Two weeks ago, Christopher Mavrikos ran farther than he ever thought he could.
The 32-year-old passed the 36-kilometre mark with jelly-like quads, sore hips, bruised feet and his sweat-soaked hair plastered to his forehead.
“The 36K was a huge route,” he said days later, in a state of disbelief of what he’d accomplished.
Mavrikos, whose previous longest distance was a half-marathon, or 21 km, he ran in May, has a ton of emotion backing his bid to complete a full marathon on Oct. 9.
On that 36-km run, Mavrikos also ran the gamut of emotions, from determination to hopelessness, sorrow to elation.
But the main reason he was able to push through – and the reason he’s certain he’ll complete the GoodLife Victoria Marathon – is his late mother and the other Canadian woman affected by breast cancer.
“Crossing that finish line, if I’m able to inspire just one person to make a difference, to donate to the cause, how can I say no to that? It’s obviously, for me, my mom’s legacy, but it’s about keeping her memory alive.”
Lynn Mavrikos died of breast cancer in 1997 at 38 years old. She was initially diagnosed at age 32 and her son said her strength helped her live through those six years with the disease.
“It’s her strength, her determination that is in me and I take solace in that. I know I’m going to have to dig deep on that Sunday (Oct. 9), (but) I know she’ll be there.”
Mavrikos is creating a track record of pushing himself hard to bring breast cancer into the spotlight.
Last year, he raised more than $30,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure – the most money raised by any individual in Canada, ever. For his efforts, he received the Determination Award at the Run.
Mavrikos will attend the Run for the Cure this year as well, held on Sunday (Oct. 2). He’ll run the 5-km route with other participants as he has for the past four years since he moved back to Victoria from Vancouver (but he will run it twice – it’s part of his tapered training schedule for the marathon the following weekend).
In addition, Mavrikos organized a classy evening of appetizers, prizes and presentations on Wednesday (Sept. 28), at which he aimed to raise $10,000.
Mavrikos hopes his marathon will prompt people to donate $1 per kilometre he’ll run on Oct. 9, or $42 each, to his cause at thinkpink2020.com. All proceeds go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
“If I can inspire one person, then I’ve done what I can do,” he said.
Until the marathon, Mavrikos, general manager at Romeo’s Place on Hillside Avenue, plans to continue his training and fundraising efforts.
“People think I bite off more than I can chew, but if I put my mind to anything, I think I can do it. It’s been said before that I’m a man on a mission and I definitely am – and not only when I’m doing my work on my fundraising efforts, but when I’m running I know there’s someone with me and that pushes me on.
“There’s definitely times where she’s there and present for sure,” he continued.
“Sometimes you can hit a bit of an emotional barrier and a song (on my iPod) can kind of evoke thoughts or feelings, and you feel that beat in your heart and you look up at the sky and push on and get yourself up that damn hill.”
Mavrikos named his fundraising website thinkpink2020.com, because he believes researchers can find a way to end breast cancer by 2020.
“It’s not just a fabricated number. They are truly making this a reality and where are we at right now? 2011? We have nine years to go. I think it’s definitely achievable.”
Run for the cure
• What: 5-km run, speeches, entertainment
• When: Sunday, Oct. 2. Registration at 7 a.m., opening ceremonies at 8:35 a.m., run starts at 9 a.m.
• Where: University of Victoria
• Why: to raise money for breast cancer research
• How: visit www.runforthecure.com and click on Victoria under the Locations tab to find donor and team information