When long-distance runner Sean McSweeney wakes up tomorrow, he will have calves bloated to twice their size, swollen hands and muscles aching from head to toe. “It’ll be a slow day,” he concedes. “Your body’s like a snow globe that’s been shaken pretty hard. It takes a while to settle down.”
Physical hardships aside, though, McSweeney, 42, will also wake with a satisfying sense of accomplishment. This morning, he and a dozen other runners set out from top of Yonge Street, way up in Barrie. If all goes as planned, they will arrive by evening where Yonge hits Lake Ontario at Queens Quay — 15 hours and 92 kilometres later.
They call it Run With The Sun, named after the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
And if compounding the ordeal of running Canada’s longest street by adding in maximum exposure to sunlight seems crazy, then consider McSweeney’s motive.
In 2004, his wife Nicole, 41, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a skin cancer. Suddenly forced by intimate circumstances to become familiar with how to stay safe in the sun, McSweeney wanted to help others benefit from his experience. (His wife is OK, he adds. “We caught it early.”)
Today, with a forecast of 28 C and a UV index of 9, the runners will start out bare-headed, but by sunrise will don hats with long cowls covering their necks. Every five kilometres, they will reapply 60 SPF sunscreen — “basically, gallons of the stuff,” McSweeney said.