In the first edition of a series based on Calgary Marathon legends and their pursuit of becoming Abbott World Marathon Majors 6-star finishers, we catch up with MitoCanada Co-founder Blaine Penny.
Buttoned up collared shirt and slacks by day; MitoCanada running singlet by ‘night’. Blaine Penny would be considered a real life superhero by most peoples’ standards. While raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity he co-founded, running impressive high performance speeds and distances, Blaine somehow still finds time to ‘do it all’, including volunteering for Run Calgary and most recently becoming a certified run coach for We Run The World Coaching.
“Running is part of my daily routine. I plan it into my daily schedule just like I do with my work and family commitments,” Blaine told us recently when we caught up with him regarding his Abbott World Marathon 6-star journey, adding, “I try to run every day if possible, for both fitness and the joy of being outside and moving.”
The Motivation Behind MitoCanada
Blaine has used his love of movement to fundraise $500,000 through the Servus Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge. “I am a co-founder of the charity MitoCanada that was formed in 2009 shortly after my son was diagnosed with a rare form of mitochondrial disease,” explains Blaine. Blaine’s 19-year-old son Evan is wheelchair bound and goes along for some of the adventures fueling Blaine’s passion to run for those who can’t. He is also dad to 17-year-old Julia, husband to Sarah and CEO of Lumiio, a global digital health company that builds patient registries and real-world data programs to accelerate therapeutic development and access to improve patient outcomes.
The Road to Becoming an Abbott WMM 6-Star Finisher
Blaine is chasing the elusive 6-start World Marathon Major achievement. Having run 5 of the majors a total of 11 times, he is waiting to hear if he got into Tokyo. The most standout moment in his quest? Running the 2018 Boston Marathon with his wife. “I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time back in 2009, which was very early in my running journey, my second marathon. Sarah was not a runner at the time, but I remember thinking to myself how cool it would be to one day run this iconic race together.”
Sarah Penny started running in 2010 with no desire to ever run a marathon. As her fitness grew, so did Sarah’s love of running and what she thought she was capable of. After 8 years of training and several marathons under her belt, she qualified for Boston. Blaine reminisces, “we ran it together in the epic hurricane winds and torrential rain of 2018, which was a magical experience.”
A standout moment of which there are many, is Blaine’s 40+ marathons and 30+ ultramarathons. He has a marathon PB of 2:27 at the 2022 London Marathon and finished 2nd in the Abbott World Age Group Championship. Blaine is a 5 time Guinness World Record holder and has raised over $500,000 through the Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge since its inception in 2012. One of the most notable Guinness World Records was achieved in 2017 when a team of 112 runners completed the marathon linked together.
What’s on the Horizon for Blaine Penny
Blaine won’t stop there. “I have a list of other places and events I’d like to run, including Comrades, the most historic ultramarathon in South Africa,” explains Blaine. While his international medals are impressive, Blaine also sat on the board of directors for Run Calgary from 2016 to 2019. “I enjoyed the opportunity to help guide the strategic direction and engage with the Calgary running community through an organizational lens,” says Blaine. He adds “Run Calgary has played a significant role in my running journey, particularly around the community aspect.” Blaine currently sits on the board of CALTAF (Calgary Track and Field), acts as an advisor for TransRockies Group and is training for another Guinness World Record with some pals, for the fastest linked-together half marathon.
Join Blaine Penny and thousands of runners on their own journey at this year’s 60th Calgary Marathon and register today!