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

We are ready for liftoff

The Running Whys 2016 will kick off in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner this Saturday with a feature on Nat Couture, one of many NB runners headed to the Boston Marathon. He’s looking to improve on a 2:50 clocking last year. As always, if you know of someone you think has a great story, drop us a line.

The Running Whys – Kent Barrett


Kent Barrett smiles after setting a new personal best at the 2015 Chicago Marathon

Kent Barrett of Charlottetown has worked on a major running goal for a while and in May, he will tackle the Fredericton Marathon to gauge his progress. He started running while living in Vancouver, got into a more intense involvement back on P.E.I. and now has a number of marathons on his resume. We ran the Chicago Marathon together where he posted a personal best of 3:53.34 in scorching hot conditions in the Windy City last October. This is the first of the 2016 Running Whys and outlines his plans for an even better clocking. Enjoy.


The Running Whys – Kent Barrett

What marathons have you competed in?

I have run the P.E.I. Marathon five times, Legs for Literacy in Moncton once and the Chicago Marathon (2015).

Continue reading

The Running Whys – Jacqueline Boucher

Jacqueline Boucher will compete in the half marathon division of the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea.

Jacqueline Boucher will compete in the half marathon division of the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea.

This is the 10th story in a series previewing the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea.

For Jacqueline Boucher, running has provided her many gifts, from fitness to inspiration to major goal setting. In some ways though, the most rewarding aspect was peace of mind, assisting her through some tough times and helping her celebrate the best moments of all, specifically the birth of her daughter last summer. Jacqueline is back running, training for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea, looking for a specific goal time in the half marathon. Here is Jacqueline’s Running Whys story.

by Jacqueline Boucher
When I was approached to write about why I run, the answer truly stumped me. I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and playing sports but my running “career” is relatively Continue reading

The Running Whys – Mark Clinton

Mark Clinton

Mark Clinton never thought he’d be a runner but he got the spark shortly after he completed his first race. Photo courtesy of Gilles Gautreau.

There was a time when Mark Clinton was not a runner. He tried but even though he purchased exercise equipment, he would avoid it. Eventually, a spark was lit, he trained for a race and was hooked. But more importantly, he was exposed to the incredible race day atmosphere and hasn’t looked back, savouring the relationships he has developed along the way to improved fitness. Here is his Running Whys story, a reflection on his journey and a testament to the supportive running community in Saint John that he cherishes so much.



by Mark Clinton

I was never a runner.

I admired runners, I hung around with runners, my father was a runner, but I didn’t think I had the discipline or patience to be one of those people. Where do you even start?

In 2009 I bought a treadmill. I justified the purchase 15 different ways, with 15 different promises to myself and my wife Holly. And there it sat, unused, for four years. It became Continue reading

In Tanya’s words – The Running Whys

photo tanya

Tanya Munroe qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon when she hit the qualifying standard at the 2013 P.E.I. Marathon.

“My running partner from home was running with us and the enthusiasm was infectious. My husband, who has never seen any of my races, had even come to watch…The beginning of the PEI Marathon is in PEI National Park, along the ocean, and it was the most beautiful, peaceful race start I have ever been at.”

I met Tanya for the first time less than 24 hours before the P.E.I. Marathon in October when we were both in the carb loading phase for the race. During that pasta night, she casually mentioned she was trying to qualify for Boston, needing to shave just a few minutes off her previous best clocking. Tanya and Kathy were friends when they were studying at  Acadia and in the past few years, reconnected through social media and running. We were happy to meet just prior to the big race on the Island.

This is her story from 2013.




by Tanya Munroe

In October of this year I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Putting this in type seems a bit surreal, as this had been a ridiculous goal when I set foot on my treadmill in January 2011. In fact, I had no goals at that time (except to get off the damn thing).

My return to running after a 26 year hiatus was prompted by Continue reading

Shooting for 3:59:59

Moncton run 061

As I mentioned earlier today, there are always a lot of questions regarding goal times for big races and those standards, I have found, become deep secrets for many runners. It is quite understandable why this is the case.

PHOTO above: That’s me, yellow shirt, left, crossing the finish line at the Legs for Literacy Marathon last year with my daughters (pink and blue jackets). The chip time in my first marathon was 4:13:13. (April Cunningham photo)

First, there are a host of external concerns that are totally out of control – weather, wind, temperatures, a slightly long course, hills you did not count on seeing when you registered and others aspects that can add to your anticipated goal.

