Military officer completes run in support of youth

  • Jun. 1, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Military officer and aspiring politician Daryl Bonar passes through Ponoka with a police escort on May 26. His week long run from Calgary to Edmonton was inspired by and in support of youth emergency shelters in the area.

Military officer and aspiring politician Daryl Bonar passes through Ponoka with a police escort on May 26. His week long run from Calgary to Edmonton was inspired by and in support of youth emergency shelters in the area.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

For a certain military officer and aspiring politician, it’s a case of no pain no gain.

Daryl Bonar, 32, has just completed what he says is the toughest thing he has ever done — a 400-kilometre run from Calgary to Edmonton in support of the Youth Emergency Shelter Society.

The gruelling run, which took Bonar six days, followed Highway 2 from Calgary, then Highway 2A as he arrived in Ponoka on day 4, May 25.

“There are a sea of good causes out there,” said Bonar. “It’s a constant battle for attention and awareness and sometimes you need to go to extremes to get that attention.”

At the end of the run, Bonar landed at Telus Field in Edmonton, where he participated in the ‘Homeless for a Night’ event.

Although Bonar put his own body on the line for the run, he insists that it’s not for himself.

“For the last five years, I’ve been working with and co-founded a program called Da Bomb Squad,” said Bonar. “It’s a program for high-risk youth and it teaches them life skills to help them overcome obstacles in life.”

Bonar, who experienced social housing firsthand as a child in Vancouver, understands the many obstacles that at-risk youth must overcome.

“I’m very aware of what these shelters do and the life-line that they give to these kids,” said Bonar.

“My personal experience is something that really motivates me to support youth shelters.”

Bonar says that the main goals of this run are to raise awareness for the Homeless for a Night event, as well as to raise money for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society.

With a $10,000 goal, Bonar hit the half-way mark on day 4 of the marathon.

The physical toll that the marathon took on Bonar is something that he had no way of predicting.

“I had no measuring stick, you’re basically running a marathon and a half straight. I’ve done marathons and races before, but with those, you have the opportunity to rest and heal,” said Bonar.

“This is way different.”

“It’s been like a chess game with my body. I’ve been constantly battling dehydration, nutrition, muscle cramps and blisters,” said Bonar. “My motivation has been really high, but I’ve found myself thinking back to what my primary motivator was and that’s what you need to focus on.”

Supporting youth shelters is not the only thing that Bonar does to give back to his community, though.

Bonar placed a respectable third in the 2010 Edmonton mayoral race and has recently announced that he will run under the Wildrose Alliance banner in the next provincial election.

Bonar has also served Canada in another way — in the Canadian Armed Forces. He is currently a community relations officer in Edmonton, but has served two full tours of duty in Bosnia on peacekeeping missions.