Countdown to Marathon By The Sea

The Running Whys 2015 – Donald & Elspeth Lemon

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Elspeth and Donald Lemon celebrate after finishing the Ottawa Marathon in 2013.

 

There is something about running that appeals to family bonding, particularly between parents and their children once they are both adults. That is the case for Don and Elspeth Lemon, who in recent years, have encouraged, supported and motivated each other in races ranging from the short to the long. Marathon by the Sea has played an instrumental role in that process and next month, both will be back for MBTS weekend, this time for the half marathon. Read their story and then find out what major event they have planned for later in August. Enjoy.

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by Donald and Elspeth Lemon

When Elspeth completed university in 2006, she suggested I get back into running as it was something that she was going take up now that she was done school and moving back home. She remembered that I had run years ago and thought it was something we could do together.

I can remember two things from that time: I could barely run 1 km the first time I ran, and Elspeth moved to Fredericton shortly thereafter, so for the next few years, we only ran together half a dozen times.

Running with Elspeth is what makes each race special, no matter what the distance. I never thought I would run more than 5 and 10 km races, but Elspeth decided to try a half marathon and suggested I should too. So I did, and discovered it wasn’t impossible to run further. I never thought I would run a marathon (never say never!).

Then in 2010, Elspeth said she’d like to run a marathon before she turned 30. So I said I would do it with her and it would be nice to do it for my 60th birthday. At this time, we were three or four years away from this “goal”, so neither of us really thought much about it. A few years later, she suggested we should decide which marathon to run. We chose Ottawa 2013 as it is one of the biggest races in Canada and it is close to home.

In the lead up to this year’s MBTS, we also have profiled Carolyn Radcliffe, Andrew Estey, Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulback, Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

Even though Elspeth lives in Fredericton, we got together up there or in Saint John for our long runs, taking turns on who gets to travel. We both train with the Running Room but like the opportunity to do our own thing from time-to-time and choose our own routes and pace! It’s also nice (for both of us) to have a change of scenery once and a while; even though Elspeth tends to find the best hills Fredericton has to offer for our long runs!

Neither of us have been fortunate enough to stave off injury over the past 10 years but we are always there for each other, to encourage one another and adjust our training schedules to accommodate the other’s needs. Elspeth was battling a severe case of plantar fasciitis leading up to our second marathon together (Chicago 2014) so the bulk of my long runs were done solo while she took about six weeks off.

You can register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea here.

However, we were able to do the ever important 32km+ runs together leading up to the race. We’ve had many great conversations while out running for 4+ hours or simply planning which meal we’ll have when we get home.

We’re now trying to figure out what our next big goal race will be. Together, we’ve run all around New Brunswick, the Bluenose in Halifax a few times, Ottawa Marathon in 2013 and the Chicago Marathon in 2014.

Elspeth and Donald Lemon run together in the St. Andrew's Father's Day Road Race in  2014

Elspeth and Donald Lemon run together in the St. Andrew’s Father’s Day Road Race in
2014

We decided to forgo putting our names in the New York City marathon lottery for the 2015 race but we are now contemplating that as our 2016 goal! We figured we might as well go as big as we can if we are going to run a marathon together!

That’s what makes our marathons so special. We train together and run the races together. What I enjoy are the conversations we have when we’re running. We are there for each other, keeping the other one motivated when we get sore and tired – we never let each other give up.

There is nothing more exciting than crossing that finish line hand in hand – we’ve accomplished something pretty amazing together. Our race times do not matter – I wouldn’t trade the time together for anything.

Check out the complete Marathon by the Sea schedule

Marathon by the Sea holds a special place in both our hearts. It became our goal race that first summer that we began running. We decided to run the 5-Miler together. Although the training was difficult, we persevered and it did get easier. Unfortunately, Elspeth couldn’t run the race as she had soccer commitments that day.

I completed the race on my own as Elspeth and her sister cheered me on before they had to jet off to a soccer game. Elspeth always makes a point of getting home to Saint John for MBTS. Over the past 10 years, between the two of us, we have ran every distance the race offers. This year, we are doing the half marathon together.

Check out the results from 2014

Elspeth was injured last summer while training for her second marathon which forced her to drop down from the half marathon to the 12km distance at the last minute. This will be her redemption race and she is looking forward to being able to run across the Harbour Bridge. Training has been harder this year than in the past. After our marathon together last fall, we both took an extended break over the winter (who wouldn’t have with the weather we were having!).

Elspeth and Donald stand outside the Expo for the 2014 Chicago Marathon last October.

