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Campbell River swimmer to race Ironman — without training — for charity

Ricky Millns started planning event just under a week ago
MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 8: Ricky Millns at U Sports Swimming Championships - PRELIMS - at Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre on March 8, 2024 in Montreal, QC, Canada. (Photo by Matt Garies / McGill Athletics)

A swimmer from Campbell River is taking on one of the hardest physical challenges on the planet in support of the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society — all without doing any training.

Ricky Millns is a swimmer for the University of Victoria Vikes. Originally from Campbell River, Millns chose the local charity as his fundraising recipient. This Saturday, Millns will swim 3.9 km, bike 180.2 km and complete a full marathon (42.2 km) on a course he mapped out in the community. He started organizing a week before the event, and instead of training has focused on raising as much money as possible.

Millns is a fourth-year athlete at the university, but for this particular event has ridden his bike zero kilometres, biked zero kilometres and run zero kilometres.

The swim is usually one of the more difficult parts of the race. However, Millns thinks his 20 years of high-level training has given him a good base of fitness for that part. The other parts of the race might be a bit more daunting.

“In fact, he hasn’t ridden a bike or gone for a proper training run since 2020,” a release from UVic says.

Millns isn’t one to shrink away from a challenge. For example, in December he completed nine kilometres of butterfly stroke, not a small feat.

“I’ve had the conversation with my teammates about if it’s possible, and I’ve always been someone who likes to test myself by doing hard things,” he said. “My mom recently completed a half-Ironman, so I thought this would be a good challenge and a way to give back to my community.”

“Ricky’s always been someone who chases new challenges in sport and uses them to not only test his strength of resolve, but also to inspire those around him and show them that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” said Vikes assistant swim coach Ryan Clouston. “I’ve seen Ricky take on some challenges in workouts that I’ve never seen anyone else do, and it will be exciting to see him attempt another one for charity next week. Doing something like this to help others, the community he calls home, and inspire the next generation of athletes, many of whom he currently coaches, says a lot about his character and what is most important to him.”

Millns is now working as a coach for the Salmon Kings swim club in Campbell River, giving back to the team where he first got his feet wet. He says that he was inspired by his swimmers to take this challenge on.

“Now that I’m a swim coach, my job is to give back. I want the kids to feel proud of their community and find ways to make an impact. I asked my athletes to brainstorm some local organizations to contribute to, and the mission of the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society stood out as an important cause,” says Millns.

Why the Head Injury Society? Millns said in an Instagram post that the organization “is a fantastic and deserving organization.”

Millns will start his race at Centennial Pool in Campbell River, ride between Campbell River and Qualicum Bay, and run in Campbell River on Saturday. The start time is to be determined.

To donate to Millns’ race, visit his Gofundme.

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Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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