits, all while bettering ourselves and those that we touch on this adventure.”

His call for a team of volunteers interested in running up the side of a volcano were quickly answered and he is taking a team of 13, aptly named Team Canada, to the Impact Guatemala event in March. Eleven of those teammates are his coworkers from Export Development Canada – which is impressive since his impassioned lunch session on the value of this trip inspired even some members who were only attending for the free food to join the marathon team.

Ottawa-based marathoner Joe Rios. Image provided.

“While the marathon remains as a key element of the adventure, the true essence of the week will be the volunteer portion,” explains Rios.

“Over the course of the four days we will learn about the various charities in Antigua that we have fundraised for. During this time, they will meet the locals and listen to stories. They will showcase the gratitude to the group of what it means for them in their everyday lives. Then the fun stuff starts, we will embark on a two-day manual labour project where we volunteer with these local groups and start something that will help for many years to come. I’m super excited for Team Canada to experience what this means. How they digest and feel this is where the reward will shine through.”

In true 613 fashion, the local business community has offered to help support the project. A successful spinning fundraiser was hosted Spinco this month, with refreshments and gear supplied by Buchipop and Lululemon. Readers can get involved by donating on the team’s page.

Impact Guatemala is an impressive and ambitious goal, even for Joe – someone who has already run a marathon on every continent *and* has now been featured on Apt613 twice. Good luck to the team!

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