Elspeth and Donald stand outside the Expo for the 2014 Chicago Marathon last October.

We have both found this year more difficult than expected to get back into top running form but we are looking forward to completing this race together.

Our love of running has caught on in the family too! My youngest daughter (Hilary) now runs regularly in Fredericton with Elspeth during the week. She will also jump in with us on our longer training runs and keep us company for 5-10km.

All three of us will be toeing the line during MBTS weekend.

Elspeth and I will be crossing another finish line on August 29th when I walk her down the aisle.

Check out the photo gallery from last year

The Running Whys 2015 – Carolyn Radcliffe

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Carolyn Radcliffe crosses the finish line of the 5 km race at the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea.

 

The Running Whys – Carolyn Radcliffe

Carolyn Radcliffe’s road to the 10-kilometre race as part of the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea started on a bike.  She wanted to lose weight and did, dropping 30 pounds through Weight Watchers programming and time on the bicycle. But that was only the beginning in her inspiring tale of dedication. Thanks to a work-sponsored running clinic, she took up running; slowly at first but now with great enthusiasm and appreciation. Check out her Running Whys story and find out how much progress she has made, how much weight she lost and what the sport has provided in other areas of her life. Enjoy.

by Carolyn Radcliffe

I began running last year in May 2014 after losing 30 pounds on Weight Watchers.

I had always been overweight. In fact, my younger school years were full of body shaming and bullying. I had never really given any sport or diet a proper chance because I just didn’t believe I could do it.

When I was about 15 I was told by Herbal Magic I had about 100 pounds to lose for me to be considered a ‘healthy’ body weight.

It was like getting hit by a bus. I knew I was overweight but I didn’t realize I was that overweight. I saw this task as completely impossible and quit before I started.

In the lead up to this year’s race, we also have profiled Andrew Estey, Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulback, Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

In February 2014, at 26 years old, I decided to give Weight Watchers a proper chance. There was no way I was not going to don a bikini that summer – all bodies are bikini bodies – but I wanted to be comfortable and confident in my skin. I got back into fitness with what I had adored as a girl – biking.

After I had gone from about 250 pounds to 220 pounds with biking and dieting, I decided to really challenge myself by taking up running.

My work was holding a learn-to-run clinic put on by Brenda Guitard from the Running Room. I was absolutely terrified to go to the first run because I knew a lot of people at work were really athletic and I was a complete beginner.

You can register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea here.

Carolyn Radcliffe and Brad Trecartin show off their medals after completing the 10-kilometre race as part of the Belfast Titanic Half Marathon in July.

Carolyn Radcliffe and Brad Trecartin show off their medals after completing the 10-kilometre race as part of the Belfast Titanic Half Marathon in July.

I went anyways, telling myself, “If I can’t keep up and just need to stop, then I will.” To my surprise, I was able to manage the 2-to-1 intervals at a slow pace and, boy, was I proud of myself. Ever since then I’ve kept running about 2-4 times a week.

The reason I run, aside from being able to eat more while dieting, is because I literally never believed I could do it and with every run I finished, I felt so damn good about myself! In my previous attempts to lose weight, I would look at the gym-goers on treadmills with envy and wish I could do the same.

Check out the complete Marathon by the Sea schedule

I kept training and ran my first 5km race at Marathon by the Sea in August 2014. I ran another at Legs for Literacy in October 2014 and was joined by my boyfriend Brad Trecartin, who had caught the running fever after I had gotten hooked. We both decided we could do more so we ran our first 10km at the Port City Beer Run in May this year.

We did our second 10km race on July 12 at the Belfast Titanic Half Marathon. It’s such a fun (and free!) date to get outside together and challenge one another. One thing I love about running is that I only compete with myself. Can I go further than yesterday? Can I shave a few minutes off my time?

Check out the results from 2014

Time and time again with running, I have proven to myself I can do so much more than I ever thought I was capable of. That realization has affected every facet of my life.

Since I’ve started to run, I’ve lost another 55 pounds – for a total of 85 pounds! Brad has lost about 50 pounds since he started. It’s hard to say if the running or the weight loss has given me more self-confidence but one wouldn’t have come without the other.

I’m so glad I’ve made running and activity in general part of my life. I’m so much happier and have much more energy and zest for life. Getting outside and doing fun things are exciting to me now and much less scary! I’ve also made some wonderful friends through running. I love it!

I never want to stop. Brad and I are already registered for the Legs for Literacy half marathon in October and maybe just one day I’ll run a marathon.

