Co-Founder of Trans American Footrace Has Doubts About Current Trans-Canada Record Attempt

  • submit to reddit

Al Howie Lieutenant Cautions Trans-Canada Record Attempt

Guest column by Jesse Dale Riley, crew for Al Howie, co-founder Trans America Footrace 1992-1995
Editor’s note: This is a guest column by Jesse Dale Riley, a man who served on the crew for Al Howie when Howie set a Trans-Canada record of 72 days and 10 hours in 1991. The views below belong to Jesse Dale Riley alone, not LetsRun.com.

Our friend Al Howie, famous for a trans-Canada record and a magnificent world record at the Sri Chinmoy 1300-Mile in New York just a couple of weeks later in 1991, is no longer with us. Following his passing in June of 2016, I joked to a friend that the very angels in heaven would have to cheat to beat him.

Now there is an attempt on Al’s record, in conjunction with an admirable fundraiser for charity, and as Al’s chief run-related helper and record-keeper, I see little evidence of the work I was able to do (while also running with Al frequently) to provide serious accountability for this new attempt. I see many red flags, and so do others with the experience to know.

The Dave Proctor group has chosen to take a slightly shorter course, leaving out one province (tiny Prince Edward Island), for instance. Please don’t play Al (and Canada!) so cheap.

Screenshot from Dave Proctor's Outrunrare.com website

Screenshot from Dave Proctor’s Outrunrare.com website

When you post records of the run, don’t delete them! We shouldn’t have to take a screenshot to save your records, that is your job. For that matter, since representatives of the run are posting to the LetsRun message board, maybe you could post a simple log while you’re there? Your credibility depends on these records being easy to find, and even a tech Neanderthal like me can read these (I became addicted during the infamous Robert Young cheating scandal in 2016).

A log should at least include daily miles, start & finish, running time & stopped time, witnesses, and as much detail as you can manage.

Instead we’re given GPS figures that show a pace much faster than Al’s, done start to finish without a break. It’s unbelievable. Following this, a huge rest is taken at night, as if the clock has stopped! But it’s ticking continuously for 10 weeks, which is why you have to grind it out for long, slow days. Six to eight hours of break at night is the rule.

So far we’ve seen more short days than Al had the whole way, and now we’re told long days are in order (longer than ANY of Al’s!).

Even in 1991 we had cell phones, which are handy for press conferences. Yet Calgary has come and gone without much notice, a big missed opportunity for the charity. Maybe the charity could post a log? Who is the contact person and who are the crew? Are they all in Witness Protection?

These are some, but by no means all, of the red flags I see so far.

Concluding Editor’s Note: Riley sent this column to us earlier in the week but we didn’t get the chance to publish it until today. Since he sent it to us, he reports that “we have started a dialogue on the message board, and the opposing ‘camps’ have started to put all of their cards on the table. Public welcome to participate!”

We will state again what we stated at the beginning once again – this article does not reflect LetsRun.com’s views and represents the views of Mr Riley only.


More: Talk about the record attempt on the LetsRun.com Messageboard: Cross-Canada record attempt, 7200K – 66 days. Current record by Al Howie 72 days.


Like LetsRun.com on Facebook!