Weather-watchers might recall Sunday, Nov. 6 as one of the wettest, most rainy days of the year, but for Sachin Latti it was a good day to train for future fundraising runs even more demanding, for a cause very close to his heart.
The South Surrey resident was absolutely soaked and probably semi-frozen during his 90-kilometre run from Chilliwack to New Westminster, in a day-long “Run to Remember” for PTSD- and mental health-related initiatives.
This year his goal is to raise $30,000 for Honour House, a “home away from home” and place of recovery for armed forces veterans, emergency services personnel and their families.
Next year, his “Sach-in-Motion” plans are to run from Honour House’s ranch in Ashcroft to the organization’s home base in New West – a 345-kilometre, three-day trek on two feet.
While ambitious, his 2023 ultramarathon plans are nothing compared to the cross-Canada run Latti aims to complete three years from now.
“I’m new to running, started a year and a half ago, and this is all part of my training to break the record for the fastest run across Canada, in 2025,” Latti said.
“I want to galvanize the country around mental health, like what Terry Fox did for cancer. That’s my goal.”
A year ago, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employee ran to raise $20,900 to help veterans suffering from mental health issues, and later presented a cheque at the Royal Canadian Legion’s B.C. headquarters in Cloverdale.
Since March he trained by doing ultramaratons of various lengths around B.C. and Alberta, leading up to the soggy day of Nov. 6.
“It was an amazing day, with everyone pulling together, the volunteers, everyone,” Latti recalled.
“But the weather was unanticipated, in the sense of how many changes of clothes I needed,” he added with a laugh. “It took me a lot longer than expected, and had planned to be there sooner, but I ended up running about 90 kilometres in close to 14 hours. The weather was an issue, but I was super happy with all the day went, overall, and it’s good training for next year.”
Latti’s first year of running was about “keeping my mental health intact” following a series of life events.
“I was dealing with my own mental health issues – going through a divorce, work issues, financial issues,” he recalled. “I was hitting a pretty dark spot mentally, but running helped.”
Originally from Texas, the former wrestler and current bodybuilder soon found he was “decent” at running, and turned to fundraising.
“With that, I came to realize that this is something I want to do forever, because it changed my entire perspective on life,” Latti said. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 18 years, a great career, but you know, I didn’t feel like doing that anymore and hit a wall. I want to serve the community with the skill sets that I have, and also maximize my skill sets, and want to serve the community that way.”
He still works with the CBSA, “but kind of checked out,” said Latti, who comes from a family of war veterans and police officers.
“In law enforcement, I was helping the community but it’s a different thing,” he added. “I just want to do this now, and this year I scheduled a bunch of ultra-marathons. Doing that all year, it improved my understanding of running and nutrition and how nuanced it is compared to what I thought about it before. It’s been a learning process, and I found out that I’ve trained too much, so we’ll learn from that and do better next year, for a longer run.”
Money raised during this year’s “Run to Remember” will go toward construction of Honour House’s ranch in Ashcroft following COVID-caused project delays on the 120-acre site, overlooking the South Thompson River.
For his planned fastest run across Canada in 2025, Latti will have to break Dave Proctor’s record of 67 days, 10 hours. The Albertan set the mark last July, and someone else might break Proctor’s record in the next couple of years, before Latti gets running for real.
“This is my way of making a difference in the world, while at the same time, becoming a better version of myself,” Latti says.