Local philanthropist, Curtis Hargrove, set out on Hugginz Highway August 30th, from Port Alberni, BC, with the mission of spreading the love of a special friend, Angel and her handmade blankets, across two countries to Ellen DeGeneres. Running for 45 days, Curtis is now just 4 days away from Ellen’s studios in Burbank, California. He’s unsure if the talk show host will even be at the studio when he arrives or will he willing to see him, Curtis says he’s running on faith.
“The support from everybody, in all the different communities, and all the hospitality that everybody has been giving us in Angel’s mission,” that’s really what motivates the runner to keep going. Curtis has been making stops along the way delivering special blankets to sick kids on his route; one of those stops had him visit a girl, Soraya, “that was one of the most special parts of this journey for me.”
“The pain I go through [from running] is nothing compared to what these families go through everyday. We’re on this mission for Angel and these sick kids, we’re just trying to get them the best care we can,” says Curtis. Along with delivering blankets on his journey, Curtis has been collecting donations so Angel can continue making the blankets, as well as, visiting schools along the route to spread Angel’s message, “we’ve done presentations at schools, we’ve been spreading the word everywhere.” The support from strangers is incredibly moving, explains Curtis, “we’ve had hotel rooms donated, restaurants pay for our suppers, it’s just be awesome. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Curtis set out to run 50 kilometres a day, but had a minor setback, “I have an injured tendon. I’ve been trying to put in as much miles as I can. The last couple days I’ve been putting in half marathons.” An impressive feat for anyone, the entire journey has clocked Curtis running over 42 marathons in 45 days. The runner set out to complete 58 marathons, however due to the injury he has made some adjustments to his route, which will allow him to arrive as scheduled, without running as much. “My mission is not to impress anyone with my running. That was just a unique way of getting Angel’s message out there. My mission is to get Angel’s message to Ellen.”
“We’ve had a lot of roadblocks on this journey,” including not being able to run on the highway due to traffic, explains Curtis, “the freeway just gets too crazy. There were no shoulders for me to run on and nowhere for Allen (Curtis’ support and driver) to pull over.” They were able to find alternate routes thanks to various State Troopers, “and we’ve been running with schools, spreading the word that way. The more we can spread the word about Angel, the better.”
Curtis’ own former school, Cold Lake Elementary, sent a special video message, a parody of Don’t Stop Believin’, entitled Don’t Stop Runnin’. “It was pretty special to see that,” Curtis says it really hit him to have the support of his community, “for Cold Lake Elementary to take the time out of their day to do that for me, it was pretty special.” The school has always been behind the runner, in all his journeys, “they’ve always supported me in everything I’ve done. For the kids to get involved, and the teacher [Kate Periera] she made another video, of our last six weeks, that’s really special. To get people pumped up and inspire everybody.”
The support from home and the people he’s met on the journey that continue to motivate Curtis and why he keeps running. Curtis’ faith is strong, it’s what keeps him believing that Ellen will be there to welcome him, the blanket, and Angel’s message on October 19th. You can follow Curtis’ journey on Facebook and Twitter, he’ll have updates throughout the remainder of his journey and you’ll find out first whether the talk show host is there to greet him when he arrives at her studios in Burbank, California.
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