Among 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.
“The loop wasn’t too little or easy – it was on a nine-kilometre loop in the middle of the winter, down Smythe Street and circling back up Hanwell Road on icy sidewalks. He wouldn’t stop or complain but, to this day, we still laugh about the little loop I took him on.“
Their relationship survived the little loop very nicely, they eventually married and call Fredericton home, where they are raising their two young daughters – Maya and Claire.
And Laura Lee‘s spirit for running remains strong, with 10 years of experience under her belt.
“I started running in 2006 because I became friends with another physiotherapist that was an avid runner,” Mullin said. “She had just run the Boston Marathon that spring and encouraged me to start running with her on our lunch hours.
“After she supported me when I completed a 10k distance in December that year, I had the confidence and completed my first half marathon in Fredericton the following May.”
And she’s been off and running since.
Mullin was born in rural Newfoundland and settled in New Brunswick in 2003 after she earned her physical therapy degree at Queen’s University. Running allows her a personal forum to practise what she preaches in terms of healthy, active living to her patients. That aspect is something she finds quite appealing.
“I love being a physiotherapist and that I get to bring my passion for running into the workplace,” she said. “I assess running injuries and help correct running technique for people to safely return to running and help prevent and recover from injury.
“I feel very fortunate to be part of the running community and plan to run as long as I can, lead by example and motivate others to run healthy and happily.”
As a racer, her results are impressive and this year, she’s looking to crack a personal best in the 5km, with a time lower than 21 minutes. She ran 21.08 in May, but her time happened on a course that ultimately measured 200 metres short.
“I was so disappointed but I plan to go for it again before the year is up,” she said.
Among her races last year, she was the third woman overall in the Joe McGuire 10k in Woodstock [46.24] and the Liv9 Fall Classic [44.19],winning her age class both times.
This year, she was second in the woman’s division of the 5k race at the Joe McGuire event and on Canada Day was third in a women’s 10-mile with a 1:17.10 clocking that day in Grand Bay-Westfield.
Now, she is preparing for the 21.1-k distance at the Liv9 Fall Classic.
In addition to her loop run with Robert, she’s enjoyed many significant outings, including the first time she ran 10 kilometres in Montreal with a close friend that got it all started.
“I was new to winter running, didn’t have winter running gear but I really wanted to run 10k for the first time,” Mullin said. “So she planned a 10k route from the course location back to the place we were staying, so there was opportunity to cut the run short.
“It was cold and snow packed and I was wearing a wool beanie, black leather gloves, thermal underwear and sweatpants – I have never been so heavily dressed for a run in my life.
“I still giggle about that run but, at the same time remember it as a turning point for me where I realized I am capable and it is achievable.”
Shortly after, she signed up for the Fredericton half marathon.
She credits the social bonds as a key for keeping her involved and not switching extensively to another form of activity, saying the quality time she spends with her friends is immeasurable, whether those are group runs in Oromocto on her lunch hours or on the Fredericton trail system during the weekends.
“I’ve become very close with all my running friends and because of them, I continue to improve and grow as a runner,” she said. “I love meeting other runners and striking up a conversation about running anytime I can.”
Kevin Barrett’s column appears every other Saturday. If you have a suggestion for a feature story, email him at email@example.com or visit barrettkevin.wordpress.com.