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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

Motivation, News

“I just do my thing.” Lanni Marchant on her kinship with Kathrine Switzer

I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people’s minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.” Audrey Hepburn.

I have said it so many times it would be impossible for me to count – “I am not your role model” or “I didn’t set out to be important in this [running] world.  I have called what I do a series of selfish endeavours. And let’s be honest, running is a very selfish sport. We all strive (and stride) to beat our previous selves.

But, there is something special about running and the people who can do it faster than the majority of the population.  There is something special about the people who are not the fastest, but find another way to leave their mark on the world – and no, I do not just mean the running world.

A few weeks ago I got to have my “fan girl” moment and meet Katherine Switzer at the Toronto Goodlife Marathon expo.  Those who know me well know that I have not and do not have celebrity crushes, or idolize professional athletes. When asked who, dead or alive, I would like to sit across a table from my answer is Sir Thomas Moore. K. Switzer though… I mean frick… I don’t run Boston 2014 but for her.  I don’t run the 2016 Olympic marathon but for her.  I don’t… but for her.

I recently wrote a piece (to be published this summer) about the grittiest female sports performances and Katherine Switzer’s Boston run was the first performance that came to mind. Of course I knew the story, who doesn’t in our [running] world?  But, when I went down my favourite rabbit hole of research I discovered so much more behind her ground breaking run.  I discovered that she did not set out to be important, a role model, an icon… she did what she wanted to do and it was actually as simple as that.

I made it clear that I was not trying to “prove” anything, except that I wanted to run, I’d trained seriously for the distance, and I was not going to drop out.

I do what I want.” Something I say in passing to people when I make up my mind to do something – some times small, inconsequential, things like have chocolate for breakfast… sometimes big things like run two events at the Olympics.  “I’m a girl and I can do what I want.

Running is selfish.  Doing what I want and stubbornly declaring it so can also be called selfish, or I used to feel that way anyways.  My guy friends say and do as they please and I question if they realize the selfish undertones of that narrow focus? To be clear here, I am not equating our selfish undertaking of goals and dreams to anything negative. I am however pointing out the beauty of broadening our perspectives—and how, if we are lucky, we become important outside of our own world.

I testified at the House of Commons this Fall about how my selfish endeavour to run two events at the Olympics took on a new meaning during the whole #doubledouble debacle. I realized that, much like the majority of my goals and then accomplishments in my short career, my desires had taken on a new purpose.  “I was battling AC for the two spots I rightfully earned. But it wasn’t just my right I was fighting for. Canadians spoke up and voiced their desire to see me compete in both events. Not because I was a medal contender. Not because it would be nice of AC to let this little girl run. But because they wanted the women and girls in their lives to see a strong Canadian female competing for Canada. In my mind it was no longer about asking permission for myself. It was about demanding a right for all of us.”

Soaking up all I could about K.V and her Boston run I believe I now have my first “celebrity crush.” All she wanted to do was run the race she had properly registered for and put in the training. How selfish of her. During her run, after facing legitimate violence and being tempted to drop out, Kathy’s perspective switched and she realized she was actually running for more than herself.  “I knew if I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26 plus miles…If I quit, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward.”

I do not set out to run fast or make national teams to be important to you. I am still very selfish in that regard. Getting to call myself an Olympian makes me part of very exclusive club…but also an ever growing club. Every two years that club grows. After this weekend I am no longer the reigning Canadian 10km road race champion. Every year the club of national title holders grows.  My records will eventually be earned by another runner. My importance in this running world is limited and I am okay with that.

I want to be selfish and see how fast I can actually run but I always want to remember that during those personal pursuits I am not limited by or to those selfish goals.

I can because she did.  I do so that we all can.

May 29th, 2017

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