The Running Whys – Ahmet Tahan

amhet4-1This column ran in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner on Sept. 24.

When opportunities arise, you have to take advantage of them. And for Fredericton’s Ahmet Tahan, a shot at a new career path presented to him was just too good to pass up.

So after 10 years as the assistant store manager of the Smythe Street Superstore, Tahan and his wife Celeste are moving to Grand Manan, where he is taking over the Your Independence Grocer franchise on the island.image8

There are many positive aspects related to the move, but one not so pleasant item for Tahan is leaving the Capital City road running community, where a little over five years ago, he took his first strides as part of a charity component of the Fredericton Marathon.

Since then, he’s transformed into a familiar face in the local circuit, competing in many area events – a slate which will include this weekend’s Liv9 Fall Classic, the 34th annual edition of one of the region’s most prestigious runs.

He also organized and successfully carried out a pair of 10x10k schedules in 2014 and 2015, where he ran 10 10-kilometre races to raise money for the President’s Choice Children’s Charity, pulling together more than $3,000 in the process.

Later this fall, he’s gearing up for his first marathon when he’ll take part in the 2016 edition of the Legs For Literacy weekend in Moncton. And, of course, he’ll be back for the Fall Classic, the Fredericton Marathon and other races in the Capital City in the future.amhet2

Right now, though, moving away definitely isn’t easy.

“I strongly ‘dislike’ leaving the Fredericton running scene, because the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge is my absolute most favourite place to run in the world and I have a lot of newly found friendships within the running community,” Tahan explained.

“But I know I’ll be coming back at least four times a year and the runner friends will always have a special place in my heart and will be missed where ever I go.”

Tahan moved to New Brunswick from Turkey in 2001, living since that time in Oromocto and Fredericton. Throughout his life, he was involved in sports but did not try running until the charity endeavour in 2011.image9

Running provided a forum for his goodwill activities, which rebounded to include his own fitness levels. That was evidenced with his most satisfying run, just two years ago at the Fall Classic, when it was the 10th and final charity effort that year. He ended in style with a new personal best under 50 minutes.

Like many runners, he tackles training routes himself for the most part but has developed a special bond with a pair of runners he cites as important to his overall enjoyment.

“There are two runner friends I love running with – Nicola Cassidy and Chris Murphy,” he said. “Running is always more fun when I run with these two gentle souls.”

The obvious fitness benefits and positive vibes of successfully completing a challenge are two other characteristics of running Tahan enjoys but they are many others.

He cites improved self discipline and the will to complete a goal – whether it is a short training run, the intensity of a race or scheduling several months of charity races.image7

“It takes a tremendous effort to take the first step out the door, and continue the run as it was planned,” he said. “I also like listening to my thoughts when I’m running. It is when I criticize myself the most and I do that harshly, too. But strangely enough, I’m at peace with myself after every run. I generally finish all runs much happier than when I start.”

His move to Grand Manan took place this week and while he’ll be back in the Capital for the weekend, he’s had time to reflect on running and its meaning to him. Those thoughts range from goal setting and practise, to planning and seizing the moment, not waiting until every last item is in place before starting a new goal.image6

“You are much more capable than you know,” he said. “When you want to quit, try one more time. You may be just one more trial away from success.

“Almost nothing is impossible when you are surrounded with supporting family members, friends and colleagues. Surround yourself with knowledgeable, supporting, positive people. And don’t forget that you are that person for others.”

Kevin Barrett’s column appears every other Saturday. If you have a suggestion for a feature story, email him at or visit

The Running Whys – Laura Lee Mullin


laura-5Among Laura Lee Mullin’s most memorable runs was the one that happened before she was married, when she brought her future husband Robert along for what she described as a test run.

They had been dating just a few months and decided to go for a 5km jog together when Laura Lee, fuelled by her ‘competitive spirit,’ decided to take Robert on a little loop.