Scratch that. I am absolutely going to run a marathon one day!

Check out the photo gallery from last year

The Running Whys 2015 – Andrew Estey

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Andrew Estey celebrates with his children Grace, left, and Charlotte after completing the half marathon at the 2014 Marathon by the Sea in Saint John.

 

Andrew Estey wanted to run the 2013 Marathon by the Sea half marathon to celebrate, among other things, losing 100 pounds and embracing an active lifestyle. That all changed just over a month before the race, when he broke his neck. Read about his recovery, his success in 2014 and his big plans for MBTS this year.. Enjoy.

The Running Whys – Andrew Estey

Andrew Estey estimates he blacked out for 30 seconds.

Then, in the aftermath of a severe mountain biking accident, he dusted himself off and attempted to finish his Canada Day 2013 journey from Fredericton to Mactaquac and back.

About another three kilometres down the road, however, the pain from a broken bone in his neck and three crushed vertebrae in his back proved too intense. His riding partner sped ahead to get help and through swift efforts, Andrew got the treatment he urgently required.

As bad as it seemed, he was lucky – thanks to his fitness and strength.

What followed was fourth months of recovery, aided by a soft neck brace and plenty of emotional support from his wife Erica and family in Quispamsis, all knowing that had he not been in good shape – thanks in part to losing 100 pounds through the Simply For Life program a year prior – he may have become a quadriplegic in an instant.

In the lead up to this year’s race, we also have profiled Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulback, Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

Those were just some of the thoughts bubbling to the surface as he neared the finish line in the 2014 Marathon by the Sea half marathon.

It was shortly after 10 am, the sun was shining brilliantly in Rockwood Park and he could sense the anticipation of the finish area of an event he had been training for a year earlier.

Andrew Estey celebrates as he finishes the half marathon of the 2014 Marathon by  the Sea in Saint John.

Andrew Estey celebrates as he finishes the half marathon of the 2014 Marathon by the Sea in Saint John.

“I couldn’t see the finish line but I could feel it,” Andrew said of the final stages before the home stretch. “I am not a real emotional person but I will admit, as the thought of finishing crossed my mind, I did choke up a bit.”

Waiting at the end of his journey were the people who were there throughout – his wife and two children – proudly displaying banners of congratulations and support for Andrew, a St. Stephen native who realized an aspiration that in 2011, when he weighed approximately 300 pounds, represented the most distant of thoughts.

“I had set a goal, realized it and with my family there at the end, it was pretty awesome,” he said.

You can register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea here.

Using that platform as a base, Andrew shot for something even higher and on Aug. 9, is scheduled to run his first full marathon at Marathon by the Sea.

It is another in a remarkable transformation as it  wasn’t that long ago that Andrew decided to deal with concerns about his weight and signed up for the Simply for Life lifestyle plan with Erica (who lost 30 pounds).

Andrew, a chemical engineer at Point Lepreau, was running a bit at the time but was excited to see how weight loss would impact his energy and fitness levels. Inspired early on, he ultimately took on another big challenge – the half marathon at the 2013 MBTS.

“I was running but I was about 300 pounds, so you can imagine what it was like,” he says. “When I lost the weight, I started stepping up my distance.”

Check out the complete Marathon by the Sea schedule

Andrew Estey, wearing a neck brace, poses for a family photo with his wife Erica, children Charlotte and Grace in 2013 after he broke his neck and crushed three vertebrae in his back in a mountain biking accident.

Andrew Estey, wearing a neck brace, poses for a family photo with his wife Erica, children Charlotte and Grace in 2013 after he broke his neck and crushed three vertebrae in his back in a mountain biking accident.

He ran three or four times a week, worked in several gym sessions as well and continued to apply the lessons learned as he lost his weight.

Over time, he was gaining confidence and fitness.

On July 1, 2013, Andrew and a buddy took advantage of the holiday and that refreshing perspective with a mountain bike trip from Fredericton to Mactaquac and back.

That’s when he travelled down a side trail he was not familiar with, hit a jump and crashed, flying through the air and landing head first, some 10-15 feet from his bicycle.

Check out the results from 2014

For a brief time, he did not move, unconscious from the fall.

“I blacked out for 30 seconds or so and after, learned I had suffered a Level 2 concussion,” he said before explaining his injury.

“There is a bone that has two joints that fit into the top vertebrae in your neck that gives you your mobility,” he explained. “I broke one of those. Typically, when you break one, you break two. The skull plate then slips down and actually severs your spinal cord, leaving you a quadriplegic. Luckily, I was fit enough that my muscles kept it all in place.”

