iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

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

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

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

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

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

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

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

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

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

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

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

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

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, 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 because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

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

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

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

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

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

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

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

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

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

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

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

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

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

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

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

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

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

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

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

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

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

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

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

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

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

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

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

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

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

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

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

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

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

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

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

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

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

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

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

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

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

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

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

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 because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

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

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

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

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

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

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

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

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

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

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine
Calgary 2017 Flagbearer

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

June 2010

Back to Table of Contents


Running For My Life

How many experiences in our lives can be classified as monumental enough to be destiny shifting - the kind of moments that are so powerful, they can move us all the way to the foundation of our core values? And if or when one of these events happens to you will you view it as hardship and misfortune…or perceive it as opportunity?
When 2010 began, the most pressing challenge facing me, or so I thought, was how to schedule the necessary runs to ensure hitting my 1:30 half-marathon goal in March. But as noted, life has the ability to humble you beyond belief at any point in time, and just a few weeks into the year my world was irrevocably rocked. At 36, I was staring in the face of - what I assumed would be decades away - my own mortality.

It’s too bad it often takes something life threatening to give us a glimpse of divine insight. And I’d like to say I’m different, but obviously not, because like many before me, my proverbial eyes were opened in a doctor’s office. When you’re diagnosed with cancer - in my case, a large intestinal tumour - two things immediately happen to you. The first of which is nothing; literally. You simply go blank, as if everything you thought you knew has come to a screeching halt. And second, the instant things do begin to move again, it’s with a mind jarring explosion of emotions; fear, anger, disgust, and in this case, surprise - a lot of surprise.

Yet, this isn’t a story of my emotional battle with and/or triumph over cancer, which at this point is still a daily struggle; it's about one very simple realization. Because, although there were a barrage of voices bellowing in my head after the news, there was one yelling louder than all the rest; and it was saying “you really, really need to go for a run.”

Like an addict needing a fix, I did need to run, and the next day had possibly the best of my life. Hopefully you’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy one of these surreal episodes and can relate. As I moved along - or more appropriate, glided - my body, my whole being, was in a higher state of awareness. Everything felt fantastic, connected, perfectly synchronized. The air going in and out of my lungs, my heart as it pumped in my chest, the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, the feel of the wind on my face... It’s possible I could have gone on like that forever.

I used the run. Milked it for all I could, from its therapeutic effect, to its power to heal and strengthen. After all, it’s what we do, we use our runs to remedy all manner of ailment; it’s part of the allure and magic of our beautiful and peculiar obsession. And just three days later that notion was reinforced to me by a woman taking the 10k clinic I’d been teaching. I’ll never forget - as we jogged through the night, snow falling around us - how she shared with me her journey into the world of running. She explained how last year she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and after the initial shock wore off, felt absolutely compelled to prove her resolve, if only to herself. Now, here was a woman with zero running background, yet decided to go out and train for a half-marathon. And she met her goal too, at the Scotiabank Waterfront Half-Marathon in Toronto last September.

As I listened to her that evening, I really got it; it was perfect logic that likely only a fellow runner could comprehend. The truth is we are all motivated to do this for something, some internal force. And that connects every one of us. Think about it, when you see another runner what do you do? Even if you’re in the car and they’re ambling along the road side, you look. You look, because in that single glance you understand why they do it and you understand them.

Which means you also understand me, and in turn, my realization. It’s not about the things that happen to you, it’s about the things you make happen. Just like cancer doesn’t define who you are as a person. Seven-inch scars on your body don’t speak to the type of character you possess. Six months of chemotherapy can’t show people what your values consist of. But how you deal with and respond to adversity, says everything about you. And my personal response to cancer: a marathon when I’m done chemo treatments in the fall, and an ultra marathon next spring. That is who I am; and this is my opportunity.

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