This is Junel Malapad's 7th year running on boxing day around the Forks to raise money for Siloam Mission and this year was another great success.
"I've done this many times and I always have to respect the distance," says Malapad. "I knew it wasn't going to be a cakewalk. In the morning there was no wind and I had a friend with me, Jin Lee. He runs most of my long runs with me."
Malapad ran for 24 hours starting at midnight on Boxing Day outdoors at the Forks. He had a few friends join him at different times to help keep him going.
"Throughout the day people did their own distances. There were a lot of high-fives and hugs. Every time I saw my friends come to join, it really uplifted me. So that was a great energizer."
The reason for these long winter runs is to raise funds for Siloam Mission. This year, alongside his friends who ran for the cause and Access Storage who donates as well, $15,127.55 has been donated to people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg.
"My friends at Access Storage donated $7,500. They've been helping me out, this is the 3rd year. They supplied a big cubed truck and while I was running, the cubed truck was outside the Forks and it was filled right up with urgently needed supplies."
Since the time Malapad started 'Running Day' on Boxing Day seven years ago, he and his friends raised over $100,000 to donate to Siloam. For the last three years, he also had help from the Inn at the Forks, as they provide him with a room so he can change, eat, and warm up in between.
From High Cholesterol to Ultra Marathons
Malapad only started running when he was 38 years old.
"I've been running for 13 years now. I started because I had high cholesterol and I wanted to have a better lifestyle."
Malapad was the head caretaker for the Winnipeg School Division for 29 years before he retired and it was then he picked up running.
"About five or six years ago I started doing ultra-marathon distances, which is anything over 50 km. One thing that helped me this year was that I ran across the province from May 1 - 7 and it was 70 km a day. That was the spring so running in the winter time is a different challenge because of the cold."
Now Malapad works part-time for City Park Runners and he leads two running groups.
"Last year I ran 48 hours so my Running Days have been different times and lengths. Last year I ran 209 km on Boxing Day and this year I ran 129 km over 24 hours."
Having a group of people that join him in his runs, even if it's at different times, is what keeps Malapad going when his body starts to cry out for him to stop.
"It's always helpful to have a friend or a buddy to keep you motivated to keep you going."