Jim Willett on the Bruce Trail

Jim Willett's record run of the Bruce Trail

MEC works with a group of athletes who inspire people, strive to innovate, and set benchmarks within their field. As a member of the Ambassador program, Jim embodies these values and in 2014, completed an incredible achievement by setting the record for running the entire length of the Bruce Trail. While doing it, he raised nearly $2500 for Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

It took him 10 days, 13 hours and 57 minutes to run all 855 km of the trail, shattering the previous record by nearly 2 full days.

Here are some excerpts from the captain’s log he kept and posted along the way:

Captain’s log, Bruce Trail run, 3.5 days in

I’m stopping to take a little break so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and points about the first three and a half days on the trail.

  • The terrain on the first day was so challenging that I was actually cursing the earth for forging such awe inspiring geological landscapes. The earth and I have since come to peace.
  • Yesterday, along a muddy section of trail, I was literally running in the fresh footprints of a bear.
  • No matter how tired I feel, I’m still pretty fast with the right motivation.
  • Three small vertical lines on the Bruce Trail maps basically mean: hey dumbass, that’s a sheer cliff, please don’t plummet to your death.
  • When tripping over rocks and roots and such, try and find a soft part of the world to land on.
  • I found an enchanted forest, and I think there may have been trolls and Pixies and things in there.
  • I’ve been singing to myself a lot… I’ve realized I don’t actually know the full lyrics to many songs, so I’ve been making up my own.
  • I think I can I think I can I think I can.
Jim Willett on the Bruce Trail

Captain’s log, Bruce Trail Run day 10.5 (mission complete)

  • That was *!@#%$* hard.
  • I strained my Achilles tendon with 75km to go, and I averaged about 14 swear words a minute afterwards trying to run on it… you do the math.
  • With a piercing war cry, and a mighty punch at the air, I was only a few short kilometres from the finish… *insert screeching tire sound here*… but then my light went out, I got lost in the woods, had to scrabble down a cliff and my crew had to pick me up.
  • Reset.
  • New light, back on track; with a war whisper, a half-hearted swipe at the air, I shuffled off to the finish.
  • Thank you to every single one of you who supported me in any way!
  • This was never about just breaking the record; this was about doing something that scared me.
Jim Willett on the Bruce Trail

Congratulations on your achievements, Jim! The amount of training and hard work you put in to complete your goal is incredibly inspiring. By making it a DIY MEC Big Wild Challenge, you have enriched MEC’s long-standing partnership with CPAWS, where both organizations constantly look for ways to conserve the wild places where we adventure.

Learn more about Jim’s successful Big Wild Challenge and new Bruce Trail record:

Follow Jim on social media:

Jim Willett
Jim Willett

MEC running ambassador from Ontario, with a consistent desire to run ridiculously long distances for the greater good of natural places.