He attempted to keep going when he regained consciousness but had to send his friend forward to gain assistance and transpiration to the hospital.

As it turned out, he did not require surgery but went through four months of recovery with the soft neck brace. Quickly, he was encouraged throughout the process, as he felt strong enough to take long walks or attempt some chin-ups in his garage.

Check out the photo gallery from last year

In November, 2013, he was ultimately given clearance to resume activity without the brace and he did just that because “I am a go big or go home kind of guy.”

“The biggest thing to learn, because of my back issue, was to run with proper posture – shoulders up, back straight,” he said. “As long as I do that, then I do not feel any discomfort.”

He added: “I was fairly active before the accident, the best shape of my life. I am to the point when I am comfortable, almost back to where I was before.”

It’s led him now to the final stages of marathon training, which involve dedicated 4:30 a.m. runs through the week and a weekend long outing, through the at-times challenging hills near his home.

He also adjusted his plan for three weeks because he was away for work commitments. On the eve of MBTS, he has a time in mind for next month, it is an internal clocking he is keeping to himself.

Like many, he is slightly nervous as the big day approaches.

Andrew Estey’s children Grace, left, and Charlotte, hold signs of encouragement during the 2014 Marathon by the Sea half marathon in Saint John last August.

Andrew Estey’s children Grace, left, and Charlotte, hold signs of encouragement
during the 2014 Marathon by the Sea half marathon in Saint John last August.

“I do not think you ever truly know if you are ready, especially for the first one, until you go out and do it,” he said. “I have done the prep. Could I have done things differently? Could I have done things better? Probably but you do not really know that until you try it.”

Through all the barriers he has cleared, he’s been able to assess the reason why he runs, which includes everything from peace of mind to the impact it has on his children.

“My wife and I are both pretty active and running promotes the right types of behaviors for our kids,” he says. “We like to set a good example for them.

“Also, it is mentally relaxing to me; it is the only time I get to myself in the course of a day or a week. It allows me to be introspective. There is the feeling of accomplishment when you hit a new goal and I like how it helps with the waist line.”

 

The Running Whys 2015 – Corinne Fournier

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Corinne Fournier is using all of her running experience to prepare for her first full marathon which will take place at Marathon by the Sea.

 

The Running Whys – Corinne Fournier

From Saint John to Australia to South East Asia and back, Corinne Fournier used running to hit some fitness goals and then form the base for success in the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Her dedication has continued to earn rewards as next month, she will run her first marathon at Marathon by the Sea.  Read all the details in her Running Whys account. Enjoy.

by Corinne Fournier

“Running has thrown me into adventures that I would otherwise have missed”  – Benjamin Cheever, American writer

I was never into fitness.

In my teen years, I used to be the girl that would avoid gym class with every excuse imaginable.

When I was in university, a lot of my friends and students would go running to stay fit. I decided one day I would become a runner too (and what a great way to lose that “Freshman 15” everyone gains during their first year!).

Remembering some of those early runs now, I could barely make it around the block without huffing and puffing and having to stop to walk. I don’t even think I owned a pair of running shoes! I took a lot of walking breaks and had so many aches and pains I had obviously never experienced before. I stuck with it with the walking breaks becoming shorter and shorter.

In the lead up to this year’s race, we also have profiled Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulback, Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

It wasn’t long before I was running for fun instead of for fitness. What started as a simple way to try and get in shape ended up turning into a love for exercise I never knew I could have! It was also a great way to escape the stress of university life and to stay happy. I would always feel such in great mood after a run: Now I know we call this a “Runners High”.

During my time at university, my love of running also led me to discover the great sport that is Ultimate Frisbee. I have been playing since then and I have been lucky enough to play in several different countries.

You can register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea here.

After suffering a stress fracture and having to take several months off (we all know how tough that can be!) I landed in Australia to start my backpacking adventures. I was quick to buy a pair of running shoes and get out there to explore the city. In my second week in Sydney, I was thrilled to meet this wonderful backpacker from England who also had a passion for running.

Corinne Fournier, left, and her friend celebrate after running the 5-Miler at the 2013 Marathon by the Sea.

Corinne Fournier, left, and her friend celebrate after running the 5-Miler at the 2013 Marathon by the Sea.

I remember getting up at 6 a.m. in our hostel to go running. Not something you would see a lot of backpackers doing! Getting back into shape, being with her and discovering the beautiful sights of Sydney while running reinforced my love for running. (Thanks Kit!) I was also very lucky to meet other great runners and to receive running tips from great coaches! (Thanks Lachlan!)

