Intending to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research, Jon Nabbs donned his Superman costume as he stopped in Portage la Prairie Wednesday night.

Nabbs, from Cambridge, New Zealand, is on a mission to travel across the country, coast to coast, with a target of $60,000 (CAD) for children in their fight against cancer in Canada and his native land.

The expedition across Canada for Nabbs started on May 3 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. While going through Canada, Nabbs has seen much of what the Great White North offers. However, he also got to experience some late November weather and wind when running to Portage.

"I think it was about the coldest I've ever experienced in my life with the wind," laughed the runner. "I wasn't sure what to expect here. I've never been this far west. Every step on this journey is the furthest west I've ever been in Canada."

Nabbs received a warm welcome in Portage la Prairie, with an escort from the Portage Fire Department and a group of local runners. Mayor Sharliyn Knox also paid a visit along with a group of locals to greet him.

"Just, Wow. What a welcome into this awesome town! It's so fun to be here."

Nabbs, whom many have called an inspiration, says his motivation for the run across Canada came after he lost both of his parents to cancer in 2020 and 2021.

He explains that he knows the desperate feeling a family experiences when they receive a diagnosis and the importance of continuing to find hope, inspiration, and joy.

"I think a lot of people think I'm a bit nuts. They've probably got a point. But on top of that, I think it makes people really proud, especially from the small little town I come from within New Zealand."

The Kiwi has accumulated a few injuries along the way during the over 5,000 km he has run so far, but he isn't letting that affect his mental strength.

"It's all for an important cause, raising money for childhood cancer in Canada and the Child Cancer Foundation of New Zealand. So, I've certainly got the drive. But if today (Wednesday) was any indication of what the Prairies are like, it's going to be a battle."

File Photo.Jon Nabbs chatting with the Portage Fire Department. (Wednesday, November 22.)

Citing Terry Fox as his biggest inspiration for the run, Nabbs thinks Canadians don't fully grasp how globally significant Fox's legacy is.

"In 1980, when he ran, it made news down at my home in New Zealand on the bottom of the world, and it was a really big inspiration for me to come and do this. The Terry Fox run was held in 17 countries around the world this year. It's international. You know, he's Canada's greatest hero."

With nearly a billion dollars raised in Canada for the Terry Fox Foundation, Nabbs adds that he is simply looking to add a little push to that tidal wave Fox started years ago.

File Photo.Jon Nabbs. (Wednesday, November 22.)

His diet won't make many headlines during this run from coast to coast, but keeping his body ready to perform at such a high athletic level can be a struggle, according to Nabbs.

"Calories is the name of the game. I've never eaten so much in my life. For 200 days now, I've never really been full. There's just always more food that needs to go in, and it's gotten to the point where my body's telling me to eat salt, fat and protein. But at the same time, I know I should also be getting some salad, vitamins and minerals in there, but this is a weird balance; there's only so much room in the stomach. So, the nutrition is a really interesting one. It's just calories, calories, calories." 

After taking Thursday off, Nabbs will be starting his trek in Portage la Prairie on Friday as he gets another 50 km, making his way toward Brandon. 

To this point, the 32-year-old says that he has raised $30,000 (CAD) for cancer research, halfway to the ultimate goal with just 54 days left before he plans to finish his 8,000 km run in Victoria, BC.

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