Countdown to Marathon By The Sea

2016 The Running Whys – Jeremy Brown

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by Kevin Barrett
Jeremy Brown of Fredericton will compete in the Port City Challenge, tackling the 5k runs on Friday August 12 and Saturday, August 13 and the 10 k race Sunday, August 14 during Marathon By The Sea.
He will turn 30 next month and as a youngster, was a soccer player, which helped him get introduced to running in the first place.
However, when he was in Grade 7, he quit soccer because of plantar fasciitis and it led to some weight gain which again led to his decision to run. Of note, he met his wife while he worked at Zellers, when he was working there for about 10 years. They got married on Oct. 12, 2014 and the couple has two cats – Gizmo and Ringo.
These days, Jeremy is a supply teacher, working mainly in high schools in Fredericton. In fact, he is heading into his 7th year of supply teaching, seeking a permanent full-time contract for the coming school year.
He’s been a runner for about seven years and says it turned his life around. So we asked him some questions about his journey for the Running Whys.
Enjoy

When did you start to run?
I started running in the summer of 2009.
Why did you start to run?
I suffered through depression and I decided I needed to make a change in my life. After being overweight since middle school, I decided the biggest change I could make, and one that I thought would make me happier, was to lose weight. I never enjoyed gyms or weight lifting, so I decided to start running. Although I struggled with running for the first few months, I eventually got to the point where I needed to run 3-4 days a week or I felt off. I loved running and I couldn’t imagine not doing it anymore. I was able to lose 70 pounds running and I completely turned my life around (and met the love of my life during that time).
Many people have goal for a particular year – what were/are your big goals for 2016 and beyond?
My goals for 2016 were to run my first half and full marathon. I was unable to complete my training for my half marathon due to a knee injury but after believing my injury was cured, I decided to try the half marathon anyway as I was already signed up. I completed my half marathon at the Fredericton Marathon in Fredericton NB on May 8th 2016 in a time of 2:14:14. I am signed up for the Port City Challenge in Saint John NB, where I am supposed to run a 5K Friday night, 5K Saturday, and a full marathon Sunday. Due to the fact I am still recovering from my knee injury and I have not been able to complete my training, I will not be able to complete that goal this year. I will instead be doing a 5K, 5K, 10K in Saint John with the hopes of completing my full marathon next year.
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What is your most memorable run? Maybe there are two or three?
My most memorable run to date would be the 38th Annual Fredericton Marathon, as it is where I completed my first and only half marathon.
My second most memorable run would be the 1st Annual Port City Challenge in Saint John as it is my favorite run every year for two reasons. First, it is so much fun to run back-to-back-to-back races in a three-day span. Second, I love the course in Saint John, the view is amazing and although I believe this to be unusual for a runner, I love the thrill of running a hilly course.
My third most memorable run would be the 36th Annual Fredericton Marathon as it was the first race I ever entered. I had been running for years and I loved running but I never had the courage to enter a race as I wasn’t sure I would be good enough. My wife convinced me to run in that race with her and I fell in love with the race atmosphere and wish I could run a race every weekend.
Do you have regular training partners, a regular training route?
I don’t have anyone I usually run with, although my wife and I both run, we do not generally run together due to different paces that we prefer to run. My regular training route is a 6.1 KM loop in Fredericton NB that includes running across an old train bridge that has been converted to a walking bridge and across one of the city bridges. The loop is mainly along the water and provides some great views.
What do you like most about running?
I love the feeling I get from running – the runners high. I also like having time to just think and enjoy myself as I run.
Do you have any other thoughts about running you would like to share?
If you have never tried running, try it. When you do try it, don’t give up on it if you don’t enjoy it at first. It took me months to get to the point where I loved running but when you do get to that point it can change your life.

