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'Caribou Legs' halts 3,200 km run just shy of Whitehorse

Brad Firth, the long-distance runner known as ‘Caribou Legs,’ stopped just short of Whitehorse Tuesday after running 3,200 km run from Vancouver to raise awareness of the Peel watershed.

Brad Firth ran from Vancouver to raise awareness of the Peel watershed

'Caribou Legs' halts 3,200 km run just shy of Whitehorse 1:01

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  • Brad Firth will return to Marsh Lake and run the last leg of his journey on Saturday.

It was the weather that finally brought an end to Brad Firth's long distance run, as Tuesday's snowstorm caused the Gwich'in man to stop his 3,200 kilometre run just short of Whitehorse.

The long-distance runner known as ‘Caribou Legs’ was running from Vancouver to Whitehorse to bring attention to the Peel watershed.

He says most days he ran between 40 to 60 kilometres and spent most nights camped on the side of the road with little more than a tarp and the clothes he was wearing.

"I'm used to roughing it out here on these highways," he said while getting ready for his last night along Marsh Lake.

Brad Firth poses with his meagre supplies near Marsh Lake, about 60 kilometres south of Whitehorse. The long-distance runner known as Caribou Legs cut his 3,200 kilometre run from Vancouver to Whitehorse slightly short when 10 cm of snow fell in Yukon's capital the day he planned to arrive.

"It's been like that, you know, some days I've been blessed with some luck and shelter and other days you just gotta rough it and you just gotta make do." 

Firth says there were a some Gwich'in people who helped out financially and paid for some motel rooms along the way.

A legacy to his runs this summer is the high-visibility vest he wore, given to him by his sister, Sharon Firth, who wore it during her cross-country ski events at the Sarajevo Olympics in 1984.

Firth says her vest has since seen a lot of wear and tear.

“When she gave it to me last year it was brand new and as you can see, it's all tattered and weathered," Firth says. "I've put on 8,000 kilometres of running in one year so as a result, it doesn't look like a vest anymore."

Nonetheless, he says he plans to give it back to her. 

Seven years ago Firth was an addict living on the streets of Vancouver. He says running helped turned his life around and now running for the Peel Watershed has been healing.

Firth plans to officially finish his run on Saturday by going back out to Marsh Lake and running the last leg into Whitehorse. He's inviting people to join him, and there will be a gathering at the totem pole on Front Street at 2 p.m.

Firth next plans to participate in the Yukon Arctic Ultra in February and says next May he'll run from Vancouver to Ottawa to again raise awareness about the Peel.

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