Countdown to Marathon By The Sea

…….. The Running Whys – Johanne Thériault


by Kevin Barrett

As Johanne Thériault details her busy running schedule, whether it be training on the road near her home in Nigadoo or outlining her plans to race in Berlin, Chicago and Saint John this year, the question usually turns to her motivations.

That’s where the 34-year-old city solicitor for the City of Bathurst can get emotional.

“It’s always a question I like to brush off, because the answer is pretty personal,” says Johanne. “It’s something that is still hard to even say out loud.”

As Father’s Day approaches, many thoughts this weekend are with family. For Johanne, it’s a tough time as she thinks of her dad – Fernand – who died in January of 2016 after a 13-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

In the days and weeks after his passing, it was suggested she try some form of physical activity to assist during the extremely difficult grieving period. It was then she discovered running, which has provided her with many gifts, including therapy and some peace of mind.

14333577_10154703433728029_8036785271002679892_n“My doctor, instead of prescribing me something not to “worry so much” or to help me to sleep, told me to find something to meditate myself, to ease my soul,” she said. “When I decided to start running, it completely changed my life. Devoting so much time to running gave me alone time to think about everything.”

Johanne now has a collection of half marathons on her running resume – events in Fredericton, Moncton, Edmundston and Miramichi and last August, she completed her first 42.2 km race at the Emera Marathon By The Sea.

She wonders what she would have done without that physical outlet to channel her father’s death.

Johanne remembers vividly that Boxing Day in 2014 when she got the news something was wrong. Fernand woke up that morning with a stomach pain and decided to go get it checked, because he thought he had a flu bug or something reasonably minor.

Instead, the diagnosis was stunning – Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was given several months to live, if he was lucky.
“I can literally replay this day in my head like it was yesterday,” she said. “I knew from that day, that nothing will ever be the same.”

At the time, she was a newly-separated, single mom of two little girls, working as a Crown Prosecutor. She also bought a new home. Life was so busy.

Fernand even paid her a house-warming visit when he was well enough.

She admits feeling guilty in that she was caring for her girls, working a demanding job but desperately wanting to give even more time to support her ailing Dad.
“The day my dad visited, he arrived as a very skinny old man with no hair,” she explained. “That was one of the hardest days for sure. During that visit, he sat in my living room watching the Baie-des-Chaleurs and he promised me to come back.

“He never came back.”

She treasures his influence on her life as well as the impact he had on others. She recalls once in hospital when a male nurse visited her father and said, “Thank you, Mr. Thériault for saving my life.”

“He explained that my father, a social worker, had taken care of him as a teenager and had found him the ideal foster family.”
After Fernand’s funeral services ended and the tough weeks that followed had passed, Johanne embraced the notion of running more to help her state of mind. She trained hard, gained confidence and eventually registered for her half marathon in Fredericton in May of 2016.

MSAC0855-20x30“Right away, I came home (from Fredericton) to sign up for my first marathon,” she explained. “That summer, I ran a lot of races around the province. I was completely hooked. Running was the cure-all to everything. I did my first full marathon in Saint John that same summer.”

She’s also competed in half marathons in Edmundston and Moncton as well as other events in varying distances around the province.

View MBTS results from 2016

“I take a lot of pride in the fact that I can now deal with hard things completely by myself, without anyone’s help,” she says. “I never looked back after my first run. My days now are built around how many miles I want to run that day. I have the best running buddies ever, to share my love of running. I was completely lost, until I found myself out on the trails. I’m a true believer of everything happens for a reason.”

This year at MBTS, Johanne will run the Port of City Challenge – the Into the Night 5km, on Friday, Aug 11, the Middleton and Associates Harbour Passage 5 km on Saturday, Aug. 12 and the Emera Marathon By the Sea on Sunday, Aug. 13. It is another weekend on a busy slate of events that will also include events in the RunNB SuperSeries as well as participation in the Berlin Marathon in September and the Chicago Marathon in October.

Those larger races are part of her plan to run each of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors before she turning 40. At 34, she will be off to a great start if she is successful in 2017.
And it a good bet that she will share the memory of Fernand in every one of them.

Dianna Payne – Running Whys

Dianna Payne

by Kevin Barrett

It’s been 10 years since Dianna Payne found running.

It’s a relationship still going strong – one she gives credit to many factors, including her participation in her first race – the 2007 Emera Marathon By The Sea.
But for Dianna, her love for running goes beyond the fitness benefits she gains. It is about her social network, which plays a critical role in how the sport has grown into such an important part of her life.

“It was fun and I was meeting new people,” she said of her first steps. “I find with how things have gone, I can’t give it up because then, I am not going to see the friends I made. That probably sounds silly but in my mind, it works. If I want to see my friends, I have to keep running.”

Since beginning in 2007, she has raced in every MBTS, other than 2012, and while training can be tough, she’s always enjoyed the race itself.

