The Running Whys – Charlotte Flewelling

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Charlotte finished the 8km race at Hopewell Rocks, a major goal for her.

Running has always been part of Charlotte Flewelling’s life but now more than ever it is essential. Step by step, she is hitting some big personal goals. And she has her sights set on Marathon by the Sea in August. Here is today’s Running Whys.

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This year will mark three years since Charlotte Flewelling took up running. Looking back, appropriately enough after Father’s Day weekend, she says it was her Dad who provided her first inspiration for the sport, which has developed into a critical component so she can meet her health-related goals.

“Running has been part of my life since childhood,” said the 33-year-old Charlotte, a Moncton native who is planning to take part in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Se.

“My dad used to run when I was a wee child at the cottage. Before my brother and I would wake up, I remember dad finishing many runs. Sometimes, we (the kids) greeted him.”

She is the youngest in a family of five and growing up, she participated in sports such as soccer, softball, basketball, track & field throwing events, volleyball and badminton at Edith Cavell middle school and then tried out for some others at the former Moncton High, where she graduated in 2000.

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Charlotte competed in the 10k at the 2014 Blue Nose Marathon, her second ever race.

Fast forward to 2013. She had been feeling abnormally sick and not feeling at all like herself. She eventually went to the emergency department of the hospital and while she waited, she started to vomit bile.

“That was an indication that my body was shutting down on itself,” she explains. “I was diagnosed with pancreatitis because of gall stones. I waited and on the fifth day, I had a successful gallbladder removal.”

By noon of the following day, she was home from her first ever trip to the hospital.

It was there she was selected to become part of a local community run and take part in a learn-to-run clinic. She did not take part but the idea sparked her interest and eventually, in October, 2013, she competed in the annual Legs for Literacy in Moncton.

Check out our other features for Marathon By the Sea Paul Sands, Brenda Guitard, Sue Teakles and Andrée Germain.

“I saw I could race and I did,” she said.

It was a humbling experience but she did it, and it fuelled her motivation to continue.

“My greatest family running memory has to be mom taking part in her first race, Legs for Literacy 2015, in under 59 minutes and most recently, a hot humid 5k in Halifax at the Bluenose Marathon.

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Charlotte at the start line of Marathon By The Sea in 2015.

“Mom’s also my biggest fan and cheerleader, now she’s starting to understand what racing is about.”

As for the remainder of the year, she has it planned out.

“I’m the type of person who starts their planning in the winter months for the next year,” she said. “I set goals based on the race, how I feel during training and weather on race day. I’m trying to get a 45 minute or less 5k and recently took part in a bucket list run – the Hopewell Rocks multi terrain 8k, partly on the ocean floor (Bay of Fundy). As for long term goals, you never know where you’ll go, take it one step at a time.”

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Charlotte competes in the 5 km race at the 2015 Legs for Literacy in Moncton.

She trains solo but said her feedback comes from finishing a great run and also from interaction on social media.

“I do it solo with help from others through social media. Shoutout to my Twitter crew @RunAtCan (Running Atlantic Canada). I do have regular training routes, these depend on weather factors, how long I have to run and what distance I’m training for.

She said that feeling of community is vital in her approach.

“My favourite thing about running is community, both physically seeing each other at races and social media encouragement,” she explained. “I get some of the best help and cheering from my fellow runners. I also like going beyond myself and challenging myself to be better on any given day.”

As for her running philosophy, she admits the challenge can be daunting but well worth the effort.

“Running isn’t easy or everyone would do it,” she explained. “I believe that one step at a time, anyone can. Challenge yourself and see where it takes you. I didn’t realize I’d be mom’s coach or taking on a multi-terrain race. Don’t regret anything.”

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