2016 The Running Whys – Cheryl Donovan

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by Kevin Barrett

Cheryl Donovan knows the agony of a good run that’s impossible to verify because of a faulty GPS watch battery that died mid-route.
So she does what every runner who has ever experienced the same problem – own so many running watches, there will never be an excuse.
“I’m totally addicted to my running watches …owning no less than five and I have been known to wear more than one at a time in case one fails,” said the Saint John resident who is in the midst of training for the 2016 Emera Marathon By The Sea next month.
That is one thing she has in common with many in the large field that expected to be on hand Aug 12-14 in the Port City.
You might know her if you have ever ventured into Fabricville, where she is the retail assistant manager, a place she’s worked at for 26 years. Or you may know Ken, her husband of 22 years.
Or you may know her two cats.
But for more than a decade, you may also know her as a runner, one inspired by Marathon By The Sea in 2004, when she watched runners that year trot, jog, scamper, sprint and walk past her house.

Cheryl Donovan with Joy Durdan

Cheryl Donovan with Joy Durdan

She was 33 at the time and became so energized by the efforts she witnessed, she gave it a shot.
“I’ll never be fast,” she explains. “I’m a true back of the pack runner and I’m okay with that. I love that this sport includes people of all abilities. We can compete on the same playing field and feel the same sense of accomplishment.”
In 2005, her first MBTS race was the half marathon, which opened her eyes as she dealt with the demands of training. It was hard but she was truly invigorated and especially savours the memory of that experience because her mother, sister and niece were at various spots on the course to encourage her on the journey.
“I’ve been hooked ever since,” she said.
Along her many runs, there have been some memorable events, none moreso than 2014, when Cheryl and her friend Erica MacMillan were scheduled to take part in the Mud Hero event in Halifax.
However, the impact of Hurricane Arthur meant it was postponed by a day
“Erica and I were the only two from my team who opted to go do it the next day,” she explains. “Setting out at 3 a.m. for Halifax, only a true running buddy does this and agrees that it was the most fun race day ever.”
Erica and Angela Stewart are Cheryl’s regular running buddies and she cited Joy Durdan as her inspiration and Diana Hetherington as her biggest cheerleader.
“Having running partners provides the accountability that I need,” she says.
Cheryl likes the hills associated with the half marathon route at MBTS as well as the run over Harbour Bridge. A challenge is good for the soul, she suggests. Later, someday, she may even tackle for the full marathon distance.
Her motto is inspiring, one that ultramarathoner and author Dean Karnazes has used a lot – “Run when you can; Walk if you have to; Crawl if you must; Just never give up.”
Cheryl will compete in the Port City Challenge with the 5 km run Friday night Aug. 12, the 5 KM run Saturday morning on Aug. 13 and the half marathon Sunday morning on Aug. 14.

2016 The Running Whys – Marathon by the Sea Joe Comeau

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by Kevin Barrett

At 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.
“I don’t know exactly why I started to get involved but I always want to a give back to the community,” said Joe, who credits a bond with race organizer Mike Doyle for keeping his interest high each year.
“I love MBTS and the MBTS family. Mike and I have worked together for so long, we don’t even need to talk and we know what do to.”
Joe does not consider himself a runner but he carries a compassion for the community in which he lives and in turn, pitching in is easy for him. For his efforts in 2008, he was awarded the Mike Doyle volunteer award for being the string that kept the marathon together.
He’s not missed a race since.
“I love it,” he explains. “The last four or five years that I have been involved, I have been out on the course with Mike – up at 4 a.m. on race day and powering thru until the end of the race. “That’s not including the night before the event, when we are up until 1-1:30 a.m., setting up stuff out on course!”
Joe is a Stagehand/Photographer, who recently graduated from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design with a photography diploma with honours. You may have seen him in his freelance photography and photojournalism roles or on line with the FIRST Saint John Newschaser site.
His initial Marathon By the Sea event took place in 2006, when he volunteered with the St Marks Venturer Company (Scouts Canada), which was responsible for the start/finish area when it was stationed at Market Square/St Patrick Street.
Joe and his friends set up the area, took it down, assisted with food, water and cleanup duties.
In his various assignments, he’s enjoyed the emotion through the course, especially at the finish line and takes pride when he is able to contribute to the success of the event, a mainstay on the local running calendar.
“One of the best exchanges with runners was when one runner hurt her knee mid-way through the race but was determined to make it to the end,” he explained. “She knew she would be late but she wanted to finish. However, at 2 p.m., Saint John Work trucks started to pull up the course (pylons and stuff). So for the last five miles, I ran (quick-walked) with her until the end and held her water bottle.”
“She was super grateful.”
During his experience, he’s witnessed the tremendous growth of the race, now a full weekend agenda and a key part of summer for the Uptown area in August.
“It has grown from more than just a race,” he said. “It’s an entire experience. All three days, there is something to do. Entertainment, food, the Expo. It is all so great.
“The addition of the Harbour Bridge to the route is an awesome change and I hope that it gets better and better!!”

