VICTORIA -- Ten marathons in 10 days to raise $10,000 for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation; that’s the goal for Yana Hempler, a local runner, fitness coach and writer.

She will run more marathons in 10 days than she has in her entire life and will cover 422 kilometres.

The challenge is part of a larger goal to run 1,000 miles over five months.

“I was inspired by our Healthcare Heroes,” she writes on her fundraising page. “The doctors, nurses (and other healthcare professionals) who work tirelessly for many long hours at our hospitals and care facilities. For them, this pandemic has been a marathon.”

Last year, one of her longtime friends, Ian Simpson, was in the hospital in critical care fighting for his life. Hempler saw first hand how the medical staff worked hard to help him recover. She knew then she wanted to do something to give back to the staff and patients at the hospital. That’s when she discovered the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, a charity that raises funds for important pieces of equipment that contribute to better patient care, faster diagnosis and more efficient treatment on the south island. 

“I found out that Victoria Hospital Foundation needed another $7 million in order to double their critical care capacity here on the island,” says the marathoner. “I thought that this was a great opportunity to raise awareness for such a wonderful cause in the best way that I know how to do it – which is some kind of a physical feat for a really great charity.”

Simpson is not surprised his friend wanted to help, saying that’s just the way she is. But it’s how she’s honouring the doctors and nurses that blows him away.

“The feat itself, what she is doing, is absolutely mind blowing by any degree,” he said.

Running has been a passion for Hempler for the past 8 years. She has run in both the Boston and New York marathons during that time.

She is no stranger to using her talent to raise money; having run the length of Vancouver Island in 2013 for local charities and fundraised for many other organizations, including Wounded Warriors, Help Fill a Dream, Mustard Seed, Recreation Integration Victoria and the BC SPCA.

“When I found out that most likely the Olympics would never be in my future as a runner, I wanted to find a different way to enjoy running in a way that makes a big impact on the community,” she says.

The 10 marathons in 10 days won’t be easy, she says. She doesn’t plan to beat her personal best of 3 hours, 18 minutes for a marathon. This will be a slow and steady pace, something that people can come out and join in running with her for a few kilometres. She would love the support.

The 30-year-old marathoner plans to take four to five hours every day to complete each marathon.

She is using her vacation time this summer from her regular job at Viking Air to complete her mission.

Her first marathon will begin Friday morning around 9 a.m., and will kick off at the end of Seaton Street where it connects to the Galloping Goose Trail.

For the next 10 days she will run back and forth on the paved Galloping Goose trail between Uptown and Tillicum Road, so she will be easy to spot.

Hempler has raised more than $1,300 so far, and the marathons have yet to begin. To help Hempler reach her goal, and in turn, support healthcare workers and patients; go to her fundraising page at

And if she raises more than $10,000?

“I did say once that if I raised more than $10,000 before the last day is over then I will do a number 11 because I still have more vacation left,” she says with a laugh. “I will do number 11 even if I have to walk or crawl to do it. So if you want to torture me; if you want to seem me crawl or walk, then this is a great opportunity. Please donate to the Victoria’s Hospital Foundation.”