“Even during the race, the people you get to talk to from all over the place, it is quite amazing. It does not matter what you do for a living – it is just, ‘hey, how are doing?’ It is interesting and fun.”

Please read previous Running Whys stories on Brian and Katie Molloy and Blair Bass.

Dianna, born and raised in Saint John, works as a security officer at Irving Pulp & Paper. Her initial running motivation came as she wanted to get in shape when she was thinking about applying to become an RCMP officer, knowing she needed to prepare for the tough fitness tests.
She learned about training sessions at the GoodLife Gym’s location at the Rothesay Ave Superstore, signed up for a learn-to-run clinic, and got going with a one-minute run, one-minute walk program.

While she changed her mind on her career path, she never stopped running and today, she’s surprised and pleased with her decade of progress.
“I just try to go out and have fun and try to get some exercise in at the same time,” she said. “It was hard to run but it was an activity that became a bit easier for me.
“Even 10 years later, I find it hard to believe I can talk and run at the same time.”

Register for this year’s Marathon By The Sea

20170406_233305In 2011, she travelled with Brenda Guitard, Sherri Colvill-McCavour and Marta Kelly to complete a half marathon at Disneyland in California and then the next year, she was part of a New Brunswick group that raced the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Dianna ran a full marathon and several other shorter races.
At Disneyland, she decided to mark the occasion with a special Canada shirt she bought at the Running Room.
“There was a guy in the same corral as me, who turns out was from B.C., and was wearing the exact same shirt,” she said. “A girl behind us wanted to know if she could take a picture of us, thinking we were together…we had no idea who each other was. Looking back, it was neat to have that Canadian connection.”

View MBTS results from 2016

In August, Dianna is planning to compete in the Port City Challenge for MBTS, running the Into the Night 5km on Friday, the Middleton and Associates Harbour Passage 5 km on Saturday and the Running Room half marathon on Sunday.
Last year, she ran the 5/5/10 and the previous year, she competed the 5/5/half components.
“Marathon By The Sea is my go-to race,” she said. “Ten years ago, I stared running in June and did my first 10km that September at Marathon By The Sea. It is the one race I have to go in.”

It’s been a busy year already.FB_IMG_1492291722239

She ran the 10-kilometre distance at the Hypothermic half marathon, the Fredericton Half Marathon, the 5 km and the full events at the Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax and the half in Sussex’s Across Town for Crosswinds event.

This weekend, she is headed to the Dartmouth 5k Sole Sisters Saturday and then will ride the bike as part of a team in the Hampton Ladies Triathlon Sunday. After that, she will race the half marathon as the Bay of Fundy International Marathon in Campobello and compete in the Tely 10 in Newfoundland before running in Saint John.

“It keeps me occupied,” said Dianna with a laugh. “What I like most about running are the friends that I made along the way. They keep me going and it opened up a whole world to try different things like triathlons and destination travel.”

______The Running Whys – Brian and Katie Molloy


by Kevin Barrett

The Running Molloys.

It’s a name that takes some time to get accustomed to, especially for a Saint John couple participating in this year’s Emera Marathon By The Sea.
But Brian and Katie Molloy have bonded while training, enjoyed the benefits from their efforts and even have their two children involved in 5-kilometre runs to prepare for this year’s event.
It is worth considering it was just a few years ago when Katie, a physical education teacher at Valley Christian Academy, took up the sport and was joined shortly thereafter by Brian, the pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church.

“I struggle with depression and running was a great antidepressant for me,” said Katie, who grew up in Quispamsis. “It helps to clear my mind and refocus. Because of this, I wanted to make it permanent part of my life.

Brian 1“Running is a great way for our family to spend time together, outside, getting exercise. It is important to Brian and I that our kids see a good example prioritizing health and fitness.”
Brian, a native of New York who has spent the past 15 years in New Brunswick, was a runner when he was younger but it stopped as he developed his career and started a family. However, when Katie got into it again, it was a signal to reignite his engine.

“I first started running in college as a means to lose weight and become healthier,” he explained. “After college, I stopped running because of the busy-ness of life. When Katie started running over the last few years, I decided to get back into it for us to spend more time together and for me to get back into better physical shape.”

See preview Running Whys story on Blair Bass.

Now married for 10 years, Brian and Katie are taking part in the Into the Night 5 km to kick off race weekend in August with their children, soon to nine-year-old Jackson and seven-year-old Sophie,
“I love that we do it as a family,” Katie said.

While she started running more consistently two years ago, she began competing in races last year, in part because she was organizing a 5-km event for her school’s physical education program.
“I figured that I should participate in one of these events first before I planned my own,” she said. “So Brian and I ran our first race in the Brent Kelly Memorial 5-Miler. I was hooked.”