 

2016 The Running Whys – Marathon by the Sea Mike Doyle

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.
Enjoy
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Mike Doyle

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

2016 Marathon by the Sea Medals Revealed

The committee at Marathon by the Sea is pleased to release our 2016 race medals. Once linked these four medals create our largest Medallion in Marathon by the Sea history!

Excited yet?? It is not too late to register for your chance to receive all four medals on race weekend! The Port City Challenge originally had a cap of 300 entrants but it is filling up much faster than anticipated. Due to this high demand the committee has agreed to ignore this cap and guarantee all entries received by midnight on July 1st. HAPPY CANADA DAY!

2016 MBTS Medals

2016 Marathon by the Sea – Concept art. the final race day medals my slight vary from this image.

2016 The Running Whys – Charlotte Flewelling

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Running has always been part of Charlotte Flewelling’s life but now more than ever it is essential. Step by step, she is hitting some big personal goals. And she has her sights set on Marathon by the Sea in August. Here is today’s Running Whys.

Enjoy

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IMG_4806This year will mark three years since Charlotte Flewelling took up running. Looking back, appropriately enough on Father’s Day weekend, she says it was her Dad who provided her first inspiration for the sport, which has developed into a critical component so she can meet her health-related goals.

“Running has been part of my life since childhood,” said the 33-year-old Charlotte, a Moncton native who is planning to take part in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Sea.

“My dad used to run when I was a wee child at the cottage. Before my brother and I would wake up, I remember dad finishing many runs. Sometimes, we (the kids) greeted him.”

She is the youngest in a family of five and growing up, she participated in sports such as soccer, softball, basketball, track & field throwing events, volleyball and badminton at Edith Cavell middle school and then tried out for some others at the former Moncton High, where she graduated in 2000.

Fast forward to 2013. She had been feeling abnormally sick and not feeling at all like herself. She eventually went to the emergency department of the hospital and while she waited, she started to vomit bile.

“That was an indication that my body was shutting down on itself,” she explains. “I was diagnosed with pancreatitis because of gall stones. I waited and on the fifth day, I had a successful gallbladder removal.”

By noon of the following day, she was home from her first ever trip to the hospital.

It was there she was selected to become part of a local community run and take part in a learn-to-run clinic. She did not take part but the idea sparked her interest and eventually, in October, 2013, she competed in the annual Legs for Literacy in Moncton.

“I saw I could race and I did,” she said.

It was a humbling experience but she did it, and it fuelled her motivation to continue.

“My greatest family running memory has to be mom taking part in her first race, Legs for Literacy 2015, in under 59 minutes and most recently, a hot humid 5k in Halifax at the Bluenose Marathon.

“Mom’s also my biggest fan and cheerleader, now she’s starting to understand what racing is about.”

As for the remainder of the year, she has it planned out.

“I’m the type of person who starts their planning in the winter months for the next year,” she said. “I set goals based on the race, how I feel during training and weather on race day. I’m trying to get a 45 minute or less 5k and recently took part in a bucket list run – the Hopewell Rocks multi terrain 8k, partly on the ocean floor (Bay of Fundy). As for long term goals, you never know where you’ll go, take it one step at a time.” IMG_3409

She trains solo but said her feedback comes from finishing a great run and also from interaction on social media.

“I do it solo with help from others through social media. Shoutout to my Twitter crew @RunAtCan (Running Atlantic Canada). I do have regular training routes, these depend on weather factors, how long I have to run and what distance I’m training for.

She said that feeling of community is vital in her approach.

“My favourite thing about running is community, both physically seeing each other at races and social media encouragement,” she explained. “I get some of the best help and cheering from my fellow runners. I also like going beyond myself and challenging myself to be better on any given day.”

