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Halifax man running across Canada for heart and stroke awareness

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Neither snow nor rain nor crummy Cape Breton weather could stop Ryan Keeping from chasing his dream of running across Canada on Friday.

"My dream is to run across Canada, 75 kilometers a day,” the Halifax native said in one of his many Instagram videos documenting his coast-to-coast journey.

After completing the distance across Newfoundland, the 26-year-old got off the Newfoundland Ferry Friday morning and began Day 12 of his journey on foot to British Columbia.

"I just love pushing my limits. I always have,” Keeping said.

Keeping's goal is to run nearly two marathons a day for 99 days to raise at least $100,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and to inspire his nearly 75,000 Instagram followers.

"Just also I think when people hear 75 kilometers a day or a big number like that, it makes them realize, 'OK, anything's possible right?’ If you really, really chase down your dream and you put everything into it - it's possible,” Keeping said.

The ultra-runner’s father - who is on the ground supporting his son every step of the way - lives with a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.A big reason Keeping is running is to do it for Dad.

"I went and did the genetic testing myself, and found out that I had the gene,” Scott Keeping said. "I have absolutely no doubt in his (Ryan’s) capabilities. When things get hard, he realizes that all of Canada is behind him."

In communities everywhere, strangers join Keeping for a few kilometres — and learn about pushing their own limits.

"I didn't expect to do 25K today”, said Logan Latulippe of Glace Bay, N.S., who met Keeping at the ferry terminal in North Sydney. "For me, it was my longest run I've done — and he's in his van for another 20 or 30 minutes, and he's just going to get right back up and start again."

Like many who try to run coast-to-coast, Terry Fox is Keeping's hero.

Ryan Keeping is running across Canada to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. (Source: Facebook/Ryan Keeping)

While Fox’s Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer, Keeping is grateful he's been able to touch people's lives already with his own cause.

"I'm getting messages from people saying, 'Man, my grandfather died of a stroke or a heart attack. You're inspiring me,’” Keeping said. “And like, 'He's with you when you're doing this.' It's just really cool to see the community come behind it."

The young Maritimer's goal is to finish in Victoria, B.C., on July 7.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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