On the weekend of October 30th, the New York City Marathon would have been held if not for its cancellation due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of people decided to compete in the virtual event in its stead, including New Jersey wellness and fitness expert Devon Lévesque. Except, Lévesque didn’t run the grueling 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) distance, he bear crawled it instead.
You read that right. Lévesque spent 20 hours and 48 minutes on all fours crawling a marathon in rainy conditions in order to raise money for the FitOps Foundation — a nonprofit founded in 2016 by Matt Hesse that helps veterans build fitness careers as personal trainers, coaches, etc. His goal of $200,000 would help 66 veterans through the foundation’s programming.
Additionally, the 28-year-old Lévesque’s test of endurance was intended to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. He dedicated this event to his father, who passed from suicide when Lévesque was 16 years old.
Lévesque started his bear crawl journey in Brooklyn on Friday, October 30th and crawled his way to completion in Central Park on the afternoon of Halloween.
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Training For A Bear Crawl Marathon
Lévesque’s preparation for this event was a year-long endeavor that involved four to six hours of training and recovery every day. In an interview with People, he said:
“I have been putting my body in an uncomfortable state for a long period of time so it adjusts to where I eventually become comfortable. Just like people running a marathon for the first time, you have to put your body through uncomfortable states to familiarize it. I have had to do the same with bear crawling.”
He wasn’t a stranger to the bear crawl by any means. Back in July, he crawled a world record 22,000 yards (12.5 miles) — less than half of what he completed in the marathon. You can see highlights of his world record feat that took over 10 hours to complete in the video below courtesy of his YouTube channel:
[Related: 4 Research-Backed Ways Lifting Weights And Eating Right Improve Mental Health]
After completing the nearly day-long fitness challenge, with a large group of supporters around him and a saxophone underscore provided by a Central Park street performer, Lévesque gave a speech reiterating the goal of raising awareness for mental health and the fundraising goal for FitOps as “the perfect recipe” for the event.
Feature image via FitOps Foundation’s Instagram page: @fitops_foundation