As for her running philosophy, she admits the challenge can be daunting but well worth the effort.

“Running isn’t easy or everyone would do it,” she explained. “I believe that one step at a time, anyone can. Challenge yourself and see where it takes you. I didn’t realize I’d be mom’s coach or taking on a multi-terrain race. Don’t regret anything.”

2016 The Running Whys – Andrée Germain

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You may know that Andrée Germain won the woman’s marathon at the 2015 Emera by the Sea. You probably don’t know how she got there or how much she’ll forever treasure the race in her heart. She is back for 2016 and here is her story of perseverance and determination.

Enjoy

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Andree Michel finish

Andre Germain of Granby, Que. and her new partner Michel Trottier of St. Lambert, Que., stand arm-in-arm, clutching a New Brunswick Flag, beaming with smiles of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Michel crossed the line seventh overall in 3:19.08 over the at-times hilly layout. Andre was right behind in ninth in 3:25.22 in her first-ever marathon, which also qualified her for the Boston Marathon. More importantly, she won the women’s race by almost two minutes.

The results and the smiles at the jubilant scene symbolized a great experience.

But it only told part of the story.

Two years earlier, Andre was in the midst of a living hell. Her then 22-year marriage soured, she was abused and left wondering about her purpose in life and if she would ever have contact with her five children again.

“Running was what kept me alive,” said the 41-year-old Andre, who is returning to Saint John this summer for the Port City Challenge.

“With no professional background to rely on, running became the only thing that allowed me to set goals, meet them and gain confidence. I never thought I had it in me what it would take to complete a marathon. It seemed so unattainable then.”

She endured, eventually met Michel and, by chance, they took on the challenge of Marathon By The Sea in 2015. She calls the race a defining point in her life.

“It is very personal,” she says of recounting her story for this year’s Running Whys. “But I’ve come to think that spousal abuse, or any other abuse has to be named and talked about in order to make changes in the way we think about it or how we see it and what to do in such situations.”

She has five children, ranging in age from 21 to 8, and it was a fight for custody during a difficult divorce that tore at her emotions.

“For a long time, I was ashamed to say I had to leave my children behind in order to save my own life,” she said. “When I think about this today, I’m stunned by the fact that I didn’t see how strong I was to do so.”

Eventually, she was awarded joint custody and is with the three youngest ones every second week. Several of her children race on weekends, including her 10-year-old daughter, who she calls a natural.

As she recovered, she started a relationship with Michel, who she met on a trail run, and ultimately, he persuaded her to attempt MBTS last year.

Now, in addition to Saint John, they have run the Quebec and Philadelphia marathons together. However, the Saint John event in 2015 transformed into a life experience few others gained that August weekend.

“He believed in me and encouraged me when I was full of doubt,” Andre said of Michel. “We trained together before Marathon by the Sea – hard.

“I did cry on several occasions, but kept pushing because I just couldn’t let him down!  On race day, my goal was to complete it, but on the way, every memory of what I had endured came up and I found it in me to crush the marathon and win the women’s division – a PB and BQ all in one!”

A native of Toronto, she lived there until she was 16 and she has called Granby home for more than 20 years.

She ran track in middle school, ranging from 100m to 800m until Grade 8. Running was a requirement during her Infantry years in the Armed Forces and after her youngest child was born, she picked it up again, running twice a week.

It did not take long to get back into the routine as she won a local 5k in Tremblant. That win led to more training, intensive workouts, nine times a week and numerous wins in the 5K distance races.

That led to 10k, half-marathons and, ultimately, the marathon. Since training for her first marathon, training has been steady at five training days a week, varying from small 50k weeks up to 110k weeks, doing track/speed, hills, long runs, trail runs and intervals and mixing it with cycling and tennis.

Yet, it all comes back to Saint John.

“For me, Saint John is the beginning of my new life,” she said. “While running that race, I cut my chains and set myself free of my past and rediscovered the confident and strong woman that I am, that I always have been.

“I found myself in Saint John. I still tear up thinking of this – it was such a powerful moment! And I do reflect a lot on it too, it makes my day, every time.”

