I got the running bug in high school, running cross country through the woods of suburban Montreal. One of the things I enjoyed most about the experience (apart from that amazing runner’s high) was that compared to other sports that I had participated in like soccer, hockey and gymnastics, all you needed was running shoes! The sports gear was radically minimized. Also, there was no schedule; one could take off at any time. Running could also be an exploratory sport if you were so inclined. Many years later, running through the neighbourhoods of Paris on a sunny spring morning remains one of the most enduring highlights for me, embodying the spirit of adventure that bonds many runners.
When I moved to Toronto in 1984 and joined the YMCA, I began running more seriously, but I favoured speed, over distance. A new YMCA was built on Grovenor St. in the late 1980s. On the rubber track, outdoors on the roof, I could do 12 fast laps before my IT bands started to bleed. Then in the early 1990s I got two beautiful English Setters. Being forced to take them out for walkies in all types of weather made winter enchanting all over again. I started running with them year round and thus began the foundation for the distance running that I enjoy today.
With the guidance of my pals Elaine McRae and Barbara Lawrence of Toronto’s Runner’s Shop, I have completed a 10k, two half marathons and the Ottawa Marathon in 2001; my time of 3hours 10minutes surprised her, but I remarked it was just proof of her talent as a trainer!
On Sunday November 1st, I will be running the New York City Marathon – a dream since I began racing! Coach Elaine is also running New York, which is her 28th? marathon! I didn’t get a berth through the lottery system they have set up, so I have joined a New York City running group called Fred’s Team that raises funds for prostate cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I have committed to raising $3500.00 before race day! If you would like to help me, please click Fred’s Team — to find my personal fundraising form. Click on my name to highlight it and then follow the simple directions. Anything you contribute would be greatly appreciated!!! This could be my year for some crazy Movember activity too!
By the way, it is always a gift out on the running paths to come across wild furry creatures and flowers.