Ultra-marathoner Anthony Battah makes a pit-stop in Lakeshore during his 4,500 km journey to Mexico, August 15, 2023. (Photo by Maureen Revait)Ultra-marathoner Anthony Battah makes a pit-stop in Lakeshore during his 4,500 km journey to Mexico, August 15, 2023. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Ultra-marathoner runs through the region raising fund to protect monarch butterflies

An ultra-marathoner running from Montreal to Mexico following the monarch butterfly's migration route will cross his first international border Wednesday in Windsor.

Anthony Battah,39, left Montreal on July 29 and made his way through the region Tuesday afternoon.

"I'm doing great. I think it's been three or four days now where I have basically no pain whatsoever. I'm arriving at night and walking relatively normally. I think I am finding my groove," said Battah.

Throughout his journey, he is raising awareness and funds to protect the habitat needed by the Monarch to make its migration each year.

"Just as ultra-distance athletes need aid stations to do these long distances and one of the main, if not the main issue in regard to the monarch butterfly is that us humans have taken away their aid stations," said Battah.

He has been running an average of 52 kilometers a day since he left home. His goal is to run the 4,500 km journey to Michoacán, Mexico.

Battah said he started this project in an effort to take real action against climate change.

"Things are not turning around, we're heading in the wrong direction and long story short I wanted to do something, anything, that could potentially have a significant impact in terms of turning the tide around," said Battah.

He hopes to arrive in Mexico around November 1, when the Monarch butterfly typically descends on the region.

"It's [the Day of the Dead] which for an unexplained scientific reason the Monarchs all over North America converge to Mexico on that date," said Battah. "Symbolically they represent the soul of the dead that come and visit them year after year and there's lots of festivities with the locals so we would love to arrive approximately at the same time."

During the Canadian leg of his journey, Battah has raised close to $30,000.

Donations can be made through his website ultratrailmonarch.com.

Funds raised in Canada will be directed to Space for Life Foundation for the Montreal Insectarium Mission Monarch project.

Funds raised in the United States will be directed to Monarch Joint Venture while funds raised through Mexico will be donated to Nación Verde, a civil organization dedicated to the restoration and reforestation of ecosystems with native flora of each region.

"I have this crazy passion for running so I am being of service for the planet by using my strengths and I am inviting everyone to do the same with their own passion," said Battah.

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