As for this year, she ran Boston (on a tender ankle) in April, the Toronto Marathon two weeks later and now is gearing up for her return trip to the Port City.Andree Marathon

“I have been recovering from a stress fracture in my heel bone, but I’m training on my bike meanwhile and will gradually start running again in a few weeks,” she said. “The Port City challenge will be my recovery race.”

2016 The Running Whys – Sue Teakles

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The third feature in our Running Whys series for 2016 is on Sue Teakles. She is from Penobsquis, just outside of Sussex and she comes from a large family – six sisters and three brothers, most of whom live in the Sussex area. She is an elementary school teacher at Hammond River Valley Elementary and lives with her partner, Nick, in Saint John.
She is another familiar face in the Greater Saint John running circles and is preparing for this year’s Marathon By The Sea.
We asked her a few questions and she put together a great story on her motivations and goals.
Enjoy.
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I ran a bit through high school when I was on the field hockey team. Since then, I had kept up some occasional short runs on my own, usually 20-30 minutes at a time, using running as a way to keep in shape. At the end of 2013, I started running longer distances, and my friend Greg and I decided to train to see if we could do a half marathon. We ran the Hypothermic Half together in February 2014. When we survived that, we thought we might as well train for a full marathon. Six months later, we both completed Marathon by the Sea, our first ever marathon.
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It started as a way to be healthy and stay in shape, but very quickly it turned into wanting to see what I was capable of. I still remember the first time I ran 10km, and how hard it was, but how amazing it felt to be able to do it. Then, much later, wanting to take on the challenge of a half-marathon, not knowing if I could do it, but wanting to try. And as soon as I could run a distance, I wanted to see if I could run it faster.
It didn’t take me long after completing a half-marathon to want to see if I could do a full marathon. The training is tough, the run is tough, but the sense of accomplishment is worth it all in the end. I was on such a runner’s high after completing my first marathon at Marathon by the Sea that I couldn’t wait to try another one and see if I could do any better. I am still chasing the challenging goal of improving my marathon time – hopefully to one day qualify for Boston – as well as my shorter distance races, but now the motivation is much more about the community. I run with a couple of different running groups in Saint John, and it is the schedule and the people that keep me coming out to train and race.
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I’d like to keep running healthy so that I can enjoy a full racing season, including lots of 5 and 10 km races, several half marathons and two or three full marathons. Last year, I didn’t get any new PBs, so I’d love to beat my time on a couple of distances. My long term goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon so that I can experience it at least once, but that will take some dedicated training.
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My first full marathon is burned into my brain. I was so nervous, not knowing if I’d be able to finish. My longest training run had been 32km, and I had never felt like I could do another 10km at the end of any of those training runs! But I signed up for Marathon by the Sea in 2014 and gave it my best shot. It is a tough run with lots of hills but it is my home territory and I know the route really well. Heading out, I tried to keep my pace at a steady comfortable level, and I was very careful with my nutrition and hydration.
I felt good past the 32km mark, which was a huge relief as I ran over the Harbour Bridge. And then came the killer home stretch – up, up, up to Rockwood Park, where my legs began to feel pretty numb. Those hills felt endless. And of course, that was not the end. We finished that year in Rockwood Park, so I climbed and climbed those hills at an agonizingly slow pace, not really knowing when the finish line would finally appear around a hill.
I didn’t have much left in my legs at this point, but once I heard the crowd and realized I was actually going to make it to the end, I had a little left and managed to give a little push to the finish line and come over it smiling. It was such an amazing feeling that I will never forget that race. My friends were there cheering me on, the day was sunny and beautiful, and it felt so great to celebrate afterwards.
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I train with a lot of different groups, and honestly, I wish there were more days in the week so that I could go out with more of them. We are so lucky to have such an amazing and extensive running community in our area. There are groups that are going out every day of the week if you want to run with a group, and most days there are multiple groups to choose from. I train a lot with the Running Room. I have done a few of their clinics and we have a regular group that goes out that is amazing and so supportive. We run along Harbour Passage and all over the city on our long runs. I also go out with the Rockwood Road Warriors. We do a lot of speed work in Rockwood Park, at the UNB track, and in Millidgeville. Other groups I run with are the Saint John Track Club and Daryl Steeves’ summer track group.
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The best part of running is all the people. All the groups that I run with have runners that support me, cheer for me and challenge me to be better. My running buddy Paul and I have a friendly rivalry that keeps me going in all our races, though it is a bit demoralizing when I cannot keep up to the 60+ year old man.
Corinne’s crazy weekly mileage encourages me to run even on days when I am tired. Nicole’s enthusiasm and improvement as a newer runner is inspiring and gets me out after school, even in questionable weather. And all the local “coaches,” who encourage me to work harder and be better – Brenda, Daryl, Dean and Alex. They have all done so much to grow and support the running community in Saint John that it is not surprising Saint John has some of the strongest runners in New Brunswick and beyond.