At least that’s what I told him,” recalls Mullin, a physiotherapist with the Department of National Defence the past 13 years. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Run for the Cure

personalThe UniCats. That was the name of the secret club Kathy and her friend Michelle had when they were 12 years old. UniCats believe in the power of magic/miracles (unicorns) and are as fierce as big cats.

Read Kathy’s Run For the Cure page here.

It is the perfect name for the team we are organizing for this year’s CIBC Run for the Cure on Sunday, Oct. 2. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Mark Scott

2015 Bluenose Marathon FinishThis story appeared in the Daily Gleaner on Aug. 27.

As a 40th birthday present to himself, Mark Scott adopted a philosophy of go big or go home.

So on Oct. 16, the Fredericton resident will be in Pownal, Maine, with eight of his running friends for the Big Brad Ultra, an 80-kilometre trail run that will test his endurance, commitment to training and reward a running career that has already achieved plenty in just six years.

I got it in my head that I wanted to do something memorable,” said Scott, who lives in the city with his wife Wendy and two daughters.

After four marathons in two years, I decided I was ready for a new challenge and this is what I decided on.Continue reading

The Running Whys – Dylan Magee

Dylan 2This year, we wanted to touch base with runners attending Marathon By The Sea from far and wide and we reached Dylan Magee of Texas. He was set to come to Saint John before a few things popped up unexpectedly and he had to change his plans. However, he gave the okay to run his Running Whys. Here it is.


I am 24 years old and currently live in Houston, TX but was actually born in Edmonton, Alberta and raised in a suburb of Dallas, TX. Continue reading

A Running Whys recap and a call for stories for 2017 MBTS.

White concrete room. Grungy urban wall and floor

Thank you and congratulations to those who took part in the 2016 Running Whys for the Emera Marathon By the Sea.

Now that the 2016 Emera Marathon By the Sea is in the books, it is not too early to look forward to 2017 and the next edition of the Running Whys. Each year since we started, the runners we have featured have produced a roll of amazing tales of  “Dedication, Inspiration and Perspiration.”

This year was no different and we are betting that there are many many more great stories out there in the running community. If you Continue reading

The Running Whys – Fran Robinson

FranThis article ran in the Daily Gleaner on August 13.

There is a special picture of Fran Robinson in her personal library, one from last winter’s cross-country ski season, set on a beautiful day, sun shining as she looks intently onto the track feeling fit, happy with her training and ready to race.

For Robinson, the Ontario native who moved to New Brunswick to study her master’s degree, it was the culmination of months of training, complete with her summer leg work that allows her to challenge herself and live through a philosophy of active living. Continue reading

The Running Whys – 2016 Marathon By the Sea previews in review

White concrete room. Grungy urban wall and floor

White concrete room. Grungy urban wall and floor background interior

One runner lost 70 pounds. Another dropped more than 45.

Several used the sport to deal with the stress of difficult family situations.

Two others detailed their reasons for volunteering at Emera Marathon By The Sea.

And one extremely special woman encouraged us to Never, Never, Never Give Up. Demonstrating determination and a strong will allow you to accomplish anything. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Virginia Joudrey

Virginia 4Virginia (Arbo) Joudrey was born and raised in the north end of Saint John, in a home on Sandy Point Road. She grew up, got married, started a family and moved away but always has kept a special spot for Saint John in her heart.

This weekend, she’ll be back, as she has in the past, to take part in the Emera Marathon By The Sea.

Here is a look at her motivation for running, how the sport has transformed her life as well as coming home for the big race weekend.



I now live in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia with my amazing husband Ed and together we have three wonderful children and three beautiful grandchildren – with another on the way in November. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Bill Joudry

Bill 2This is the 12th story in a series highlighting, runners, officials and special guests with the 2016 Emera Marathon By The Sea, which kicks off Friday in Saint John.

Bill Joudry has lived in Saint John for the past 29 years, raising a family, living life and working as a sales representative for Old Dutch Snacks for their key accounts.

Yet, until this May, Bill’s running log was empty.

“First, let me start by saying I have never ran before, EVER,” said Bill to kick off a recent interview. “I started this in May of 2016.” Continue reading