TRU Men’s soccer run to support ex-UVIC soccer captain

the men’s team ran over 300 kilometres to support McKenzie Rigg and his viral fundraiser

Josh Banton and Jackson Gardner ran a full marathon at TCC on Saturday to show support for McKenzie Rigg. (Submitted)

It was a special day at TCC this past Saturday as both the Wolfpack men’s and women’s soccer teams took part in the “Vikes Kick Cancer” campaign to support former UVIC men’s soccer captain McKenzie Rigg with his recent brain cancer diagnosis. 

The campaign included UVIC sports teams to run 270 kilometres collectively over the course of the three days. The 270 kilometres is made to represent the 27 Canadians who are diagnosed with brain cancer every day. 

Their original fundraising goal was $500; after quickly reaching that, they pushed it to $27,000. Again, they quickly met their goal and recently have surpassed over $50,000 in fundraising.

UVIC teams encouraged others around the province to run for Rigg and asked people to run, bike, or walk 5 kilometres in his name. 

The Wolfpack soccer teams took no exception on Saturday and players took the time to run various distances around the TCC indoor track. 

“We’ve been speaking about this for a while now and concluded that if someone on our team had to go through what Mackenzie is going through, we’d hope to have the support of everyone around us, regardless if they’re competitors or not,” Jackson Gardener, the goalkeeper for TRU men’s soccer said. “We wanted to get everyone involved to raise as much awareness and figured by running a big number like we did it would lead by example.”

Both men’s and women’s Wolfpack teams went above and beyond as collectively they ran over 270 kilometres at TCC. 

Many ran distances upwards of 10 kilometres. Remarkably, Jackson Gardener and Josh Banton stood out after running a full 42 kilometres marathon to show their support. 

“I wanted to go as far as possible and do as much as I could. I’m not the richest man so donating thousands was unrealistic, but this is something I’m more than capable of doing so I did it without hesitation,” Josh Banton, member of men’s soccer admitted. “I can see why people train for months to prepare themselves. I had so many moments throughout the duration of the run where I could feel my body tightening up or aching, but having a running buddy like Jackson who also did a marathon helped me out massively. I’m feeling the aftermath of it all now, but it was worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

This is an inspiring story that shows the true community of sport. What happened Saturday is a golden example of respect from athletes supporting athletes whether they are teammates or competitors. 

Student-athletes share similar experiences and obstacles and the fact that this event was such a success across the whole province is a testament to the fact that they have each other’s back.