Kevin Barrett

2016 The Running Whys – Brenda Guitard

Many people in the Saint John running community will recognize the person in today’s profile – Brenda Guitard. Originally, we asked a few questions and Brenda suggested we weave them into a story. But she’s done such an awesome job of detailing her career, her words are perfect.

Here is today’s Running Whys for the Marathon by the Sea, which takes place Aug 12-14 in Saint John.
Enjoy

Brenda

Brenda in the 2013 Boston Marathon, turning onto Bolyston Street toward the finish line

I was born and raised in Saint John. After graduating from University, I moved to Northern Ontario, where I taught high school for 18 years. In 2008, I returned to Saint John, supply teaching and working at the Running Room. For the last four years, I have been teaching physical education in elementary school – One year at Sussex Elementary School before moving Belleisle Elementary School, where I am in my third year. I continue to work at the Running Room part-time.
In addition, I have also instructed the half and full marathon clinics at the Running Room for the last eight years.
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I have been running almost my whole life, beginning in elementary school. Running has always been fun, whether it was a competition, for another sport, or just playing. When I was in elementary school, we had cross country meets at Lily Lake in the fall and we had weekly track meets at the UNBSJ Field House throughout the winter.
I ran purely because it was fun. We had a teacher at Bayview Elementary School (the site of the new addition of the Loch Lomond Villa), Mrs. James, who set up a run club at our school and would often organize races and practices around the school. Eight laps around the school equalled a mile. Sometimes I ran eight laps, other times I wanted to see if I could keep going and would complete 16 laps.
When I started running competitively, I usually placed in the middle or sometimes even at the back. By my last year of elementary school, I started winning races, the competitiveness stuck and I was hooked. In those days, almost all students went home for lunch. Once the bell rang for lunch, I would run home. I was always trying to see if I could run home faster every day. It was me against the clock.
Throughout middle and high school, I continued to run cross country and track and field, as well as participate in other sports – basketball, badminton, field hockey, and softball. I played field hockey for UNB for five years, and our team went to the national championship my first four years. I also ran on the UNB cross country team for one year, also participating in the national championship in 1985.
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1985 was also Canada Summer Games in Saint John and I participated as part of the NB Field Hockey Team. When I wasn’t running competitively, I was running to keep up my fitness level for other sports.
Once I started working, running took a bit of a back seat. I ran when I felt like it and when I could fit it in, but it wasn’t consistent. I wasn’t playing competitive sports, so didn’t need to train. I had been playing competitive sports for so long, I didn’t quite know how to run just for fun anymore.
Needing something to strive for and a reason to make running more consistent, I decided to take on the half marathon. I ran my first half marathon in 1998 in Toronto, repeated the same half marathon in 1999 and followed that with my first marathon in 2000, also in Toronto.
It was hard. I was tired, sore, bored from running so long and so far, and told myself I could cross the marathon off my “bucket list”. Five minutes after crossing the finish line, I could think of dozens of ways to improve my performance. I also ran a Boston Qualifying time in my first marathon. I shrugged it off, thinking I would probably never go to Boston anyways.
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A year later, I was back in Toronto, looking to run another marathon and qualifying for Boston. I did and I was off to Boston for the first time in 2002.
Since that first half marathon in 1998, I have run 50 half marathons, including many Marathon By The Sea half marathons, 26 full marathons, 10 of them being the Boston Marathon, and countless 5 km and 10 km races. I ran my 10th Boston Marathon on April 18th.
I have run the Marathon By The Sea marathon three times, winning the event in 2009 and finishing second in 2010.
I enjoy running in Marathon By The Sea because it is the main event in my hometown. We also have the opportunity to run over the Harbour Bridge. I will be participating in many races throughout the year and will race some, run some for fun, and will pace some friends in other events. Staying healthy and injury free would be a great goal for 2016, so that I can continue to enjoy running.
A few of my most memorable runs have been:
• Boston because of its history, the crowds cheering all the runners, the energy of the city, and it’s where I have run my fastest marathons, with a 3:11 finish in 2013. This was probably my most memorable marathon because I had taken nine minutes off my best marathon time. After the bombings, there was certainly no celebration, but as time goes on, I appreciate how I was able to run that day and how effortless it felt. I look at the positive things that happened that day.
I feel very fortunate to be able to run the Boston Marathon multiple times. Many people spend years trying to qualify, so I appreciate every step I take along the marathon route and spend some of the running time thinking of everyone who has helped and supported me to make it to the start line.

