The Running Whys – Paul Lavoie

Paul LavoieIt was 1978 and Paul Lavoie had just returned to Fredericton to live after spending several years in Yellowknife in one of his early career postings with the federal government.

Once settled back in the New Brunswick capital in his role as a regional manager for Natural Resources Canada, he was comfortable with administration. But with many long hours at the desk, he realized he needed to get back into shape. Continue reading

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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 – 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 Volunteer Whys – Joe Comeau

JOe photoAt 25 years old, Joe Comeau is ready to celebrate a major volunteering milestone.
Next month, Joe will take part in his 10th edition of the Marathon By the Sea, part of a loyal and dedicated core of supporters who help to make the race rock.
He assists with everything from course set up to taking a lot of outstanding photos that capture the spirt of the event. As a result, he transformed into one of the biggest boosters of Saint John’s grand marathon race, which runs Aug. 12-14 with a packed weekend of activities. 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.

Enjoy.

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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

The Running Whys – Lacey Clowater

Lacey Clowater crosses the finish line at the Fredericton half marathon in May

Lacey Clowater crosses the finish line at the Fredericton half marathon in May

This is the eighth story in a series profiling runners who will compete in the 2oth anniversary running of Emera Marathon By the Sea Marathon in Saint John. The stories are also running on the MBTS Facebook page and MBTS website.

Editor’s note: Lacey Clowater has come full circle in the running game, from aspiring runner to course conductor to this spring – a half marathoner. But as she prepares for the 12 k event at the 20th anniversary running of Emera Marathon By The Sea, she does so with additional inspiration gained from her closest allies. These are the same people whose touching display of support in the final stages of the Fredericton Half Marathon provided Lacey with an emotional and lasting memory that will never fade away. They have also helped her gain a special sense of appreciation for all she has accomplished in a relatively short time.

Enjoy

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I get by with a little help from my friends… Continue reading

The Running Whys – Marcie Holland

Marcie Holland smiles before the start of last weekend’s River Valley 5k Rave in Grand Bay-Westfield.

Marcie Holland smiles before the start of last weekend’s River Valley 5k Rave in Grand Bay-Westfield.

Editor’s note: Just a year ago, Marcie Holland’s Marathon By The Sea experience ignited her passion for endurance sport. Funny thing is, she wasn’t running last year – but watching her sister Shelley Doucet.

Yet the emotions associated with MBTS, the sight of her sibling crossing the finish line and witnessing tears of joy and celebrations of so many others made an impact on Marcie that lasted well after the event wrapped up.

It fueled a motivation to get active, deal with nagging fatigue and sparked a desire even she could not have imagined. Through it all, she credits her sister Shelley for opening her eyes and in some ways, saving her life. It also solidified their sibling bond stronger than ever.

This year, Marcie is enjoying amazing results on the provincial racing scene and last week, she finished in the top-10 overall in the women’s event at the River Valley Rave in Grand Bay-Westfield.

Her exceptional story of fighting through some early struggles to her current success follows.

Enjoy

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My sister decided to run the half marathon at Marathon by the Sea in Saint John six days before the race with her husband in August of 2013. I watched at several locations along the route as we drove from place to place.

I will never forget watching all of the runners at the start coming down the bridge towards Crown Street. You could see the depth of runners because of the hill and it was incredible. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Shelley Doucet

Shelley Doucet, shown here at last weekend's River Valley Rave 5km, has taken the provincial running scene by storm with a record-setting start to 2014.

Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis has taken the provincial running scene by storm with a record-setting start to 2014. She has already qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon and will run the full at the Marathon By The Sea this August in Saint John.

Editor’s note: This time last year, Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis and her husband Evan felt they could save half the time if they took their dogs running each day instead of their normal walk. They were busy, with two young children and demanding jobs, including Shelley’s role as a professor in nursing at the University of New Brunswick.

But in addition to the time saved, they rediscovered their admiration of the sport and a short time later, Shelley decided to enter Marathon By The Sea, signing up for the half marathon the day before the event. Since then, the results have been nothing short of electric, especially this year, with numerous victories in the provincial running scene including four course records since April.

Last week, for example, she set a new mark at the River Valley Rave 5k, coming in under 18 minutes and last fall, she qualified for the Boston Marathon in her first marathon.

In a few months, she will return to Marathon By the Sea, where this incredible string of success started last August.

