‘The best thing I ever did;’ Maritimer ran Brainfreeze as part of road-racing road trip

In September 2019, David Kierans bid farewell to his girlfriend and two kids, climbed into his RV and drove away from his New Brunswick home.

He planned to spend the next several months on the road as he chipped away at his goal of running road races in every province.

David Kierans at the Brainsport Brainfreeze

“It’s not for everyone,” Kierans says. “But I’ve met so many nice people. It’s incredible.”

Kierans, 41, started his road racing road trip by travelling east through the Maritimes, then he turned around and worked his way west before heading east again.

He passed through Saskatoon in March where he ran in the Brainsport Brainfreeze five kilometre event.

“It was snowy and icy. But it’s all part of it,” he says.

It wasn’t the coldest race he did; Kierans ran a race in Winnipeg before Christmas when it was -40C.

Kierans started running in 2016 at the urging of a friend. At the time he was overweight and still feeling the effects of a 2003 accident that left him wheelchair-bound for two years with a back injury.

But after four years of running and three years of racing, Kierans felt happier, healthier and fitter.

He ran his first road race — the Hopewell Rocks Multi-terrain eight kilometre in New Brunswick — in 2017 and has been hooked on racing ever since.

He says he loves the feeling of pushing his body to get to the finish line.

“It’s the fact that I never thought I could do it,” Kierans says. “There’s pain and torture you put yourself through doing it … but the result is just amazing.

Kierans’ journey, which came to an end prematurely in mid March as COVID-19 restrictions forced races to cancel and postpone, was not particularly linear. Kierans says he would search online for nearby races and drive several hundred kilometres in any direction if he found a race coming up. How long he stayed in a given place depended on when and where the next race was.

With Saskatchewan crossed off his list, Kierans just needed to complete a race in Quebec to reach his goal of running at least one race in every province. He had hoped to do that before returning home in early April when he was supposed to jet off to a destination wedding with his family, but as races were cancelled this wasn’t possible. Kierans cut his trip short and headed home early with only having completed races in nine of the 10 provinces.

Kierans says he logged more than 14,000 kilometres on his RV during his trip and ran 18 races in seven months. His RV is bursting with medals and bibs, which Kierans saves and displays.

All the race registrations were expensive, but Kierans says he saved money on his trip by sleeping and eating meals in his RV.

Kierans says he’s looking forward to racing again when such events are safe and that he’s determined to race in Quebec soon to complete his goal. He also hopes to take his family road tripping and racing some time.

“I’d never ran a day in my life until four years ago and it’s probably the best thing I ever did,” Kierans says. “It’s such a great community … (This can) turn into a great family experience.”

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