|Back on June 4, Brad Marsh made a pit stop at Scotiabank Place as he 90-Day Challenge made its way into his adopted hometown of Ottawa. On Friday, the cross-country ride, held to support the Boys and Girls Club, reaches the finish line in St. John's, N.L. (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club).
The finish line is almost in sight.
Three months after setting out on a coast-to-coast bike ride, Brad Marsh's 90-Day Challenge will reach its conclusion on Friday in St. John's, N.L., when he and his family entourage arrive at the Boys and Girls Club in the provincial capital.
The former Ottawa Senators defenceman set out on his marathon trek in Vancouver in April, hoping to raise funds and awareness for Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. It is a cause the president of the Sens Alumni has tirelessly supported for a number of years.
"What the Boys and Girls Clubs do is so important for the youth of today," said Marsh, who's been accompanied by his son, Erik, during this marathon journey. "It's a place to go after school with positive influences, somewhere to do homework, play sports and have a snack. That's all very important and I want to make sure that the clubs continue to receive the support they need."
It has been an odyssey of epic proportions for Marsh, with the ride taking him through mountains, along lakes and many picturesque vistas throughout the land. The trek has also allowed him to connect with Canadians in the most gratifying of ways.
"What a wonderful trip it has been," the 54-year-old Marsh said during a stop in his adopted hometown of Ottawa in early June. "There hasn't been one day where I did not want to get on my bike. I feel great ... to be honest, I feel stronger and I'm getting stronger. I love rolling into the towns and going into the Boys and Girls Clubs."
Added Erik Marsh: "We've had the warmest of welcomes pretty much everywhere we've gone, either from friends, family or (total) strangers. They've just opened up their doors to us, whether it's feeding us or whatever it is ... everybody we've talked to has been so supportive."
Marsh has been joined by the rest of his family — wife Patty, and children Madeline, Patrick and Victoria — for the final leg of the journey. As he approaches the finish, Marsh considers his original mission complete.
"Great country, even better people," Marsh said in summing up the journey. "The support has been tremendous, from my ride sponsors to those on the open road that offered lodgings and meals and, of course, everyone that donated, including my hockey family, business associates, friends and family.
"When I began my trip, I said that with the help of others, I hoped to make a difference in the lives of many and now that the ride is (almost) over, I believe we have accomplished that."