For Brian, the physical benefits are important but like Katie, the mental clarity he gains during and after a run hits home, given his role at the church.
“General physical health is usually the main motivating factor for the ‘why’ I run,” he said. “That being said, the reason I continue to run, even if I meet my physical goals, is because of the mental health is gives me. Running allows me to clear my mind and not give into the stresses of my job. Running allows me to rest and sleep better which in turn allows my mind to be sharper.
“Running also allows me to enjoy simple goodness. Much of my job entails understanding and explaining God in an information sort of way. Running confronts me with the reality of a body that functions, air that smells good, scenery that is pleasant to look at and a mind that keeps pushing when it would be easier to quit. Running allows me to enjoy the goodness of this world, it allows me to enjoy God in a more practical way.”

Register for this year’s race.

The Molloys were among the first to sign up for this year’s Marathon By The Sea and will compete in the Port City Challenge – the Into the Night 5km Friday, Aug 11, the Harbour Passage 5km Saturday, Aug. 12 and the half marathon on Sunday, Aug. 13.
That 21.1 km distance once seemed so daunting for Katie, she’s wasn’t sure she’d be able to accomplish her goal. Getting out regularly has changed her thinking.

“When I started running, the idea of running a half marathon seem impossible to me,” she said. “However, I encourage my students to challenge themselves and I thought, ‘what kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t do the same?’ And so, after doing last summer’s Into the Night 5K for the Marathon by the Sea, Brian and I decided that this summer, we would do the Port City Challenge.

Brian 6“Our kids, will be joining us for the night run. They have each ran two 5k races as well as two virtual 5ks and regular running with Brian and I.”
Katie is not motivated by speed comparisons to others.

“I am not fast. I don’t run to win, but to do my best. I always tell my students that they are not competing against each other but themselves.”
Brian jokes that his main fitness goal is to remain alive after Marathon By The Sea ends but ultimately, wants to remain committed to running, long after race day ends.
“I find it easy to get out of the rhythm, and I would like running to remain an aspect of my personal life along with me family,” he said.

View results from 2016.

Several runs stick out for both Katie and Brian.

For Katie, it was toughing it out through the heat at last year’s Canada Day 10 km event in Grand Bay-Westfield.
“It was super-hot and it was my longest run up to that point,” she recalls. “It was memorable because I almost quit after the first 5k lap. I was exhausted, but at the last minute, I told Brian that I wanted to keep going.”

There was another for her as well – the recent Valley Christian Academy’s 2nd Annual Fun Run 5K.
“I was the race director and Brian had a foot injury, so for the first time, we weren’t running with (Jackson and Sophie). I was so excited when they both came in with a personal best at 38 and 39 minutes.”

Brian enjoy that run as well in addition to that 2016 Brent Kelly 5-Miler, “as it was my first ‘real’ run that I took part in.”

Another was the 2016 Outflow’s Run for Shelter because it was the first run they did as a family.

Undoubtedly, a series of highlights will occur Aug 11-13 at Marathon By The Sea.

2017 The Running Whys – Blair Bass

Blair print

by Kevin Barrett

For many runners, training takes place in the dark, the early morning hours before sunrise, the calm before the day’s responsibilities kick into gear.

With others, running is powerful therapy in an escape from an internal darkness, a forum to invigorate their soul, a setting to flee from life’s challenges or a mental home in which to find important solutions.

Blair Bass, a 32-year-old Saint John native, credits running for allowing him to deal with his own mental health issues and in many ways, has assisted a personal growth that’s led him to lose 60 pounds, go under 23 minutes in a 5-Km race and post a strong result in his first marathon.

There are more important areas though.

It’s been over a decade since he’s faced the darkest of days, when he contemplated suicide. He’s recovered – a credit to loving support from his family, education he gained en route to a pair of degrees and the works of many authors, who have enlightened and inspired him. He salutes the efforts of anyone who brings mental health issues into the forefront, including Olympian Clara Hughes and the Bell Let’s Talk campaign.

As we kick off the 2017 Running Whys for this year’s Emera Marathon By The Sea, Blair explains the long road to his own transformation and the treasured reasons why MBTS holds such a special place in his heart.

He was always a runner (his grandfather was a national class miler) but he restarted in earnest with three laps at the indoor track at the YMCA in March of 2016. He progressed quickly and last summer, took on the challenge of the Into the Night run at MBTS, recording a remarkable time of 22:35 for 5-kilometres.
He’s kept going and as lifelong asthma concerns lessened, he increased his training distances and times, recently clocking a 3:32:47 result at the Fredericton Marathon several weeks ago – a major bucket list item.

“The therapeutic nature is what appeals to me for my regular running,” he said. “My naturally competitive nature (that is, with myself, constant self-improvement) lends to the racing aspect. I love lowering my personal bests. Crossing those finish lines and seeing an unexpected time is a terrific feeling. The accomplishment is the offshoot of the therapy.”