• Disney – I have participated in the “Goofy Challenge” three times (half marathon on Saturday, full marathon on Sunday) and the “Dopey Challenge” in its inaugural year 2014 (5 km on Thursday, 10 km on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, full marathon on Sunday). This is a great event because I have been able to take my mother and my sister to experience Disney for the first time. I have been able to travel with some great friends! On marathon Sunday, I always carry my phone or a camera and set a goal to take pictures of every Disney character on the course.

• Marathon By the Sea 2009 because it the one time I have won a marathon.

Until I moved back to Saint John, I always trained on my own. Even when I returned every summer to visit family and run at Marathon By The Sea, I trained on my own, usually running at the Irving Nature Park. Once I moved back home and became a Running Room instructor, I have run with the clinic participants and our weekly Wednesday night and Sunday morning Run Clubs.
Running with a group certainly makes running a lot of fun. There are other runners to talk to on long runs – or moan and complain with when it is too cold, too hot, too windy, a blizzard, etc. Running with a group can help runners challenge themselves and push others to keep improving. The running group has helped me complete many of my long runs and provides endless support and encouragement.

We spend a lot of time running along Harbour Passage during the week, but we try to change our routes on Sundays so we run different elevations and see different scenery. Our most popular routes have been running from uptown to Pumpkin Patch on the west side, running around Milledgeville, and running around Rockwood Park.
I also run on my own. When I am training for something such as Boston, I do a lot of tempo runs and interval training on my own. During the late spring, summer, and early fall, there is a group that meets at UNBSJ on Tuesday evenings for track workouts. These workouts are led by Daryl Steeves, one of our local coaches. Daryl is extremely knowledgeable, very motivating, inspirational and makes his workouts lots of fun. Daryl also deserves credit for many of my best races, as he designs my training programs.
One of the best things about running is that anyone can participate. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, how tall or short, how big or small. Everyone is cheered, regardless of ability and where they finish. Everyone is congratulated after a training run or after a personal accomplishment – running a PB, running a new distance, running in a race, … It’s a very inclusive sport.
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It also doesn’t matter if you haven’t run since you were a kid. Many adults may be reluctant to start running because of their body shape, or don’t feel confident enough to start running with a group, or don’t think they will be successful. But once someone starts running, they will see it can be easy. There may be some rough patches, but stick with it and running can be very rewarding. Going to a race is almost like a social event. We all get to know each other and see each other at many different events. Runners even cheer for other runners during an event. That’s not something you see in other activities.
I am very happy to be part of the running community in Saint John. I enjoy helping others reach their running goals and seeing their success. I have made so many great friends through running.
I am looking forward to running in the 2016 Port City Challenge and running, as the name implies, the “Challenging” half marathon course. This may be a tough course, but the half and full-marathon runners have the chance to run across the Harbour Bridge and there are some very nice views along the course.
We don’t know what the future holds for us, but I am sure, for me, there will be some running involved.