By: Winona Young, Staff Writer
Imre Mihalik is an SFU Beedie student who is running, paddling, cycling, and more to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation. Mihalik hopes to raise $3,500 for his campaign, #EPICIMPACTYEAR, wherein he will participate in at least eight local athletic events.
In an interview with The Peak, Mihalik explained that with #EPICIMPACTYEAR, he hopes that everyone creates a personal commitment to pursuing a challenge in their life. “I just wanna see people fight some challenges and strive to overcome them and to make this year their healthiest yet,” he said.
Mihalik is acquainted with cancer in his personal life. He noted that while he is lucky that his immediate family does not suffer from the disease, his surrounding loved ones were not so lucky.
“The peak thing for me though [is] that my [high school best friend’s] dad passed from cancer,” he said. Shortly after he passed, the family of his friend’s father set up a campaign for “The Ride to Conquer Cancer,” and this August, Mihalik decided he wanted to show his support by participating. However, participation in the event required Mihalik to fundraise money as well. Undeterred, Mihalik decided not only to join, but also, not to let his athletic events stop there.
“I decided, ‘Hey, I also wanna do [a] marathon and there’s this long paddle board race I wanna do in the summer,’” he explained. “I just kind of decided to compile everything.” Mihalik chose the BC Cancer Foundation as his charity of choice, and thus, #EPICIMPACTYEAR was born.
The plan in action
So far, Mihalik has completed three of his eight athletic events, and he made sure to choose his events carefully. “I feel it’s a little bit catered to athletics I’ve always admired,” he told The Peak.
In the preparation for his events so far, Mihalik has relied on previous skill from his hobbies as well as formal training. Given the variety of sports Mihalik will be tackling over his campaign, he talked about the importance of focusing whichever event is coming up and prioritizing it.
“A lot of things aren’t transitional obviously,” Mihalik said, “[like] having a marathon then doing like a paddle boarding event, but in a lot of ways, you’re still able to have that level of push that you can transition.”
The Peak interviewed Mihalik on May 11, the day before his third event of the year, Board the Fjord. Mihalik was fresh from the BMO Vancouver Marathon that he participated in on May 6. The Peak asked how he was feeling about the next day’s race.
“Yeah I’m feeling alright,” he laughed. “I mean, this week has definitely been a bit of recovery after [the BMO Vancouver Marathon] for me, so I wanna make [sic] something left in the tank for tomorrow.”
While Mihalik races for BC Cancer Foundation, he also races for his personal fitness. Mihalik told The Peak that he hopes to better his time by 10 minutes or so, and also hopes to beat a few colleagues.
“I’d be really stoked if I caught up to a guy I work with called Tim because he’s quite a good racer,” he laughed.
“And for me, I’m running and I’m waking up and this is about my fundraiser and I have to get moving because I need to raise money,” he added.
The lessons learned
With five months left until Mihalik’s last event, Mihalik reflects on both the lowlights and highlights of the past few months. While a lowlight had been exam season for Mihalik, given that he had to balance school, and work, and this campaign, he did note that one of the highlights has been the support he’s received so far.
“I’ve definitely gotten support from friends [. . .] I’ll always post a recap, or long run, or training session on my Instagram story, [and] some friends have been commenting [on] that since January,” he said. “It’s definitely helped me push onwards since this halfway point now.”
Mihalik has also seen a fair share of surprises over the past few months. Not only has he been amazed to see others’ ability to further push and challenge themselves physically, but also at himself.
“I’ve surprised myself I’d say in the way you’re able to find a sixth gear,” – Imre Mihalik
Mihalik added that while he was confident with his athletic abilities before, with #EPICIMPACTYEAR, it gave him an extra boost that he never had before.
Mihalik advised his future self that he doesn’t see #EPICIMPACTYEAR as the “be all, end all for training.” Mihalik hopes to keep this level of athleticism up for the rest of the year and to finish the year off having hosted events around the community to garner support.
“Thank you to everyone, especially to SFU, who’s been supportive lately for me, reaching out and taking interest in what I’ve been doing — that’s been really special to me [. . .] and just all the friends and family who’ve been amazing to me the last little bit. A lot to look forward to and be thankful about,” he said.
You can support Imre Mihalik’s campaign #EPICIMPACTYEAR for BC Cancer Foundation by donating to his cause.