The 2017 Marathon By The Sea marks a special one year anniversary for Blair, who will run Into the Night 5K, the Harbour Passage 5k and the Quarter Marathon events on race weekend this Aug. 11-13.

What follows is his open account of why those events are important to him. It’ a powerful and honest assessment of where he’s come from and where he is going.

We hope you enjoy Blair’s account.

As part of a series Running Whys, I was given eight interview questions. The focal point and most important question was just that: why do I run? To answer this question, I decided to get a little bit in depth. I have never been comfortable addressing my mental health issues in an open forum. I am offering a small insight into my thoughts on mental health issues, how I deal with them and dealing with the stigma attached.

Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.

I am a 32-year-old male. I am a university graduate and generally productive member of society. Always a bit on the quiet side (at first), I am generally not one to open up about anything. Honestly, in addressing this topic of mental illness, however, I feel there are benefits. I have struggled with mental health issues for the last 14 years of my life. I quote this Shakespearean passage above to echo a familiarity with my situation: the acceptance of state of my mind, that perhaps only I can truly understand and address the healing of it, and, finally, that I have decided almost entirely that medication is not the route in which I want to address it.

And thus, I answer the question at hand. This is why I run. It is my therapy.

I started running for health reasons—mental and physical. While a university student in Fredericton, I suffered a considerable setback in life. An underlying mental health issue had crept unto me and was eventually devastatingly exploited by my-then, unwavering curiosity about exploration of the mind and modes of consciousness.
Functionality had become a problem. I moved home to my fully supportive parents and regrouped. I was lucky to have them at my side for over a year while I figured out how to get things back on track. I did. With the help of many, I got back to school and started my life again.

Almost a decade later, I had decided that the cocktail of medication I was on had been a crutch long enough. Coming off was not easy. To cope, I found running to be my primary therapy. Hand in hand with mental health is taking care of my physical health.

After coming home and addressing my mental-health issues, a combination of reduced exercise, non-mindful eating and medication side effects caused me to put on a good amount of weight. I am currently down about 60 pounds from my heaviest (including a period of about four months when I started running, where I lost over half of that chunk).

I wasn’t sure where to fit this in but I want to make one thing clear – I am not on a crusade against pharmaceutical medication. It is simply not for me. I leaned on it, but for far too long. It robbed me of my personality as the quintessential “me” had disappeared.

Not everyone can do this.

I am not completely un-medicated. I do not advise that this is what everyone should do. This is simply my story. My struggle is continuous but manageable.
I run to both escape and face demons. It’s incredibly freeing in one sense. When I want to get lost in music and forget about life for a bit, I run. It can incredibly introspective in another sense. I use running as a time to contemplate and address my mental issues.

There’s something about the act that allows me approach my mental health from a perspective that sedentary practices cannot provide. An allowance is made in which I can find myself at once the observer and the observed. Not always, but I do get insights into the workings of my thoughts, mental processes and the consequential effects in my day-to-day life.
It is difficult to broach the subject of mental health.

I hate labels so I will not mention any diagnosis or suspected conditions as per medical terms. I do not want to be labeled. I do not look for sympathy but simply an understanding that people do go through this. If I tried to put into words the mental states I have gone through, it would be impossible to ask most people to look at me without the natural prejudices of that ingrained stigmatization.

I have a few special people in my life who are able to do that but, ultimately and unfortunately, I do not talk in a completely open forum about what I went through and go through.
There is this stigma about being mentally unwell. But I’ve become okay with it.
My mental processes are inherently different. I just look at other people and think, as the great mixed martial artist Conor McGregor says, “they don’t t’ink like I t’ink.”
I get my bad days. They include the reminders of perhaps why I once, as a 20-year-old, seriously considered ending my life. I have been there. With a plan.

I was convinced that I was a hindrance. In the moment, as I tried to weigh the options in my few moments of clarity (they were few and far between at that time, hence my hopelessness), I saw it as pure selflessness. Suicide: less a burden to the world; less a burden to myself; self-sacrifice for the better of all.
Before I got to that point, I asked for help. Even in my clearest moments, I realized I was not thinking coherently. Thankfully I got that help. But I got to that point where I can understand the concept of suicide.

The reminders of what set off this hellish odyssey are still there. My consciousness-driven curiosities are not satisfied. I read and study these ideas a lot. Perhaps not as much anymore, but the works of Huxley, Leary, Ram Dass, McKenna, Ginsberg (I could go on) still fascinate me. I’ve tried meditation. I have no intention of using drugs anymore.

I say I’ve tried meditation; any type of this of-mind exploration tends to set me off. So I read to address this curiosity and, to borrow from David Byrne, I accept who I am and where I am, that this (whatever it may be) is my reality: with my “feet on the ground, head in the sky…I guess that this must be the place.”

And I run.