Her amazing story follows below:

From a young age, I was actively involved in a variety of sports, such as basketball, ringette, hockey, and soccer. This later carried over into playing on provincial (rugby, soccer) and university (hockey, soccer) sports teams. I always tended to stray away from individual sports, such as track, as I preferred to compete as a team. The reality is that I would put too much pressure on myself otherwise. Continue reading

The Running Whys – Toby Richardson

toby 2

Toby Richardson of Fredericton, shown here in the finish area at the 2013 Marathon By The Sea in Saint John, qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon last October in Moncton and is one of the approximately 2,100 runners expected to participate in the 2014 Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon May 11. Photo Submitted.

 

This is the second of three stories in the Daily Gleaner (@dailygleaner) on runners who will be competing in the Fredericton Marathon next week.

Toby outlines her courageous fight that involved her family, friends but more importantly, her own commitment. Among the rewards along this 4.5 year period of recovery was qualifying for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

But the personal rewards along her journey are much more significant.

Her story is below.

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For over two decades, Toby Richardson relied on food and alcohol as her crutches to get through life.

All that changed four and half years ago when the Fredericton resident rediscovered a passion for running and began rebuilding, aiming toward a better way of life.

Richardson, 45, will be one of more than 250 marathon runners at next week’s Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon, but for her, this run is just another step in a journey that is much longer than the 42.2 km route and much more important.

Richardson’s story, however, is not about the pursuit of fast times and finish lines but an inspirational personal recovery that’s taken courage, support and dedication. It’s one that won’t end with the 36th annual edition of the popular race.

“Four and a half years ago, I was sick, 50 pounds overweight and nearing the end of my 22 year drinking career,” said Toby, as her training for the Marathon reached the final stages. “Getting sober changed my life as I knew it and it was far more difficult than completing a marathon. I was forced to dig deep to rebuild a life that was to become more meaningful, balanced and healthy.”

One of the key steps in her recovery was starting to run again 10 years after completing a half marathon that admittedly didn’t go that well. Now, she’s got two marathons under her belt and has even qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon. In addition to relying on running to help in her recovery, Richardson enlisted the help of her personal network, those whose love and support were critical, serving as another collective crutch in her journey.

Specifically, she cites her parents, David and Glenna Richardson, her boyfriend Jamie Pickard and her girlfriends Maryanne Davies, Tina Waterhouse-Campbell and Lisa Stafford.

With them and their unwavering support, guidance and just being there, they’ve helped during the most difficult moments in her recovery and as well as being on hand to celebrate the special moments.

They will be there with her next Sunday – if not physically, then in spirit – saluting their daughter, friend and partner and she races with approximately 2,100 others in all of the distances through the streets and trails of New Brunswick’s Capital City.

“My support team is extensive both on the trail and off,” Toby said. “There are days I have difficulty connecting the dots or even tying my shoe laces. Living with G.A.D.(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) would be impossible without guidance from the mental health professionals at Victoria Health Center. My girlfriends have seen me at my worst and continue to love me when I can’t love myself.

“Same goes for a strong and supportive boyfriend (who’s also running) and incredible parents who see my successes especially when I don’t. I’m surrounded by love and support.”

As for running, Richardson competed and completed her first marathon last August, in 23C conditions at the Marathon By The Sea, where she clocked a 4:27.09 time.

“I was so proud, never imagining I’d ever make the finish line,” she said.

It spurred her on but even the most optimistic people could not have imagined what happened next, when at the Legs for Literacy Marathon in October, she shaved more than 35 minutes off her time in 10C conditions and qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon in 3:51.37.

“Qualifying for Boston is something that will always be special for me personally.”

Richardson was born in Fredericton and for the past 14 years, has called Marysville home, so she is well aware of the city’s trail system that makes up a large portion of the Fredericton Marathon’s double-loop course.

This upcoming event, for her, is part of prep work for Boston next April and she is aiming to escape next weekend free of injury. A new personal best won’t hurt either.

However, in the bigger picture, it’s 42.2 km further along in her emotional and important journey.

“Overcoming stress and anxiety is a life long journey, so if my new crutch is running, I’ll take it along with all its many benefits,” she said. “I run for my mental health, my love of chocolate, self-esteem and for recovery. I’m 4.5 years sober and I am a runner.”

Continue reading