Monday 3 January 2011

The lonely road

Hands up if you're a fruitcake

For regular readers who require a little closure, I should report that long distance jogging anti-smoking über-crank Errol Povah finally made it to New York City at the end of November. To refresh your memory, Povah set off from Vancouver in May with the modest aim of "putting the entire smoking industry out of business".

Some of the highlights of his trip have been:

“It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions,” said Povah, who has experienced frustration, anger, boredom and loneliness on his eastward journey, which began on May 31.

October 13

Because he is doing it solo, he's worked out a complicated daily schedule in which he parks his van on the side of the road and runs or walks back five kilometres or so, then returns to the van and does the same in the other direction.

He then drives it ahead 10 kilometres and does the same thing all over again, for a total of 42 kilometres — essentially a marathon.

October 26

"I literally can't afford to buy new shoes," he said, after finishing a 26.2-mile walk on Tuesday from Warrensburg to Glens Falls. "I'm flat broke at the moment. I have to get some money organized."

November 17

This tale of woe had a suitably downbeat ending as Povah finally reached the East Coast after 182 days, having raised a mighty $6,000—just $534,000 short of his target :

On November 23, Anti-Tobacco Activist Errol Povah dipped his foot in the Atlantic Ocean, marking both one of his greatest accomplishments and one of his greatest disappointments.

“My Journey for a Tobacco-Free World ended with absolutely no media in New York City,” Povah said during a phone interview on his drive back to Victoria.

“I was so disappointed, but it’s been that way almost the entire journey. I’m trying to raise awareness about the devastation this horrible industry is causing worldwide, and it’s been an uphill battle,” Povah said.

In a post on his Web site, Povah posted shortly after he finished his trek, “the disappointment of ZERO MEDIA in New York City is still stinging, big time.”

But Errol has an explanation for this conspiracy of silence: the whole media is covertly pro-tobacco.

“When I was looking for sponsorships and endorsements before I began the journey the politicians and organizations I called were very receptive, until I told them I was setting out to shut down the tobacco industry. I am not anti-smoker, I am anti-tobacco. It’s a big difference. Once I made that distinction, no one wanted anything to do with it. People fear the tobacco industry,” Povah said.

Povah seems not to have considered the possibility that people's reaction changed because they realised that someone who thought that jogging to New York was going to "shut down the tobacco industry" was one sandwich short of a picnic.

“But the tobacco industry has clout and power over the media and politics. It doesn’t change my mission,” he said.

Povah said he finds the silence of the Tobacco industry during his run “fascinating.”

It's about as "fascinating" as a celebrity's silence when a fan sends them a letter written in green ink and blood. Why would you encourage loonies and stalkers by acknowledging them? And would does he expect the tobacco industry to do—come out and negotiate with him?

Of course, one definition of a loony is someone who keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result. To whit:

The Home-Coming Run (HCR) — a total of 123 km (1 km for each Canadian killed by tobacco, each and every day) — will take place over a period of 3 days, from Tue, Jan 11 to Thu, Jan 13, 2011…from about 7:00 a.m. til 3:00 p.m. each day. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

CORPORATE SPONSORS ARE ONCE AGAIN BEING SOUGHT, ESPECIALLY HOTELS…TO PUT ERROL (and possibly a Support Crew of 2 or 3) UP FOR THE NIGHTS OF JANUARY 10, 11, 12 AND 13 (10th, 11th + 12th in the Lower Mainland, 13th in Victoria).

Stay tuned for more details.

ATTENTION MEDIA: Please contact Errol directly, at 778 899-4832

Take heed, tobacco industry. In ten days time you'll be out of business.


JJ said...

Why doesn't he double his money by running all the way back to Vancouver?

Xopher said...

He should have sat down at the end of the journey and enjoyed a 'Hamlet Moment' and all would be well

Trooper Thompson said...

Ironically the tobacco industry may have been willing to sponsor him, but I think they've been banned.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if he admitted he was anti-smoker, instead of anti-tobacco, then he'd have gotten some media attention.

Anonymous said...

Completely OT, but there has been reported a claim that sitting in front of a screen for 4 hrs a day is associated with a 125% increase in risk of cardiovascular events (a RR of 2.25). Furthermore, this is independent of smoking, diet, social class and exercise. This illustrates the weakness of the claim of a RR of 1.2 for passive smoking and heart attacks. All possible confounders can never be accounted for and, if the effect of the confounder is large compared to the claimed effect of passive smoking, as it is here, the evidence is drastically weakened.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't he realise that marathon runners considerably shorten their lifespan? What a hypocrit.