Jonathan Howard has been dreaming about running across Canada since he was a child. Now he’s doing it — and hoping to raise $2.5 million for autism in the process.
Howard, 24, a Mississauga, Ont. native, began working with autistic children in high school, running day camps and teaching swimming lessons.
“Some days it’s really, really fun. Other days it’s really challenging. You learn a lot of patience,” Howard said yesterday, after he arrived in Halifax.
“It really opens up your eyes to what’s really important in life, and what we as a society should be focusing our resources on.”
Autism is a neurological disorder that can cause communication problems and repetitive behaviour, starting in early childhood.
Howard began his run March 25 in St. John’s, Nfld. Since then, he’s run 1,400 kilometres, some of it in snowstorms and heavy winds. He runs about 40 kilometres a day — most of a marathon — and expects to go through a pair of sneakers every two weeks.
He says money raised will stay with autism programs in the provinces it’s raised in.
He plans to be in Ottawa for Canada Day, and to finish the 8,500 kilometre run in Victoria by Dec. 3.