I applaud the work of Clara Hughes and campaigns like Bell’s Let’s Talk; I am happy that the stigma is being addressed. It has not been lifted. It never will be. Each year that it passes, I think of sharing my story in some way but always decide not to. When I was asked about this doing this article, I wanted to share and this is merely skimming the surface. A small insight into my condition and how I use running as an effective means to address it.

The Runners Whys – 2017 Preview

Marathonby Kevin Barrett
Running Whys – 2017 Preview
What started as a salute to the 20th running of Marathon By The Sea has continued on and now, as runners intensify training for the 2017 Emera Marathon By The Sea, we are ready to kick off our fourth year of the Running Whys.
This series is a collection of stories from runners of all walks of life, all motivated to participate along with hundreds of others in the Port City’s annual marathon in August.
Like the race weekend itself, we have undergone some changes but the focal point remains on you, the runner, whose dedication to training for whatever distance, provides inspiration for many in the buildup to MBTS.
In the first three seasons, we’ve featured runners who took their first racing strides in this event, beginning with 5 km routes. We have also profiled those who clock times under three hours for the full marathon. And we’ve featured everyone in between. The diversity in motivation ranges from those trying to maintain fitness levels to those wanting to get into shape and others looking to hit a goal in celebration of a significant birthday.
Along the way, these poignant and raw accounts provide a glimpse at what motivates runners and what the sports means to many who were brave to take that very first stride – whether it was last week or 50 years ago.
Each motivation, each story, provides unique perspective for Marathon By The Sea participants.
This year, the lineup is equally as impressive.
The 2017 series will start later this week and be featured on the MBTS website and Facebook pages. It will continue with regular updates right up to the race weekend and conclude with recaps of those athletes we featured along the way in a final season-ending story.
While we are just beginning and we have many profiles all set to go, please pass on the names of other participants (to who you think have a great story that others in this great race may enjoy.
We hope you like what we have to offer.
Good luck in training.

The Running Whys – MBTS 2016 in Review

White concrete room. Grungy urban wall and floor background interior

By Kevin Barrett

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 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.

Those were just some of the stories associated with the 2016 edition of the Marathon ByThe Sea’s Running Whys.

They will venture from near – Saint John – and far – Australia – and many points in between.

And once again this year, generous souls have opened their hearts to what motivates them and led them to this weekend’s races – whether it is a 5 km run/walk, a full marathon on Sunday or as part of the novel and exciting Port City Challenge.


Here are links to the stories we ran this year:


Virginia Joudrey, Bill Joudry, Natalie Davidson, Terry Thorne, Jeremy Brown, Cheryl Donovan, Joe Comeau, Mike Doyle, Charlotte Flewelling, AndréeGermain, Sue Teakles, Brenda Guitard and Paul Sands.


These stories were a hit on social media, once again leading to large scale interest by friends, family and those generally interested in running.

Here are some of the comments.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my amazing friend. She is the true definition of an adventurer who is always looking for new fun!”

“Terry’s words ring out loud and clear! They do what physical strength does not allow her to do. They come along side of those who want to give up and give in for far lesser reasons. They offer strength to those who need courage to go perhaps just “one more turn around”. Terry’s beauty shines in her smile and the twinkle in her eyes.”

“You are awesome, totally totally awesome and so inspirational.. thanks for sharing your story with everyone.”

“Well that made me cry. Strength in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your story!”

“Nice story! Running is life changing for sure!”

“Very proud of my sister-in-law Sue Teakles for all of her running accomplishments over the past couple years, keep it up and have a great run at this year’s Marathon by the Sea!!”

“I consider myself very lucky that you taught the run clinic at work Brenda. Very! Thanks for your support and encouragement along the way.”

“That’s Awesome!”

“Proud to call Paul a friend. Quite an inspirational guy!”

“Congrats. I remember seeing you Dad run by our house a lot when I was a kid….. Wait a minute that was 30 years ago.”

“That is just awesome Joe. Well done.”

“Beautiful story of inspiration and determination!”

“Great interview, Mike!”

“Congrats this is an amazing journey and accomplishment. You have made a total life transformation and we are super proud of you. Keep up the great work.”

Those were some of the many comments.

The final story was on Friday, and ended fittingly when Virginia Joudrey said:

“Everyone has a passion and running is mine. I want everyone to believe that no matter what age you are and no matter what goal you have, those goals are all worth aiming for.  I hope my story resonates with fellow runners and encourages anyone considering running to take that first step. It will change your life! It changed mine! Happy Running!”

Good luck to all this weekend.

2016 The Running Whys – Virginia Joudrey

Virginia 4

Virginia (Arbo) Joudrey was born and raised in the north end of Saint John, in a home on Sandy Point Road. She grew up, got married, started a family and moved away but always has kept a special spot for Saint John in her heart.

This weekend, she’ll be back, as she has in the past, to take part in the Emera Marathon By The Sea.

