Monthly Archives: July 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: Jerry Hughes and Yana Hempler accomplish long distance charity run

VICTORIA, BC: On Sunday, July 26, 2015, Jerry Hughes and his coach Yana Hempler finished their run from Duncan to Mile 0 in order to raise funds and awareness for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Starting at just after 4am, they made the, what turned out to be 63km, journey in under 6 hours.

Above: “Dreams are made possible if you try.” Mile 0, Victoria BC. Photo by Ian Simpson.

This charity is very close to Jerry’s heart because Gardner’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, took his father’s life at 33. It turns out that Jerry and his siblings also have the same disorder. However, it was detected early enough that Jerry has been able to overcome it.

Hughes and his siblings also received a dream vacation through the Help Fill a Dream Foundation and he is on a mission to give back. He wants to inspire hope within kids who are suffering from illnesses.

They both agreed that although it was a challenging run, especially towards the end, when they realized that it will end up being longer than 60km, they thought of all the kids who are suffering from rare diseases, disorders and who have no other choice but to be in pain.

“Of course my legs were very sore after the 46km mark, but I wasn’t going to stop because quitting is never an option,” said Yana Hempler.

When Jerry Hughes posted their Garmin data online, he said, “This is what a 63km run looks like. It was hard but nothing compared to what some kids deal with on a daily basis. It was an amazing honour to be able to help fulfil dreams.”

“What this run did for us mentally was huge. About five years ago, I couldn’t even run a block without getting injured or winded, let alone over 60k and over the Malahat. Over the past five years, I’ve put in a lot of time into research on how to train the body properly in order to be able to do these things without getting injured. I’m honoured to be a part of Jerry’s journey because he has shown tremendous improvement in a relatively short period of time. It was a great confidence builder for both of us, especially because it was the longest we’ve ever ran at once,” said Hempler.

As of today, this journey has raised $750 for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Even though the run is completed, the fundraising page on Canada Helps will remain open for a few more weeks, in order to hopefully help them achieve their $2500 goal.

“Anything is possible if you believe in yourself and do not to let anyone get you down. Don’t let your diseases define you. Instead, have them make you better and stronger and show the world that you can be like everyone else,” said Hughes.

RACE Recap: Summerfast 10k July 18, 2015 and Top 10 in Timex BC Race Series

After the Victoria Goddess Run 10k, I originally planned to hold off on doing anymore road races until the fall. I realized that I have been racing almost every 2 weeks since January and have done every distance from 800m to marathon in a span of about 5 months. That’s a lot of racing and I knew that I was due for a break in order to recover from the hard efforts. Then, I could spend some time rebuilding for the next season.

However, leading up to the Summerfast 10k, I saw that I had a good chance to place Top 10 in the 2015 Timex BC Road Running Series. According to my calculations at the time, I believed I only needed to run the distance in 42:30 or faster.  For me to run 42:30 or faster in a 10k is not a problem, so I decided to race it. A good friend of mine told me that it’s an amazing accomplishment to place Top 10 in the Timex BC Road Running Series, so I could not pass up the chance.

So, over to Vancouver I went!

I stayed at the YWCA Hotel because I support the hotel’s involvement in making the community a better place. It’s great because it’s affordable, safe and it generates revenue that sustains YWCA Metro Vancouver’s community service work. YWCA Metro Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of services for women and their families and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and child care to housing, health and fitness and employment services, YWCA Metro Vancouver touches lives throughout the community.

I will always do my best to support any entity that focuses on improving people’s lives and making a difference.

On race morning, I was up very early and ready to go! I had delicious pasta with one of my friends the night before. Ate a banana for breakfast. My Garmin was fully charged. It felt great to not be under pressure at the start of the race. I knew it was a very turny course and the temperature was definitely rising.

I was just excited to be racing in Vancouver. Great way to spend the weekend.

So, we all took off quite fast. It was pretty crowded at the start so I was very careful not to step on anyone’s heels. I was trying to take it slow at the beginning but every time I looked at my Garmin, I was doing sub 4 min kms. It felt good too.

When we got to the turnaround near the start of the race, I almost tripped because I was trying to keep the same pace without stepping on anyone’s heels or elbowing someone. I know that sometimes accidents happen but I don’t want to be “that runner”, especially when I’m out there with the Muscle MLK team.


By the time we got to the Seawall, it definitely thinned out and I was no longer worried about being too close to other runners. In fact, a few km later, I was hoping to find some people to run with because the weather was getting warmer and I was looking forward to finishing. I slowed down a little bit, but nothing too unusual. I definitely enjoyed the views!!

