Stepping up to raise awareness

For five years radio host Carlos Benevides has done a 24-hour treadmill walk to raise funds for Heart & Stroke research
Close up of man’s feet running on treadmill

How do you train for a 24-hour treadmill walk? 

One step at a time, jokes Carlos Benevides. 

Carlos, host of The Beat Breakfast  on 91.5 The
Beat in Kitchener Ont., started the walk to raise funds for Heart & Stroke after his father had a cardiac arrest. Fortunately he was revived and now he has a pacemaker to keep his heart beating normally. 

Carlos Benevides

I can’t run for 24 hours but I can certainly walk and raise money and awareness.

Carlos Benevides

But heart disease would hit close to home again when Carlos’s aunt needed triple bypass surgery. 

“I wanted to send a message out through my platform. It was just a matter of figuring out what to do,” Carlos says.

He got the treadmill idea from a story about a runner in the U.S. who ran for 24 hours to raise funds.  

"I can’t run for 24 hours but I can certainly walk and raise money and awareness,” Carlos says.

Once he was set on the idea, it was a matter finding a trainer who could help him get in shape to walk for an entire day while broadcasting live on the radio. 

2 months of cardio and weight training plus the adrenaline rush of broadcasting for 24 hours, he says, helps carry him though event day. 

But there are always surprises.  

 “It’s exhausting and it hurts,” Carlos says, admitting that he goes through a lot of socks. “I have three or four pairs of shoes. It doesn't matter, every year I still get pretty significant heat rash.” 

So what keeps him coming back to the treadmill? 

“That's one of the great things about this event. Listeners will come out to join me. I've had heart disease and stroke survivors walk with me. Six-year-olds, 86-year-olds. That motivates me.” 

Five years on, he’s logged 120 hours and raised more than $50,000 for Heart & Stroke research. 

After celebrating his fifth anniversary Carlos wanted to try something different. This year, he got active every day in February — 28 days, biking during his show and heading to the gym or going for a run for at least 28 minutes a day. 

It’s a change that he hopes will encourage even more people to look after their heart.  

“I'm not suggesting that anybody needs to walk for 24 hours or run a marathon or even a 5 km. Just getting up and walking a little, being mindful about what you're eating, and reducing stress can make a big difference.” 

Most of all Carlos says he hopes that his volunteering will help other families. 

“Doing this event means being able to have loved ones with me. That people are living fuller lives because of the research and taking better care of themselves that's really the most important thing.”