Second, and probably just as telling, is the impact of training. Did you get out enough times per week? Have you racked up enough distance in your preparation? Are you running easy courses (i.e. no hills) in training? Will you go out too fast in the first kilometre and not run the smart race? Was your goal time in training too ambitious? Did you eat properly? How is your weight? Were you sick or injured recently? Did you sleep enough?

As you can see, it is quite easy for doubts to creep in before the horn sounds.

So there are a number of reasons why many, including me, are reluctant to ‘broadcast’ anticipated times prior to the big event. Finishing healthy is a good response to goal queries, with a smile of course. And then there are the accountability questions no one really wants after a long run if you come up short, in what is a recreational setting. Generally  though, I have been too conservative in my quiet goal setting, thinking there is no way I’d do better than X:XX:XX, only to surprise myself with a great result. The best example of this was the Fredericton half in 2012, when I hit 1:42:53 on the flat and fast course on a nice and cool morning when I was not too certain my training regiment was up to par after a long winter.It was a PB by almost 5 mins.

But last year, when I went to run in Moncton, after a subsequently tough 1:52:53 half marathon clocking in the humidity and hills of Saint John, I really did not have a firm marathon goal. I was thinking anywhere from 3:50-4:30. Would I even finish? Had I not hit the wall because a number of poor training factors on my part – I might have cracked 4 hours. But lessons, many of them, got registered.

I followed a familiar script in goal setting for that race though. That is, have a lot of mini targets and then, you can adjust based on the external conditions and how you feel. That day, I thought about the absolute best possible result, based on pre-race perceptions. Then the very worst. Then three goals inside of those windows. I did this in my first race about three years ago and most every one since. I just did not say them out loud.

So why all the talk about the final time here in the third week of training for the P.E.I. Marathon, an event that does not kick off until October?

Because, as the Pfitzer training logs say, every training run needs a target based on a final goal pace. Your critical long slow runs clock in 10-20 per cent slower than your anticipated marathon pace. Recovery runs are 15 per cent slower than goal pace. Tempo runs are right at half marathon pace or even 15k pace. Hills are, well, subjects of profanity.

So even before you get going in your first training run, you need that firm target.

Therefore, given last year’s race, my decent base of work in the first quarter of this year, and a manageable 22 weeks of training to get things right, I think I can break four hours. It won’t be easy. First, the goal is about 5.5 per cent faster than my last marathon. That is 13 minutes, 14 seconds faster. It will take a big improvement in a  number of areas and training in that summer heat. But I am ready for that. It will also take regular hills and tempo runs. Ready for that – I hope. And just to make sure, I am training for a 3:55 marathon. That puts me at about a goal pace of  5:35 per kilometre. 4 hours is 5:41.

So there it is. Fingers crossed.

Day 1, Week 1

I got the calculator out this weekend and determined that my timeline for PEI consists of 154 days. Daunting when expressed in those terms. But the best part of the plans are the various sub goals and mini goals along the way, as well as some test runs to assess fitness and progress.

However, if there is one sure-fire way to get motivation levels boosted, particularly at the start of a 22-week journey, then reading the results of friends and their performances at major events on their running schedules is the way to do that.

In early May, my wife Kathy was rewarded for her dedication to cross training and running as she knocked almost two minutes off her best time in the 5k. Even more impressive was the time was almost seven full minutes faster than 5k we ran when we lived in Fredericton – in 1999.

Just two Sundays ago, my former TJ colleague April Cunningham blazed through the Fredericton half marathon and knocked about 14 minutes off her previous best time for the half marathon. If you know April, you can appreciate her dedication and progress after a relatively short time in the sport.

Also in Fredericton, an old media colleague Andrew Holland completed the Fredericton half marathon, approximately one year after some significant health issues kept him away from the training circuit.

This past Sunday, a former Guardian staffer Shelley Carroll drove from her home in Amherst to the 10th annual Bluenose Marathon. Shelley, whose been active in the sport for  a number of years, kicked some serious ass, clocking in approx 3:38 to qualify for her first Boston Marathon.

So when you see results like these, it is easy to get out the door and back on the roads.

For me, the first official day of training was a 10k run Sunday morning, in 8C temperatures. I am still getting over the flu and my enthusiasm was lacking somewhat but I completed the distance in a steady 5:45/km.

Congrats to all who accomplished goals in the past couple of weeks in Fredericton and Halifax.

Well done.

This week’s schedule: 5 runs, approx 40-45 kms. Base training.

– Kevin