By the time I got to the 7km mark, I knew that I was on target to be under 42:30 even if I ran the last 3k a lot slower. So, I caught up to a couple of people and decided to stay with them until the finish.


This time, I decided not to sprint with 200m to go because I was going to be finishing in and around 42 minutes. Most importantly though, I was still having fun. I wasn’t struggling and I wasn’t disappointed that it wasn’t my fastest 10k. I finished in 41:58, which is good enough for 6/29 in my age group and 14/166 out of all the women. I definitely want to do this again next year.

The volunteers, course marshals, and post-race food/beverages were excellent!!! Thanks to everyone involved for a great event!! Loved all the good vibes and high-fives. 🙂

Then, it was time for the much-awaited Timex Race Series Awards. (See the top 10 ladies in the Timex Race Series below)


I knew that because I achieved my target, I would be finishing in the Top 10 for the series. It was amazing to find out that I finished in 8th place overall.  I was very happy with the final outcome.

5 Reasons to Sign Up for a MEC Victoria Run Clinic

When I was asked to coach the MEC Victoria Half Marathon run clinic a few months ago, I was thrilled and honoured. For over 40 years, MEC has been the leading Canadian retailer for all things outdoors. Over the past four decades, MEC has grown to over 4 million members and has expanded all across Canada.

I’ve always dreamed of leading a run clinic and that is definitely one of my dreams coming true. Leading runners to personal bests and helping them get stronger and faster is my passion. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to live it.


So, why should you sign up for a MEC run clinic?

1. It’s very cost effective. Doing a 12-16 week running program with MEC will cost you anywhere between $40-$50. This is definitely great value for your money.

2. Your clinic registration includes an MEC race entry. When you register for the clinic, you also get a FREE race entry into an MEC race. This means that the deal is even better! You get a clinic and a race for under $50. Given that some race entries are upwards of $50, this is a steal.

3. Meet awesome people and make new friends. Who doesn’t want more running friends and the genuine camaraderie that comes with setting goals and achieving them?

4. Passionate and knowledgeable run leaders. The run leaders at MEC have a lot of experience with the distances they’re preparing people for and they have a genuine passion for the sport.

5. Keep yourself motivated while having fun. It’s always easier to get your run done when you are surrounded by people who want you to succeed and who support each other. You will have a great training plan to follow so that you stay on track up until race day.

Happy Running!





MEDIA RELEASE: Running 60k to Help Fill A Dream

VICTORIA, BC- On July 26, Jerry Hughes and his coach, Yana Hempler, will be running 60k from Duncan to Victoria in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream. Hughes and his siblings were born with a rare disease called Gardner’s Syndrome. This disease took his father’s life at an early age of 33, since it was not diagnosed early enough. Gardner’s Syndrome is both a rare and aggressive genetic disorder, which means that if it’s not detected early, the prognosis is not good, with the average life expectancy of 35-45 years old.


Jerry’s fitness journey began about 2 years ago. He started with bootcamp, then went on to Fight 4 The Cause, which transformed his life both physically and mentally.

Shortly thereafter, he entered the TC 10k and then Oak Bay half, completing the two distances in 44:43 and 1:40:43, respectively. “These are not typical times for first time 10k and half marathon runners,” said coach Yana Hempler.

“At that point, I realized that I had some natural ability as a runner, but needed help, so I got Yana Hempler to coach me. I have done a series of runs since then and I keep on getting better. Now, I’m doing marathons and ultra marathons as well as many other races. I’m doing it to show my sons, who have a 50% chance of getting my disease, to not let the illness define their life but that they should carve their own path regardless of the circumstances,” said Hughes.

Jerry Hughes is using running to work for a charity that’s close to his heart, Help Fill a Dream Foundation. His disorder is so rare that he and his siblings went on a dream vacation to Disney Land when they were teenagers.

“I’m extremely proud of the progress that Jerry has made since we started working together. He improved his TC 10k time by 5 minutes and took over 12 minutes off his half marathon time. I’m excited to be a part of his journey because I know that he is going places. He never gives up until he achieves his goals, never makes excuses and that’s admirable,” said Yana Hempler when asked about what it’s like to work with Hughes.

Jerry’s goal is to inspire other people who have rare disorders to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.”The mind is a powerful tool and you can do anything you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Carve your own path and you will inspire the world,” stated Jerry Hughes. 


Those interested in making a donation or sponsoring the run can do so through Canada Helps or contact Jerry Hughes at jhugh30 (at) hotmail (dot) com

For media relations contact Yana Hempler at yhempler (at) gmail (dot) com


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