Former Ward 11 councillor and mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas is running again.
But not for office.
He’s eschewing the campaign trail for the Pacific Crest Trail, with a planned run of 100 days to raise $50,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area.
“I’m really excited as well that this is probably going to make running for mayor probably the second craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Farkas.
He said that he was happy to use some of the fame and notoriety he gained as a city politician to help raise funds for BBBS. What wasn’t on the table though was translating his mayoral campaign into a lobbyist position. Or finding some way to personally profit off the election, he said.
“I knew for me that I needed to find the right fit to be able to continue to make the best impact possible and very, very privileged to be partner with Ken the whole team here and Big Brothers and Big Sisters,”he said.
Regular updates on the journey over next four months
Farkas’ run will be updated throughout the next four months on the BBBS website, and their social media channels.
Upon his return, Ken Lima-Coelho, President and CEO of BBBS, said that they would be connecting some of their mentors with Farkas.
“What a great match event for mentors and mentees to come and meet Jeromy, look through that amazing backpack, learn about what he did what he was up to, and set their sights on a goal,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s all that far fetched that a lot of the young people we serve have ambitious goals. Here’s a living manifestation of somebody doing something for good, and that’s a great lesson for our matches and mentors, and kids to learn as well.”
Donations can be made directly on the BBBS website. The run has already raised $10,000 of its $50,000 goal said Lima-Coelho.
BBBS will be using the dollars raised directly for their operating fund. Lima-Coelho said that the core programs that BBBS are running right now have been successful, and that the financial support will continue to keep them successful.
“The children and youth that we support and work with are the ultimate beneficiaries of this kind of support. Our programs have developmental impact and empower youth to realize their full potential,” he said.
Taking ‘take a hike’ to the next level
The journey of aproximatly 4,300 kilometres will take the former candidate from the Mexican desert to the shaded glens of the Pacific Northwest. All the while running along combined altitude changes that makes the feat the equivalent of climbing the height of Mount Everest 17 times over. The trip will have him walking and running between 30 to 50 kilometres per day.
“My good friend, Mayor Nenshi, said after many years—he was telling me to take a hike, and I figured that I was going to take it literally,” laughed Farkas.
And on the possibility of getting to know other local politicians along the way, he said that he was looking forward to meeting the Mayor of Idyllwild, California.
He also plans on taking only what he can carry in his backpack. Inside will be the clothes he will wear, his tent, cooking supplies, and the food he’ll take with him. He plans on resupplying at the various small towns along the way.
Farkas said that what many Calgarians don’t know about him is that he is an experienced outdoorsman. He’s also a certified wilderness first responder, and regular participant in the Calgary Ironman Triathlon.
“It’s probably the toughest thing that I’ve ever done. It’s going to be grueling. It’s going to be physically demanding,” he said.
Personal meaning for Farkas
Farkas is dedicating the run to the memory of his grandmother who passed away during the pandemic. Elizabeth Ptycia—or Granny Liz to Farkas—was an East Calgary elementary school educator and mentor to children for over 25 years.
He said that taking on this extreme challenge was about doing the right thing for the BBBS kids.
“Of course, it’s it’s a play on politics, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about the kids that we’re here to serve,” he said.
“It’s about allowing every Calgarian child to be able to fulfill their potential completely as Calgarians and as Canadians.”
Farkas had a little bit of fun on Twitter earlier in February. He teased that he had found the next opportunity for himself. At the time it garnered intense speculation about what would be the next political office he would run for. Or if he would run for Mayor again.
“You know, I wouldn’t close the door to maybe running for office at some point in my future, but I have quite a few mountains to climb before the end. Probably the equivalent of at least 17 Mount Everests,” he said.