Behaviour’s ECD is leaving to chase a different passion

Ben Pobjoy is pursuing endurance running full-time with the intention of claiming a decade-old Guinness World Record.

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Ben Pobjoy, formerly the ECD at Behaviour, recently gave the Toronto-based agency and his former clients some news: he has to run. Literally.

That’s because Pobjoy is preparing to pursue a passion he has been doing for years but ramped up during the pandemic: endurance running.

“As a creative, I get most of my inspiration from being outside, in the real world,” Pobjoy says. That’s why, since 2015, he has completed more than 500 marathons and trekked more than 59,000 kilometres by foot across six continents. Last year alone, while still holding down his full-time job, he accounted for 11,000 of those kilometres across 11 countries, as well as completed 174 marathons.

He says that Behaviour has “always been very supportive” of his marathon moonlighting, even contributing to his DIY fundraising efforts. The agency helped tell Pobjoy’s story six years ago when he first took up walking as a means of losing weight, as part of a campaign for Telus’ “#MoveToHealthy” initiative.

But there was only so much he could achieve while working full-time, especially in a demanding line of work. Over the course of eight years with Behaviour, he worked on clients including Air Canada, Coors Light, Kellogg’s, Molson Canadian, the OLG, PepsiCo, Royal Bank of Canada, Starbucks and the aforementioned Telus.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset“I loved the work at Behaviour and I loved the clients we worked with, but there’s something else I love more,” he explains. “It’s like being polyamorous and managing your scheduling conflicts, you know? … I was doing as much as I could while holding down a day job, but coming out of the pandemic, I thought: ‘If I really want to give this a go, I’ll give it a go.’ No pun intended, but I’m going to make a run out of it.”

And he’s not kidding. In 2023, Pobjoy will be dedicating his year to trying to claim the Guinness World Record for most marathons completed in one year – a tally that has been held since 2013 by the U.S.’s Larry Macon, who ran 239 marathons that year.

To achieve the goal, Pobjoy has mapped out a loose itinerary that will see him travel to South America during Winter 2023, followed by Africa and the Middle East in the Spring, Europe in the Summer and Asia in the Fall.

All told, he aims to visit between 75 and 100 countries. That seems like an ambitious mark, until one realizes that last year, he managed nine marathons in nine different countries in as many days.

“I’m trying to plan and plot it out per quarter so that I don’t do a big capital expenditure and then, if a natural disaster or conflict happens, that money goes down the drain,” he explains.

But why the world record? Pobjoy considers it a personal challenge from Guinness, issued when they rejected his submission of his 2021 statistics for a different record shortly after April Fool’s Day. “I thought, ‘Cool, joke’s going to be on you guys. You’ve rejected the wrong weirdo,’” he says.