One new facet of our Running Whys program for 2016 is a look at volunteers and other people associated with the 2016 Emera Marathon By The Sea. There is no better place to start than with the race’s executive director Mike Doyle, a name many will recognize around the provincial and local running scene.
We asked him a few questions about this year’s MBTS and running from his perspective.
- First, tell me a bit of your background, your family. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
I am a proud Saint John-er with two kids and a wonderful partner Shelley. As of September last year, I retired after 37 years and 14 days with CN Rail.
- When did you start to run?
I started running at age 14 by running back and forth to school during lunch time. It was always a challenge to get back to school before lunch was over.
- Most importantly, why did you start to run and why did you start to volunteer with MBTS?
I began running at the age of 14 mostly to fill a void. I wanted to stay in shape but I didn’t really have the athletic talent or coordination to play team sports in school. One thing I learned pretty early at the team tryouts was that coaches were impressed with my speed. However, as most sports go, having a couple of talents will get you alot further than just one.
I founded the MBTS back in 1995. In the fall of 1992 I ran the New York City Marathon and found the positive attitude and carnival atmosphere electric… jump forward to August 1993. While walking around the Festival by the Sea Celebration at Market Square, I found the same atmosphere as I did the previous fall in New York. I envisioned runners coming down Saint Patrick Street to roaring crowds and it hooked me. So I started the adventure with no organizational experience, no idea what to do. I began the search for help and it took nearly 14 months to get someone to consider getting involved. Then in August 1995, the first Festival by the Sea ignited the running community with approx 350 participants.
- Many people have goal for a particular year – what were/are your big goals for 2016 and beyond – personally and for the race.
Personally, I take one day at a time and try to enjoy each day like it’s my last. I hope to run either a half or full marathon in the fall. Running organized events is something I have not done in six years
For the race, it’s my hope to finally be able to strengthen the MBTS committee by getting people to step up… over the last six years the Marathon by the Sea has depended on the same six committee members multi-tasking to get everything done. This year, we lost another very valuable member bringing our numbers down again.
- What is your most memorable run, memorable MBTS? Maybe there are two or three?
The most memorable times for me would be year one, watching the event come together. I had no idea what I was doing but was determined to make it happen. After that time, it just seemed to fly by and then the infamous 1998 Monsoon by the Sea, renamed for the torrential downpours, thunder and lighting and ankle deep water on course. It tested both participants and volunteers.
Finally, the memories of watching the new runners come across the finish line for the first time is something I find inspiring. Both men and women alike tear up with excitement when they attain the goal that they thought was out of their reach.
- Do you have regular training partners, a regular training route?
My regular training partners for the last couple of years have been my Jack Russells – Abby and Jackson who roam the trails of Rockwood Park daily with me.
- What do you like most about running?
I think I mostly like starting a run with a head full of questions and thoughts and by the time I get back, everything is sorted and solved.
- Do you have any other thoughts about running you would like to share?
I think most of all if I could bottle the feeling and emotions that runners feel coming across that finish line for the first time, I would be a rich man… but for now I am just happy being a part of the excitement and meeting some of the nicest people in running year after year …Run Strong, Run Proud.. but more importantly, Just Run.