Toronto runner set to run 137-km around the perimeter of the city for COVID-19 relief

Toronto-based ultramarathoner Mark Carey is planning to run a 137 kilometre Run Around Toronto route along the perimeter of the city to raise money for the Red Cross’s COVID-19 response. 

“I have often wanted to complete a challenge in support of a worthy cause,” Carey says. “This spring, I was training for a 100-mile race at the Sulphur Springs Trail Races in Ancaster, ON. When the race was postponed from May 23 to Sept. 26 (hopefully), the idea was born to do a run around the perimeter of Toronto in support of COVID-19 relief.”

Carey is hoping to raise $100,000. His route follows the Lake Ontario shoreline to the south, Rouge Park to the east, the Humber River valley to the west, and the city’s northern border, Steeles Avenue, to the north. 

He says the most challenging part of the race will be making sure he finds places to refill his supplies as he makes his way along the route. 

“Organized events have aid stations, providing food and water at various locations along the route,” Carey explains. “There are no aid stations for this effort, and I can carry only so much water and nutrition. As i do on some long training runs, I'll probably stop at convenience or grocery stores along the way to refill my supplies. I may have a few friends bring me some things along the route. I have some logistics planning to do.”

It’s far, but Carey has some experience in long races having begun running ultras six years ago.

“In 2014 at the age of 40, I ran my first 100-mile (161K) ultra, the Burning River 100 trail race which goes from Cleveland to Akron, Ohio, taking 26 hours to finish (seeing two sunrises during the race),” he says. “Since then I have finished a handful of 50-mile trail races, DNF’ed two 100-mile races, and most recently finished my second 100-mile race at the Bromont Ultra in October 2019 (in the mountains one hour outside of Montreal), taking 30 hours and  17 minutes.”

Carey is a 45-year-old internet consultant. He grew up in Brampton, ON, and went to Western University in London, ON. He’s married, has two kids, and eats a vegan diet for health and running performance. He took up running while living in Bermuda from 2005-2012. He usually works from home, so the current situation hasn’t changed his training schedule too much, other than the inability to work from coffee shops and having his two kids at his “office” every day. 

“I have been running about 400km per month,” he says. “Usually four short runs during the week plus one long run on Sunday mornings, often starting well before sunrise.”

Carey’s Run Around Toronto is scheduled for May 30. For more information or to donate, go to his event website


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