Here is a look at her motivation for running, how the sport has transformed her life as well as coming home for the big race weekend.



by Kevin Barrett

I now live in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia with my amazing husband Ed and together we have three wonderful children and three beautiful grandchildren – with another on the way in November. I work for the best company – Hearing Institute Atlantic – as a client service manager in the Bedford Clinic. Not everyone can say they enjoy going to work, but I do (Best Girls Around).

I have always tried to be active and I found myself wanting and needing something that I didn’t find boring and that could be stress reliever. At the time I started running, I had alot going on and things were very stressful. Have you ever heard the term running is cheaper than therapy? I’ve learned that it’s not just a saying.  My running has helped me in so many ways, mentally and physically.

I was introduced to running by my friend Arlene Brinston.  At the time, I didn’t think I could run 20 minutes and that if I started, I would end up crawling home. She encouraged me to start training and I found within myself that I was more than up for the challenge.

So off we went. We started with walking to a telephone pole, then running to the next telephone pole. That was six years ago and since then, I have completed three full marathons – one was the Johnny Miles Marathon in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Marathon No. 2 took place in Prince Edward Island and another was the 50k Ultra at the Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I have completed countless 10k races including Marathon by the Sea, when I took part in the Port City Challenge.

I run with The Lakeshore Runners/Walkers and this is more than a running group to me as I consider each member family. I have been very lucky when it comes to running partners with this group, because no matter what you run, you can always find someone to support and encourage you. I have trained with some great people like Randy Faulkner, Anita Conrad and Stephanie Jones.

Virginia 1Running is my passion. I love it. Running takes me to places in my head that I have never been. It is something that I consider a great accomplishment at each finish line. Growing up, I never believed much in myself, never really thought I was worthy of much, even after years of seeing a therapist. Running has changed all of that for me. I’m a much stronger person, I believe more in myself and I can actually say I like myself, which took a lot of hard work and perseverance.

Everyone has a passion and running is mine. I want everyone to believe that no matter what age you are and no matter what goal you have, those goals are all worth aiming for.  I hope my story resonates with fellow runners and encourages anyone considering running to take that first step. It will change your life! It changed mine! Happy Running!

2016 The Running Whys – Bill Joudry

Bill 2

by Kevin Barrett

Bill Joudry has lived in Saint John for the past 29 years, raising a family, living life and working as a sales representative for Old Dutch Snacks for their key accounts.

Yet, until this May, Bill’s running log was empty.

“First, let me start by saying I have never ran before, EVER,” said Bill to kick off a recent interview. “I started this in May of 2016.”

“This,” was running, a move made for health reasons in an effort to lose weight and get his blood pressure under control.

He recently understood it was time to tackle fitness and with two sons, 27 and 18, grown, he could dedicate the time to meet his wellness goal.

“Before this, I was your poster boy for a couch potato,” he detailed. “This after quitting smoking for the last 25 years.”

Bill 3So with the assistance of Terry Blizzard and the great staff at Afterburn, Bill has lost a remarkable 47 pounds and is feeling better than ever.
His blood pressure, once a concern, is very much under control. Then came running, with a recent area clinic providing a forum for him to give it a shot.
So this weekend, Bill will lineup at the start line of the 2016 Emera Marathon by the Sea, eager to see how his time has improved, how his summer of training has progressed and how a 5k feels in a big race environment.

He’s succeeded in large part by his personal determination. In addition, he credits the assistance of his running coach Sherri Colwell McCavour, the people of the Running Room in Brunswick Square and their running club for the ability to run the 5km distance comfortable and successfully.

The usual route takes place along Harbour Passage with others in the Learn-to-Run program. Generally, Mary Kunis, Anna Marcon, Dianna Payne and Sherri are there for the outings.

“One thing I’ve learned is that runners themselves are great supporters of new runners,” Bill said. “It makes you feel like you fit in and that you are not an outsider. I guess that’s why I keep coming back.”

His racing carer is reasonably short but he has a favorite already – the 5 km Colour Run in July.

“The atmosphere and excitement was so amazing,” he said. “I’m sure I will have many more favourites but being able to cross the finish line for me was my one big accomplishment.”

The dedication he shows for his Learn to Run schedule played a large role in his progress. He has been to every clinic and run club session since starting on June 2, which speaks volumes to his determination to get healthy and fit after losing weight. He is described as a really happy, humble guy who people like to have around.

And even though he does not think he is inspiring others, word from his clinic is that he is – “If he only knew,” is one comment from the group.
He calls out to others who are thinking about starting running and tells them not to worry about anything and says if they take a training session, it will help immensely.

“Do it, you won’t regret it,” he says. “One thing I also learned is to run at your own pace and not the pace of others. In closing, I can’t wait for Marathon by the Sea to make more new great memories.”

