Former Islander Mitchell Mallette running his age for charity

Mitchell Mallette and his partner Kristen Sheffield pose by Bridal Veil Falls during a visit to the Island.

NORTH BAY— Mitchell Mallette, formerly of Mindemoya, was quite the runner in his high school days on Manitoulin and now the 30-year-old has gone back to his future in order to to pay it forward, to mix up a fine collection of metaphors. Mr. Mallette has announced that come this August, he and his partner Kristen Sheffield will be running their ages (in miles no less) to raise money for charity—Mr. Mallette will be running 30 miles while Ms. Sheffield will be tackling a slightly more youthful 25.

The two charities the couple are supporting are Pencils of Promise, whose mission is to create a community around education by building schools for children in need and Pie Bird Animal Sanctuary in Nipissing, which rescues farm animals from abuse. The couple describes the charities as a great mix of their passions.

Mr. Mallette said that he has been researching and exploring “plant-based” diet for a couple of years and has seen a great deal of positive impact in his own health, life and well-being as well as his family from eschewing meat products.

In addition to Mr. Mallette’s passion for protecting animals and living a plant-based lifestyle, he also has a passion for education. Of Pencils of Promise, “they believe that every child has a right to basic education and so do we!” said Ms. Sheffield in the Indiegogo crowdsourcing preamble.

Mr. Mallette discovered Pencils of Promise last year in a book he picked up in a bookstore while travelling to Brazil for the World Cup with his father. “It was about this individual who quit law school to travel the world and who noticed that when he was in West Africa the children there were always asking him for pencils. They just wanted to be able to learn, to have an education,” he said. “That book inspired me.” It launched him on a new path in his journey of personal growth.

“A lot of us get caught up in our own lives,” he said. “I want to actually try to help people. Anyone born in North America has won the lottery automatically.”

“I feel as though we need to make something crystal clear,” said Ms. Sheffield. “We didn’t decide to run for charity because we are naturally gifted gazelles who can run forever without tiring. No, no my dear friends, quite the opposite case in fact. I am anything but an endurance athlete. Give me sprints, give me intervals, give me anything anaerobic and I’m your girl. Give me more than 5k and I’m toast. As for Mitch, while he was a well-decorated cross-country runner in high school, he admitted the other day that he had never run more than seven miles at a time, and that seven miles was run with me.”

“It’s true,” admitted Mr. Mallette. “I got out of running quite a few years ago.” But he remains undaunted and committed. “I have started a training schedule,” he said. “I am running two preparatory marathons before my birthday.” A marathon falls a half-dozen miles short of his planned birthday run, but Mr. Mallette said he hoped the preparatory work would place him in good position.

After that run, Mr. Mallette said that he hopes to continue running his age every year thereafter. “The next year I want to run 31 miles on Manitoulin,” he said.

Mr. Mallette and his partner’s crowdsourcing website can be found at Indiegogo.com by searching for Running Your Age. As of press time Monday, the couple had raised $2,075 of their $3,000 goal with 41 days left in the campaign.