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iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Music, Training

“I Got Runs in My Head and They Won’t Go, Spirits in My Head and They Won’t Go.”

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The inside story of The Strumbellas and how their guitarist—running with his mom—co-wrote Spirits, his group’s infectious, awesome-to-run-to hit song

By Ben Kaplan

iRun: As your band gets more popular, does that make you run more, or less?

Jon Hembrey: It might seem counter-intuitive, but I’m actually running more these days. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m more into it right now or that we’re so busy I find myself having to take advantage of every bit of free time I get. So if I’ve got some time in the morning, I might as well just get out there and run. Once I get in the mindset of just “Go out there and do it,” I find I have more time than I think. So I end up running more.

iRun: Why do you think so many successful musicians are runners? What does it do for you?

Hembrey: I’m not really sure. It’s definitely a challenge to keep active on the road. You’re travelling so much and don’t have a lot time for yourself. I like it because it’s easy—all I need are some running shoes—and you can do it anywhere. I usually go out in the mornings so it gives me some time to myself and I get to explore all the cities that we visit. Sometimes it’s my only chance to actually see the cities we’re playing in.

iRun: Can you give me a sense of your current running routine? How often do you go out, how far?

Hembrey: I usually run somewhere between five and seven kilometres two or three times a week.

iRun: Your mom got you started, right?

Hembrey: It’s kind of funny but my mom got me into both running and playing music. About five years ago I had been casually running for awhile, really casually…like honestly once or twice a month. My mom had gotten into it and signed up for the Sporting Life 10K in Toronto. She asked me if I wanted to try it, so I did. Signing up for it really made me commit to more of a schedule because I wanted to finish the 10K. Ever since then I’ve been a pretty consistent runner.

For music, I had just randomly said to her one day in high school that I’d like to play guitar. The very next day she told me she had booked lessons for the next week. That’s very much her attitude when it comes to trying new things. Just get out there and do it.

iRun: She sounds awesome.

Hembrey: My mom has always been very active and she’s all about getting out there and trying new things. She runs and kayaks and takes her dog Henry for a walk in the woods behind her house all the time. She’s always been a big inspiration for me.

iRun: Do you have any ambitions to further your running? Do you see yourself as a marathon guy?

Hembrey: As I’ve started running more I’ve been thinking I might try a half marathon. So that’s my current goal. And then once you’re there, you might as well try for the other half and just make a full marathon so who knows!

iRun: I got to tell you, I love Spirits so much. It’s such an uplifting, phenomenal running song. Have you ever tried running to it?

Hembrey (laughing): I don’t usually run to Spirits. Maybe when we’re in the recording or mixing process I might have thrown it on once or twice to give it a bit of a critical listen while running.

iRun: Can you give me a sense of the songwriting process. Do you know you have gold in the studio?

Hembrey: Simon is the primary writer. He’ll usually send out a demo to the band and then the rest of us all weigh in with suggestions and parts to fill it out. It’s a fairly collaborative process.

Unfortunately there is no easy “gold test” in the studio. You’re so invested in the songs, it’s hard to take yourself out of the moment and really listen with fresh ears. You’re in there making the music you want to make and that’s what you’re mostly focused on.

I usually find myself falling into two extremes while in the studio. It’s either “I can’t believe how amazing this sounds” or “This is total garbage.”

iRun: What do you like running to and, as a follow-up, how do you feel on a run? (For me personally, Graceland is the perfect running song—uplifting, not too heavy, helps me keep my pace).

Hembrey: Graceland is an awesome song. That’s going on my running mix for sure! I usually go for something a little on the pop side of things. Singalong choruses and a nice mid range tempo. If I hear something on the radio or if we play with a really cool band, I’ll usually throw them into my running mix for a couple weeks.

Nothing too fast either. I tend to play the air drums while I’m running. So I’ll flail my arms along to parts of the song I love. I imagine it might look a little weird.

iRun: If you could run with any musician of all-time, who would you run with and, if you could both listen to the same song, what song would it be?

Hembrey: If I could run with one musician, it’d have to be Jimi Hendrix. I’d put on Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright and geek out about Bob Dylan.

 

October 11th, 2016

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