Mark Sutcliffe founded iRun magazine in 2008, and last week he declared his candidacy to become the next Mayor of Ottawa. Mark’s a mentor to me, a friend, and will be well known to many of you as a longtime presence in the Ottawa Citizen, on the air of CFRA, CityNews, Rogers TV, and CPAC and running along the paths near his home in West Wellington and as a board member and television commentator for the Ottawa Marathon. He is also the author of three books about running: Why I Run, Canada’s Magnificent Marathon, and Long Road to Boston.
Mark says that running has changed his life and that he sees it as an integral part to this exciting next phase of his journey.
“I’ve been thinking about running a lot lately,” he told me the other day, after finishing his long run. “I was a shy kid, not particularly athletic, the smallest kid in my class, and when I started running marathons I discovered a toughness that I didn’t think I had.”
That toughness, he says, helped him recognize that, within himself, he could do difficult things if he had a plan, a community, and a disciplined consistency and focus to achieve beyond his ordinary goals. “Completing my first marathon changed my life and how I looked at all the challenges I was going to face in life,” says the 53-year old father of three. “You can’t cram for a marathon, you have to put the work in day in, day out, for months at a time, and I’ve learned through running what it means to take on something big and chip away one step at a time until you reach your goal.”
Mark says the goal of his current campaign is to pay back all the good fortune he’s received in the place he’s called home for his entire life. “Ottawa’s a city that’s been extremely good to me and my family and I’m grateful and excited about the future, but also worried about some of the challenges we’re facing,” says Sutcliffe, adding that affordability has become a big issue for Ottawa families and that his first priority is helping the people who need it the most. “I care a lot about equality and the equality of opportunity and as Ottawa gets bigger and the cost of living goes up, we have to look after everyone.” That was the subject of a TEDx Talk Mark did four years ago that incorporated running, luck, and fairness.
I don’t know much about politics, but I certainly know that, after fifteen years of friendship and long runs and post-race burritos at his house, Mark has certainly looked after me, and many other runners in the iRun community. Mark has a big heart, great values, and he’s done a lot for our sport and our industry—whether volunteering at events or interviewing regular runners alongside Canada’s racing stars—and I just want to say, on behalf of iRun Nation, congratulations, Mark. We’re rooting for you. Just as you’ve done, and will continue to do, no doubt, for so many of us.