Airdronian Zacary Jeaurond is planning a 50-kilometre run from Canmore to Banff - starting and finishing at the Tim Hortons in the respective towns. However, the ultra-runner isn't training for the next gruelling marathon. He is hoping that his athletic prowess will convince Tim Hortons to keep his favourite donut on the menu permanently - the Walnut Crunch.

"About a month ago, I heard that the Walnut Crunch was coming back and I was very, very excited because it's been my favourite doughnut. I actually raved to my friends about it for years since it had been discontinued 10 years ago," he said. "When I heard it was coming back, I was super, super excited. But, I knew it was coming back for a limited time, so that was a little bit disappointing."

According to Tim Hortons, both the Walnut Crunch and the Cherry Stick were coming back for a limited time and would be in participating stores from May 31 till June 2 - National Donut Day. But for Jeaurond, the timeframe of having his favourite donut available again was not enough. 

"Probably a week before the Walnut Crunch would be officially discontinued, I thought, I really have got to do something now. So, I started dedicating all of my bike rides throughout the week, to saving the Walnut Crunch and posting it over my social media and doing whatever I can to try and get a response from Tim Hortons."

Since he started his running/biking campaign for his beloved donut, he estimates he has done 37 runs just for the donut, though he added that for each kilometre he has run in the last three months he has also dedicated to the donut. When asked if it seems a bit of a misnomer that an ultra-runner would be advocating so passionately for a rather decadent dessert, Jeaurond said that it is a common misconception.

"You'll find that in the ultra-running, most of us are putting so many miles on that it's actually a battle to eat enough calories in the day to make sure that you're not running a calorie deficit. It seems odd at first, but I've actually been able to use it in my training for a specific reason. Once you get past the 50 or 100-kilometre mark, a lot of people will say it's an eating competition more than it's a running competition." 

He said that he began ultra-running in 2019, and while there was a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has started up again - this time also including his baby girl in some of his running practices. 

"My pace has gotten quick enough that if I need to get 20-plus kilometres in; I can do a half marathon and under two hours," he said. "An that's kind of her max time that she's usually willing to sleep or is comfortable in the chariot. Fortunately, I am quick enough now that I can get those miles and keep her happy at the same time."

However, the question of why Jeaurond is so passionate about the Walnut Crunch comes down to one thing - flavour and perhaps its size. 

"It checks all the boxes. It's my favourite shaped doughnut and It's one of the larger doughnuts; also I love chocolate - so I love that it's the chocolate base," he said. "And then there's the glaze - the glaze is just a little extra sugar on top and the walnuts add a little bit of protein for recovery.

Although Tim Hortons has yet to take notice of his passion for the donut, he is hopeful that they will listen and bring the Walnut Crunch back.

"We're stopping at nothing with this one."

For those wishing to follow Jeaurond and his quest to bring back the Walnut Crunch - he posts regularly on his Instagram: @zaddy_daycare_yyc.

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