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Audio version

Daymond Ling
Offering students expertise and a helping hand.
p. 39

Roger Conzelmann
A family tradition of supporting the skilled trades.
p. 41


Kelly Mathews’ hike took her across the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Kelly Mathews

Blazing a new trail with a record-setting hike

SEVEN MARATHONS. Seven straight days. Alone. Three hundred kilometres of uneven forest terrain. An exercise in torture? It’s just a walk in the park for Kelly Mathews.

Kelly, Seneca’s Manager, Community Recreation, Camps & Director of the Outdoor Education Centre, has the outdoors in her blood. Farley Mowat is her great uncle after all. Growing up in British Columbia and Ontario, family trips weren’t to Disneyland, but to camp sites.

Over seven straight days this summer, Kelly hiked the entire 300 kilometres of the Oak Ridges Moraine (the equivalence of walking a marathon a day). Her odyssey began in Caledon, Ontario and concluded in Trent Hills, just east of Peterborough. Her 42 kilometre-per-day pace, made Kelly’s trek the fastest crossing of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail ever.

In the process she raised money for the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail Association and the campaign for Seneca’s King Campus expansion. Even before taking her first step, Kelly blew past her $5,000 goal and ended up receiving more than $9,000 in pledges from friends and colleagues—some of whom jokingly said they paid to see her suffer through this grueling task. For Kelly, the idea came naturally.

“I’ve always wanted to do an end-to-end hike of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail,” she says. “I have been blessed to have this trail run through my work and my home. And it gave me the opportunity to generate awareness for King Campus and the trail, both of which I love.”

Such an undertaking required intricate planning, and no detail was overlooked. Kelly’s route, menu, sleeping accommodations and Twitter strategy were mapped. She trained for almost a year, and the trip was recorded with a GoPro camera. A donor provided a satellite phone for emergencies, and many others offered their backyards and their couches for Kelly to crash on mid-route. But for her, it had to be an organic experience. No music even.

“Everyone was so nice,” says Kelly. “But I wanted to do this on my own, and I am glad I was able to see it through.”

An author (she penned a comprehensive retrospective on the building of Eaton Hall), Kelly chronicled her journey each night and sent photos and video from the trail. While documenting and donating to great causes were big parts of this experience, there was much more to it for Kelly. The preparation, and the walk itself, have been monumental tests of her resolve, which she welcomed.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “I’ve learned I am mentally tougher than I give myself credit.”

Follow Kelly and see the results of her hike @allthingsregal #ORMT300

RED 2016 35