Embrace the Race: Black Creek resident running Vancouver Island

Jaquelyn Janzen laces up prior to a training run for her Embrace the Race challenge. Inset, her father, who is afflicted with multiple sclerosis. - submitted
Jaquelyn Janzen laces up prior to a training run for her Embrace the Race challenge. Inset, her father, who is afflicted with multiple sclerosis.
— image credit: submitted

Very few people have not been affected, in some way or another, by chronic illnesses.

Some take a proactive approach to change, be it through donating to a cause, or volunteering for a special fundraising effort.

Jaquelyn Janzen has taken her proactive approach to the battle against multiple sclerosis and lupus one step further. Make that half a million steps.

On Friday, the 25-year-old Black Creek native embarked on her “Embrace the Race” journey. She is running the length of Vancouver Island.

From July 31 to Aug. 16, Janzen will run the equivalent of 12 full marathons – one per day, with five rest days along the way – in hopes of raising $50,000 to go towards MS and lupus research.

Only 1 previous marathon

Janzen, who has only been running for a couple of years, came up with the idea while training for the 2013 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon – her first-ever marathon, and only official one she has ever run.

“I was out running one day, in training for Victoria, and I realized how much I just love running, and thought there should be a purpose for me doing it – to use this for the good of something,” she said.

Personal connection

“My dad has MS and a good friend of mine has lupus and they are both very, very important people to me. Watching them struggle with these diseases has really just opened my eyes as to how much people with chronic illnesses have to persevere really every day of their lives. This is just a way I felt I could show them how much I care for them, and a way I could show them some support.”

Spot her on the highway

She will do all her running during the challenge along the highways of Vancouver Island. She will travel along Highway 19 from Port Hardy all the way to Parksville. At that point, she will move onto the inland highway (19A) as far as Mill Bay, before taking the Mill Bay-to-Brentwood Bay ferry across to Victoria.

“We decided running the Malahat on a summer Saturday is probably not the safest idea, so we will catch the ferry, then run through Victoria,“ she said.

Passing through Courtenay

Janzen will run through Courtenay on Aug. 9, during her seventh “marathon” of the challenge.

She will start in Oyster Bay that day and run through Courtenay en route to her finishing point, in Union Bay.

Janzen will return to Courtenay that afternoon for a fundraising barbecue at Brian McLean Chevrolet (11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.)

“People can come in, buy a hot dog or hamburger, and all money raised will go towards the cause,” said Skye Zimmerman, community relations manager for Brian McLean Chevrolet.

Janzen said her family and friends have been overwhelmingly supportive during her training for the event.

“There is a lot more planning and organizing that had to go into all of this than I had originally anticipated,” she said. “All I’ve had to do is train for the event. My family has been absolutely incredible with helping out in every way – from food prep, to media contacts, to everything. My dad built me a shower the other day, so that I can have a shower every day along the way, because we are camping.”

Janzen is hopeful the people of Vancouver Island – and beyond – show their support in the next two weeks by donating to the causes.

“I would love to see $50,000 raised between the two causes,” she said. “On our website we have an option of which cause you want to donate to. Neither cause is more dear to my heart than the other. They both mean an awful lot to me.”

To donate to Janzen’s efforts, or to join the team as a runner during the event, visit the website at


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