PORT HARDY — Terry and Vera Smith hardly fit the stereotype of endurance athletes. But after years of running marathons internationally, the Port Hardy couple will be at it again later this month when they pedal the two-day Boomer’s Ride from Comox to Victoria beginning June 17.
“We’ve been marathon runners for a number of years,” said Terry Smyth, who with Vera is proprietor of Port Hardy’s Tru Value store.
“We like being active,” Vera added.
The couple ran the 50-kilometer Coast-to-Coast Foot Roast from Holberg to Port Hardy multiple times, took on the Kusam Klimb mountain race near Sayward, and have run in marathons in Northern Ireland and in Belgium to raise funds for arthritis research.
After the pounding of road running took its toll on Terry’s knees, the couple switched to bikes. But they’re still looking for endurance challenges — and a good cause.
The fourth annual Boomer’s Ride commemorates the life of Corporal Andrew James “Boomer” Eykelenboom of Comox, who was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber in 2006, on what was to be his final mission of his tour of duty.
The ride, which drew 95 cyclists a year ago and which has added a Nova Scotia event this year, raises money for the Boomer’s Legacy Assistance to Afghanistan Fund.
Riders pay a registration fee of $150 to take part, and are expected to raise a minimum of $300 each.
No problem, Vera said when asked about the couple’s fund-raising efforts in late May.
“We hope to raise $2,000,” she said. “We’re three-quarters of the way there, and we’ve got a few more weeks of fund-raising.”
This month’s Boomer’s Ride will cover 240 kilometres, from its start at CFB Comox to the finish the following day at the Legislature in Victoria. It will be the first time the Smyths have taken on a ride of its length, but the couple is undaunted by the prospect.
“We’re not going to give up yet,” Terry said. “There’s always another challenge.”