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In a year of cancelled races, local runner runs 2,020 miles in 2020 (8 photos)

Commitment to health unlocks passion for marathons

To many, running is an act of punishment or the unneeded exercise before the main event, but for Jonathan Mogg, running is a piece that makes him whole. Mogg’s running journey began three years ago when he made a promise to himself to be healthier.

From there, he unlocked his passion for running and ultra running. Little did he know this journey would open up the door to running the most he never thought he had in him, which has now grown from being nervous about running a five-kilometre race to set the goal to one day racing 100 Miles.

“The day after my thirty-fifth birthday, I did my first ever five-kilometre race, and I was worried I might not even finish it. It was scary for me to run five kilometres. It was completely mind-blowing that I could even do that. And then things kept building from there,” Mogg said.

Mogg kept working at his goals, and before he knew it, he was racing 10 kilometres, which led to him getting the runner high to making new goals and attempting his first ever half marathon in 2018.

“On Father’s Day 2018, I decided I’m going to run my first half marathon. I had my wife drop me off in Echo Bay, and I ran home. That way, I had no choice. You can’t bailout. That was my first unofficial half,” he said.

After accomplishing all of his goals in 2019, Mogg met a fellow runner who introduced him to the world of trail and ultra running. Ultra running being anything over 42 kilometres, which opened up another door for Mogg. Before he knew it, he was signing up for races with over 50-kilometre distances and beyond. On Jan 4. 2020, he decided at the last minute to change his race distance from 50 kilometres to 50 miles for one race in particular.

“A week before the race, I decided to ramp up my distance. It was the hardest thing I ever did. The race finished at 78 kilometres, which is a little short of 50 miles, so I ended up running past the finish line for two and a half kilometres just to ensure I got my 50 miles,” he said.

Mogg’s running plans took a turn during the pandemic when he had some extra time to himself, and unfortunately, the cancelation of his races gave him the push he needed. He made a commitment to run all his cancelled races, even if there were no events taking place. From there, for the year 2020 he was knocking off goals left-right and centre, and his goals of running 2,020 kilometres for the year turned into running 2020 miles.

“Originally, I planned 2,020 kilometres, but then that became an easy goal. Then it became 2020 miles. Which is 3,250 kilometres, which I did that earlier in December,” Mogg said.

He finished the year by running 3,380 kilometres, the most he has ever run to date. Within the 2020 year, his runs included almost an ultra marathon a month. He completed running challenges not many would dare to do, such as running the former Landslide ski hill 40 times to achieve an elevation goal of over 2,800 metres. And on the last day of the year, he made a goal to run 50 kilometres on the Hub trail by Finn Hill - just the hill.

The new year is set with all new goals for Mogg, including running every day, which has he has been doing since April 2020 and will continue on this path every day in the new year.

Being influenced by his father for his consecutive days of running was a contributing factor to the mental strength he needed to start running in the first place and having a running streak.

“It took about a month before I started actually doing it. But when I go back to how the whole streak thing happened. My father has been streaking for thirty-five years. He’s been my guiding light in all this. He does a mile a day every single day. Hasn’t missed a day.”

Throughout Mogg’s running journey, he has had the chance to run races with family members and reflects that running has been in his blood, and he didn’t know it.

“It was in my head because my dad runs every day and my aunts a marathoner too. I have the blood in me, and it never clicked until that moment. When finally, I had the time during the day, and I said, let's do this. And little by little, it built into this crazy thing it is now,” he said.

Mogg has been fortunate to have met a running community in the Sault that consists of those who inspire him, while others who admire his compassion for the sport has a whole. Running has done more for Mogg than most will know and is a beautiful journey he encourages everyone to partake in, and running has brought him to the people who think just like he does.

“It has brought me to like-minded people that see the same vision of beauty. It’s just about the whole beauty of nature and grounding yourself, and all these people in the running community are all the most supportive people. It’s like a whole group coming together, and we’re off to go throw the ring into the fire. And when we all finish - it doesn’t matter what speed or position everyone is always excited. You cheer as hard for the first person as you do for the last person, and it’s the most inclusive group I’ve ever met.”