A Viking’s Challenge

Register Now for A Vikings’ Challenge

A Viking’s Challenge is Back!

Last March, Chris Isfeld completed a massive challenge, a challenge no one ever thought he’d be able to complete only a couple of years before. Three years after being diagnosed with late stage melanoma and becoming partially paralyzed from the waist down, he ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.

Building on last year’s enormous success, Chris invites you to join A Viking’s Challenge this year by running a distance of your choice anywhere in Canada. By channeling our inner Vikings, we will make a powerful statement of support for Chris’s heroic journey and help support other melanoma patients so they can, one day, be victors themselves.

To learn more about Chris’s story and last year’s challenge, click here.



Event Details

When: March 6-7, 2021 – all day
Where: Because of the pandemic, the event will take place virtually, allowing participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond.
How: To participate, you must first register here and pledge to run a certain number of kilometres. We will keep a running tally of the number of kilometres pledged and see how many times we can “cross” Lake Winnipeg.
Each participant will have the option to get a free medal to commemorate their participation. Special t-shirts and other merchandise are also available for purchase in our Etsy store!

How many times will we cross the lake this year?

As of this writing, 13 participants have already pledged to run a total of 205km (last updated on Jan. 18). What will you pledge to run?
As always, every dollar raised through this event will go directly to assisting melanoma, non melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients meet their everyday needs during treatment in the form of transportation, accommodation, child care, lost wages and more.
So what are you waiting for? Register now for A Viking’s Challenge and start training to channel your inner Viking!


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A Viking’s Challenge is Back!

A Viking's Challenge is BackMark your calendars! The second edition of A Viking’s Challenge will be taking place on March 6, 2021. 

Last March, Chris Isfeld ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients! Building on last year’s enormous success, Chris invites you to join A Viking’s Challenge this year by running a distance of your choice anywhere in Canada.

Chris’s Story

Chris is a melanoma survivor. His story with cancer began in 2017 when he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma. He was given lifesaving immunotherapy treatment just in time. The treatment was challenging but it proved to be effective. The cancer stopped growing and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months. Soon, he was walking again. By December 2018, just one year after his melanoma diagnosis, he was lacing up his running shoes again.

The results of his latest PET/CT scan, on November 2, 2019, show an almost complete metabolic response; he is well on the way to becoming NED (No Evidence of Disease).


A Viking's Challenge is BackTHE CHALLENGE

Chris had been frequently running and practicing yoga to overcome the physical and emotional anguish he was feeling.

In an interview with Global News, he said:

“A friend of mine, Shawn Bjornsson from Winnipeg, posted a photo after he did a 5K run in -40, and for some reason, I just made a comment and said, ‘Hey, I’ll race you across the lake,’ just as a joke, But a week later, I thought about it, and thought, ‘You know what, this is an absolutely great idea.’

“It gives me something to focus on, and obviously with my diagnosis, I had gotten to know the people at Save Your Skin Foundation very well, and decided that I should do it as a fundraiser and raise money for them.”


True to their Viking roots, they didn’t back down from a challenge. On March 7, 2020, they ran about 30 km from Grand Beach, Manitoba to Gimli, Manitoba, raising almost $20,000 for Save Your Skin Foundation. Read more about last year’s race here.

This Year’s Challenge

Last year’s race was a personal challenge for Chris and his friend Shawn, but since so many expressed an interest in joining the challenge in future years, Chris has decided to open the challenge up to the general public this year. Because of the pandemic, the event will take place virtually, allowing participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond. To participate, runners will have to register and make a one-time donation to Save Your Skin Foundation. More details will be coming soon but, in the mean time, lace up those running shoes, put on your helmet and start channeling your inner Viking!

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‘A Viking’s Challenge’ Completed

Hip hip hooray! Chris Isfeld and Shawn Bjornsson successfully completed their race: ‘A Viking’s Challenge’! The 30km race across frozen Lake Winnipeg took place on Saturday March 7, 2020.

Chris and Shawn’s adventure began when Chris was still in treatment for melanoma. He had started running again to overcome both the physical and emotional challenges he was experiencing and, one day, saw a photo of his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson. Shawn had just finished a race in -40°C weather. His cheeks were red and his moustache covered with frost. Chris had a sudden inspiration! He decided to challenge Shawn to race across Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s sixth-largest lake. True to their viking roots, they did not back down from the challenge. They began planning, training and fundraising.

The race, which began in Grand Beach and ended in Gimli, took place during the Gimli Ice Festival and attracted a large crowd of people who welcomed the pair at the finish line with cheers of encouragement.

“The weather was ideal, but the running conditions weren’t,” said Chris, recounting how he felt during the race. “There were large drifts of snow across the trail which made the running very hard going. It felt like we were running on sand.”

“But as soon as I saw the crowd gathered at the finish line, I forgot how hard the race had been. I felt an amazing new surge of energy.”

Chris’ story is an exceptional example of human resilience and courage. And like in many stories of melanoma survivorship, Chris had an ally by his side to support him along the way. Shawn Bjornsson has been an outstanding supporter, literally running beside Chris each step of the way on this recent challenge.

“There were times during the run when I thought we wouldn’t make it. Shawn’s encouragement was crucial,” recounted Chris.

Having completed this heroic challenge, Chris Isfeld plans to take some time to rest and spend time with his family.

“To be honest, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that it’s over. I feel so exhilarated! This was the hardest run I’ve ever done, and to be hearing stories of how it’s inspiring others to give back too is just an amazing feeling,” he said.

As of this writing, Chris has raised almost $20,000! The funds raised will go to Save Your Skin Foundation and the patients we help. You can still donate to Chris’ fundraising page here.



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