2016 The Running Whys – Natalie Davidson

Natalie Davidson, right, ran her first half marathon at Marathon By The Sea in 2003

Natalie Davidson, right, ran her first half marathon at Marathon By The Sea in 2003


Natalie Davison is originally from Moncton but now calls the far north of Queensland, Australia home. She moved there in 2008 after graduating from Dalhousie University with a physiotherapy degree.
Originally, the trip was thought to be a six-month holiday but she quickly fell in love with the country and never left. However, she is returning to New Brunswick to compete in the half marathon in the 2016 Emera Marathon By The Sea.
Of note, she is training in the winter in Australia although she was still running in shorts and a t-shirt. Eight years later, she is a dual citizen and loving life, while she misses her friends and family.
“If they could move here, life would be absolutely perfect,” she explains.
Here is a short interview with Natalie on the eve of this year’s Marathon By the Sea.
Kevin Barrett

I am not sure when I first started running. I grew up lifeguarding in Moncton, so it was always a part of our general fitness but it wasn’t anything I did on a regular basis. While at UNB in Fredericton, I ran a bit as well as a stress relief during exams and to help with the freshman weight.
It wasn’t really until the spring of 2003 before getting into DAL, that I really started seriously running. I was working at the physio clinic in the Aquatic Centre and met the spin instructor who mentioned that she ran.
Not one to do things half-assed, I decided I wanted to run the half marathon at MBTS that summer. Katie Russel Haines (the spin instructor) ran with me for my first run and thankfully decided to continue running with me.
She told me later that she hated running with me at first as I was so short of breath I couldn’t talk. It wasn’t too long before we were chatting non-stop and we very quickly became amazing friends.
Our running routes were either through Rockwood Park or along Manawagonish Road. After completing the half, we decided to train for the Kentville full marathon that fall. I was living in Halifax for school so I’d either drive to Saint John or Katie would drive to Halifax so we could complete our long runs together on the weekends.
I will never forget that my first full marathon had me turning around in someone’s driveway!!!
From 2003 until this year, running has been very sporadic for me. I would start running again but then stop again for a while. I guess life got in the way.

Natalie 2

Natalie Davidson and her friend Katie Russell Haines ran the Disney Full Marathon in 2015

My most memorable run would be the 2015 Disney full marathon. Katie flew from Saint John, I flew from here and my sister (who was completing her first-ever marathon) and my brother-in-law flew from Manitoba. It was great to all be able to start and finish a marathon together!
For me, running was always my stress relief when I was living back home. I had forgotten how great of a help it was until I started training for this year’s half a couple of months ago. I battled mental health issues over the past couple of years and after separating from my husband earlier this year, I moved to North Queensland for work.
Being in a different city by myself, I would run at night. At first it was tough. Greater than 30C weather in more than 50 percent humidity is not fun. Thankfully, it has cooled off and as I’m getting in better shape, running is becoming easier.
Running has once again become something I love doing. It helps clear the head, helps me solve problems as well as assisting with weight loss. It also allows me to enjoy the amazing country that is North Queensland. My favorite run is along the Cairns Esplanade but anytime I can run along the water, I am in a happy place!
My basic goal is just to continue running after August 14th… not stop now that I love it again. My goal over the next year or two is to complete the Cairns Half Ironman. I guess now that I said it (well typed it), I will have to do it!
I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing runners along my journey as well as had some great training partners. I hope to see many of them on August 14th. xo

Terry Thorne – Honorary Race Marshall – Marathon By The Sea


by Kevin Barrett

In the game of running, the marathon represents a most treasured of distances; an exceptionally difficult test of endurance and will in the quest for one of life’s great bucket list items.
Finish the grueling 42.2 km route and the months of intensive training and personal sacrifices made along the way gain you membership into an exclusive club representing just one percent of the population.
Those are tall odds, but on 12 occasions Terry Thorne successfully ran into that club, part of a career that started in Saint John with her first race – a 5-miler as part of Marathon By The Sea (MBTS).
But those odds paled in comparison to what she’s faced in the game of life. In 2007, she suffered a brain aneurysm which almost killed her.
Through her nine years of recovery, with all of the associated ups and downs, she’s used lessons gained through running, combined them with a fierce personal determination and engaged in the fight for her life.


“Never Never Never Give Up,” reads the sign in her room at the Shannex Parkland In the Valley nursing home in Quispamsis, her home since December, 2012. It served as the site for a recent interview where she talked about her running, her battles and her role as Honorary Race Marshall for the 2016 Emera Marathon By The Sea.
“To me, it is a miracle I can walk, that I can move,” she said. “I know it is a miracle I am here. I am amazed.”

During Marathon By The Sea, she will put together some thoughts for the runners near the start line in a race that means so much to her. She never competed in the full marathon at MBTS but on Aug. 13, 2006, she posted a 1:49.41 in the half marathon, 151st in the 564-runner field and 11th of 83 runners in the women’s 40-49 category.

In fact, MBTS was her first race, the place where she got hooked and she ran other routes many times.

