Evan Penny was a happy, healthy child who, at the age of four, suffered a tragic brain injury that left him a non-verbal quadriplegic as a result of mitochondrial disease (a.k.a. ‘Mito’). After Evan’s diagnosis, his parents Sarah and Blaine helped start the MitoCanada charity to raise awareness for the disease, provide support for families and fund research.
Mitochondria are the ‘batteries of our cells’ and are responsible for producing more than 90% of the energy we need to sustain life by converting the food we eat and oxygen we breathe into energy. For people who have Mito, it’s as though they have low battery power, which affects the bodies most energy intensive systems.
On October 21, 2018 Blaine Penny, co-founder and CEO of the MitoCanada Foundation, successfully completed a new Guinness World Record (GWR) for ‘The Fastest Marathon Dressed as a Battery’ at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Penny stated the main goal of the GWR run was to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease by helping people make the connection that our mitochondria are the batteries that power our cells and that people with Mito are operating on low battery power.
Penny ran under the slogan Powering a Cure for Mitochondrial Disease. He was required to complete the marathon under 4 hours to achieve the record. Penny crossed the line in 2:59.57 crushing the standard by over an hour. When asked how the race went, he stated “The costume was very bulky and restrictive. There was a lot of wind gusts that impeded my stride and felt like someone was grabbing me by the legs and trying to trip me up!”
Penny’s motivation and inspiration for the run was stronger than the wind and restrictive nature of the costume, powering his way through the 42.2 km marathon course passing many runners along the way. “During the race I thought about my son Evan and other families I know suffering from mitochondrial disease and kept thinking about their strength to keep my batteries fully charged”.
MitoCanada raised over $13K through the charity challenge at the race with approximately 40 runners participating. This is now the 11th Guinness World Record MitoCanada has achieved while raising awareness for mitochondrial disease.
For more information or to make a donation, visit mitocanada.org.