iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

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

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

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

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

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

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, 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 satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

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

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

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

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

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

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

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

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

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

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

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

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

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

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

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

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

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

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

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

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

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

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

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

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

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

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

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

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

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

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

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

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

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

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

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

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

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's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

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

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

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

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

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

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

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 not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

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

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

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

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

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

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

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

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

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

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

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

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

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

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

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

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

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

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

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

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

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

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

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

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

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

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

April 2012

Back to Table of Contents

Why I Run: Some things are worth running for

One year ago, I appeared in an ad in iRun along with my friend Greg Hebert. Together, we were supporting the efforts of our radio colleague Steve Madely, who led a team of Ottawa Race Weekend participants in raising almost $200,000 for cancer research.

Only a few months earlier, Greg had been diagnosed with cancer for a third time. In between his first two battles with the cruel disease, he had run a couple of 10K races and married his long-time sweetheart. But this time, the prognosis was dire. His doctor told him he had only six months left.

Despite the death sentence (as he has often referred to it) and some pretty awful side effects from treatment, Greg went to work at raising as much money as he could for cancer research with whatever time he had left. He not only supported Steve’s Run for Research, he organized a team in the Do it for Dad race on Father’s Day.

Greg recruited all of his friends and co-workers to join him and together they raised more than $72,000, an astonishing figure considering his original goal was something like $10,000. What I found most inspiring was the fact that many of the people Greg enlisted had never run before. A few of them caught the bug and are still running today.

So it is with these two life-changing activities. Some runners become fundraisers, and some fundraisers become runners.

After all, it’s a powerful combination. It’s not easy to measure exactly how much good is done every year by the thousands of Canadians who run for a reason. But the financial total has to be in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more.

It’s a natural fit. There’s just something compelling and stirring about an individual who’s willing to do something difficult in the name of a good cause, someone who’s prepared not just to ask for, but to earn the donations of their friends and family. And there are few things more deserving of support – financial and moral – than someone offering to train for a few months and run an extraordinary distance so that a sum of money – large or small – can go toward something important.

For me, both are about making the impossible into the possible. I never thought I could run a marathon. But if I can do that, why not raise some money and help fight cancer or solve some other seemingly insurmountable problem?

I’ve met and interviewed dozens of runners who have turned their races into fundraisers. They all tell me the same thing. Hitting personal athletic goals can be very satisfying, but there’s nothing as motivating as making your run about something other than yourself.

Here’s another benefit: You can break your personal bests in fundraising even as your body ages.

It happens all over the world, of course, but it’s etched particularly deep in the Canadian psyche thanks to Terry Fox, who taught us quite simply that some things are worth running for.

One year after that ad appeared in iRun, Greg was still at it, having outlived his death sentence by more than six months. His new goal was to eclipse his efforts from last year at the Alterna Ultimate Run for Men’s Cancers, which has replaced the Do it for Dad. I have no doubt he and his legion will do just that.

I decided I should be equally determined, so I set a wildly ambitious fundraising goal and started training for my next marathon. Sometimes I worry the goal is too high. But I’ve already started considering an even bigger target for a future race.

When you’re inspired by a friend who refused to quit, nothing is out of reach.

If you like the “Why I Run” column, you’ll love the book!  Drawing on more than five years of writing about running in newspaper columns, magazine features and blog postings, Mark Sutcliffe chronicles a journey that begins with a guy looking for a bit of exercise and evolves into running as a way of life. Read more about Why I Run here, or order your copy from the iRunGEAR store!


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