“I ran five miles,” she said of those first steps. “I looked around and thought that if anyone was going a half marathon, they were bananas.”
Next month, if all goes well, she’ll take part in one of the water stations along the route and the overall experience promises to rate as one of her great days.

Running, in many ways, has served Terry as a valued friend, a reliable ally as she faced the daunting physical and emotional challenges that started in 2007, shortly after she completed her 12th marathon.

It was then she experienced her first headaches as she trained for the full marathon in Saint John , part of a qualifying attempt for the 2008 Boston Marathon.

She was 43, a project coordinator for Irving Oil and running was a joyous activity to keep her body fit and her mind alert.
As the headaches persisted, she knew they needed to be checked out. Doctors ultimately found a large aneurysm on her brain stem. It was pressing on her optic nerve.

In an interview with Kathy Kaufield of KV Style, Terry detailed a risky 16-hour surgery in London, ON during which surgeons clinically killed her for 27 minutes through induced hypothermia.

Although the procedure successfully treated the aneurysm, she required a 2nd surgery in Toronto, ON and suffered two strokes that left her paralyzed.
These days, outside her Shannex apartment sits a small, yet profound display that includes a photo box featuring photos of Terry running in the Fredericton Marathon and racing powerfully in the Marathon by the Sea half marathon. The display includes a finisher’s medal.
Inside her apartment are several photos of her children Brittany and Billy, and one of Terry and her husband Bill during a trip south one year.

Terry4There are also several signs, prominently placed on her wall.

They read as follows:
“Never, Never, Never, Give Up.”
“Believe in Miracles.”
“Dream it, Believe it, Live it.”

They are more than letters strung together; they symbolize her fighting spirit.

After the initial surgery and the strokes, she required a feeding tube and a wheelchair. Her speech was affected. She started her long recovery at the Stan Cassidy Centre in Fredericton, a five-and-a-half month stay that included nine rehab classes each day during the week. She wanted and received more on weekends to assist her progress.

Initially, she required a feeding tube and a wheelchair. Her speech was affected.

Yet, the dedication was working and the efforts were paying off. By October 2008, she walked 10km in the KV Challenge Marathon. She was able to drive and most days, she’d walked on her treadmill for two hours.

Over time, though, the headaches returned. Her balance became unstable. Her eyes bothered her.

This time, a three cm aneurism was found – more surgery, more rehab.

The road was growing longer, but there was no quit in Terry despite what seemed like a return trip to the start line of her recovery.
Ultimately, she moved to the Shannex facility in Quispamsis, needing assistance for almost everything.

She remembered her time in the Stan Cassidy Centre, where she’d work hard and try to encourage others to push their limits.

It represented her personal mantra.

“I was not willing to accept that I would be dependent on someone else,” she said. “I saw some of the others trying, but I would get so mad when they gave up.”

When Terry started to make strides, it was not always easy or pretty.

Once, shortly after her feeding tube was removed, she was so focused on eating from a bowl she grabbed a spoon and went for the meal in front of her. Only problem was her motor skills weren’t developed enough at that point to hold the spoon and put the food in her mouth. No matter, she tried and tried and tried, with food landing everywhere except where it was supposed to go.
She laughs now at the process but she would not give in until she could eat. She has not and will not quit.

“They gave me less than one percent chance to survive,” she said. “I was not going to accept that without a fight. More people have to do that.”
Another time, one exercise required her to touch a wall with her hand while standing up.
It was a long, difficult process but using her never quit philosophy, she conquered that task as well.

“I’ll never forget how excited I was to touch that wall,” she says. “It felt like I won a million dollars.”
She pays tribute to everyone who has helped her, acknowledging it was tough to let others assist and that she can be stubborn. That salute includes the staff at Embassy Hall at the Shannex facility.

“I am so grateful for so many people who have inspired me and who have helped me fight and get to a world I never knew,” she said.
She’s vocal now, a sharp contrast to her reserved nature prior to her injuries. Seems her opinionated, boisterous nature is one positive of a tough situation. It allowed to express her drive and tell others what she was going to do.

Running is a supportive crutch to lean on, a metaphor for determination.

Almost every day, she takes her walker and makes her way around the Shannex facility.
It was one lap at first and slowly, over time, the distances increased, a process many runners can identify with – gradual buildup in search of a longer goal.

Now, she aims for 22 laps, each measuring a half a step over 90 metres. The laps combine for two kilometres and on a good day, she can conquer the goal in three or four sessions.

She keeps a journal in a small well-used black book, as many runners did in the days before Garmins and other GPS devices. In her notes, she rates her performance, the good and not so good, the progress and the challenges.

The lessons learned apply now as much as they did when she was attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Instead of evaluating kilometer splits, she measures the circuit of her new home, continuing the hardest fight of her life. Almost a decade ago, she was unable to walk, talk, move much at all. She faced long odds.

She be on hand on race day to display that long odds can be overcome.

Never Never Never Give Up!