SAULT STE. MARIE -- There's no challenge that Carter Simpson isn't willing to face, even if that means he's a little late to doing it.

The athlete has competed and won medals at both the summer and winter provincial games, but after seeing the gold his mother received for completing the Great Canadian Running Challenge in January, he set his sights on another goal.

"When he saw my medal for reaching 1,000 km, he decided that's what he wanted and I wasn't sure he'd be able to get it," said Liz-Ann Simpson, Carter's mom. "But he got it Aug. 26 and then he decided he was going to go for 1,500 km."

The Great Canadian Challenge was started in Northern Ontario two years ago, challenging participants to run 1,000 km in a year.

For Simpson, he only started the challenge in mid-March, as means to stay fit with his gym shutting down during the pandemic.

Evolved into something more

It started as just walking or running with his mom, but over time, has evolved into much more.

"Carter's routine consists of at least two runs or walks a day," Liz-Ann said. "He's also now getting out by himself, which is absolutely amazing."

Liz-Ann said her son will take photos along his runs and send them to her, so she knows where he is heading.

"The fact that he goes out and goes out on his own, he starts to recognize people on his path and people know him and it's such a boost to his confidence," she said.

Which, Simpson said, has become quite the audience.

"When I go out, they cheer me on and honk their horns," he said. "They say yay, go Carter Go and it makes me happy!"

Simpson said getting into the routine of running was the most difficult part. But now, he can't quite get enough of it.

"I like running. It makes me strong and is great exercise," he said. "Now, I'm aiming to go even higher."

Simpson has signed up for the September Challenge, which asks participants to run a total of 200 km throughout the month.

He said he's also targeting 1,500 km for the end of the year, now that he's surpassed his 1,000 km goal.