Senior runs for 730 days straight during COVID-19 pandemic

A 70-year-old who's gone out for a run for 730 consecutive days and counting shares why she's been propelled to pound the pavement since the beginning of the pandemic.

By Adrian Ghobrial

A 70-year-old Toronto woman just marked her 730th day straight running, an activity she took up at the beginning of the pandemic and hasn’t stopped since.

CityNews first spoke with Mary Lollar last year on the anniversary of her first run. She started hitting the pavement the day after the world shut down.

“I came home from work and I thought I can’t go to the gym, I’ve got to do something, so I put on my running shoes and I ran down Parkside and just started running,” said Lollar.

The following day, she ran again, and again the next day until she found herself still running two years later.

What began as a mental and physical exercise to help her cope through the early days of the pandemic, became something more.

Lollar, who works in administration at Toronto General Hospital’s respiratory department, began running for those arriving at hospitals with COVID. Her route to and from work began to increase as she started running 10 to 14 kilometers each day.

“I think to myself, I can do this and there’s millions that can’t,” said Lollar. “The hardest thing is getting up every morning and thinking, no one will know if I don’t do this but then I’d know. The days I don’t feel like doing it are the days I end up going 13-14 kilometres.”

Mary has kept a photo journal of her runs, taking photos with hospital colleagues as they keep count of each milestone. “My husband thinks I’m crazy, I started marking down the days to the two year [mark].”

CityNews was there last Thursday, as Mary arrived at Toronto General, completing her 730th consecutive day of running.

Her boss, Dr. John Granton, was on hand to congratulate her.

“This is a fantastic accomplishment,” said Dr. Granton. “I mean Mary has been amazing throughout all of this and this is just a reflection of her commitment to the organization and to the care of people.”

“We knew Mary so we knew she was committed to it. She just kept on going so we’re waiting for her to pick up ping pong or something when she stops running.”

At the recommendation of some of her colleagues, Lollar has a TikTok account where she keeps her 130 followers updated on her progress.

Lollar will soon need a new route. She’s retiring next week on March 31.

“The running is really a great release, its great for your mind, not just your body but your mind, especially right now.”




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