Check out the complete Marathon by the Sea schedule

During my two years in Australia, running took me through some long runs. During my time in the Australian outback, it kept me fit enough to play two national championships for Ultimate Frisbee.

When returning to Canada after my first trip, I joined a few running groups in Saint John to stay in shape and meet some new people. That is when I discovered Saint John’s great running community! (Thanks Alex Coffin, Daryl Steeves and Running Room!)

One of those friends from the running group suggested I come participate in one of the races on the weekend. I did not have a lot of experiences with races and I felt really nervous. I never thought of myself as a competitor, I only ran for fun.

On the morning of the race, the sun was shining and I couldn’t think of a good reason not to show up.  I signed up the same morning and ran the 5km race. It was so much fun seeing all the familiar faces from run group and seeing so many great athletes competing. I had a great time all morning and I ended up placing first in my age group! I think that is the moment I got really hooked.

Check out the results from 2014

I ran several other races that summer, my first experience at Marathon by the Sea being one of them. I ran the 5 miler. It was my first time at a large race with several hundred runners. The excitement and atmosphere before, during and after the run was amazing. Marathon by the Sea was definitely memorable experience.

At the end of the summer, I ended up travelling around South East Asia again for a year. When I returned to Saint John last fall, I was excited to see all my runner friends again and ready to start getting back into running shape for racing season.

Running has helped Corinne in other sports, most notably Ultimate Frisbee.

Running has helped Corinne in other sports, most notably Ultimate Frisbee.

As we all know, this was one of the worst winters in Saint John’s history. Needing motivation to leave the house and go running, I ended up signing up for my second ever half marathon: the Bluenose in Halifax. I had a previous bad experience with distance running so I knew this was going to be a challenge (and not only because of all the snow!) Training went great and so far this year I have ran 3 half marathons.

This year, at Marathon by the Sea, I’ll be running my very first marathon! Running a marathon has been on my running bucket list for several years and what better place to do it than in my home town with my family and friends supporting me. I am also looking forward to relive the great atmosphere that Marathon by the Sea offers.
Check out the photo gallery from last year

My favorite part about my running journey has been celebrating accomplishments with other runners. Everyone has different goals, but they are exciting all the same. From new PB’s to further distances, returning from injuries and sometimes something as simple as getting out there for a run, they are all worth celebrating. Runners form their own community; building up and supporting each other through each kilometre.

If you would have told me six months ago that I’d be just around the corner from running a marathon, I probably would have said you are crazy. Now that race day is fast approaching, I am overwhelmed by the support and couldn’t be more excited (or crazy)!

I’m very proud to call myself a runner now.

Run happy.

Cheers!

 

The Running Whys 2015 – Kevin McEachern

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Kevin McEachern is using the Marathon by the Sea as the next stepping stone toward his goal of running a  full marathon.

 

The Running Whys – Kevin McEachern

For extremely personal reasons, Kevin McEachern got into running a few years ago. In short, it’s helped him through a stressful period in his life. But something else happened – he caught the running fever and last year, finished near the top of his age class in the Running Room Super Series. He’s got big plans for later this year as well. Check them out in this edition of the Running Whys.

Enjoy!

by Kevin McEachern

Why do I run?

I’ve thought about how to answer this question for weeks now (as I procrastinated on starting to write this J).  I had convinced myself the answer was nuanced and complex, and deserved a great deal of deep thought and analysis.  It really isn’t that way at all!

I started running because I was going through a separation.  As a (usually, except right now!) very private person, it’s hard to admit – but, going through these types of life-changing events tends to make you re-examine your priorities…to say nothing of looking for much-needed distractions!

I decided some physical activity would do me good and help relieve stress.  So in September 2013, I decided to run the Hampton 5-miler with my friends Mark and April (who had recently gotten into the sport).

Check out our Running Whys features on other participants in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Sea:

Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulback, Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

 

Looking back, it’s funny that I don’t recall doing any training whatsoever for the race.  I considered myself to be in good shape – at least as good as or better than my friend Mark (more or less my peer athletically since high school).  I had run 5K a couple of times (years ago), and was convinced 5 miles wouldn’t be much harder.  Imagine my surprise as, after a decent start, Mark left me in the dust around mile 3.5, never to look back.

You can register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea here.

By mile 4, April had passed me as well.  Determined to recover, I staged a furious rally and edged April out at the finish line in 42:26 – only to collapse in a catatonic heap for several minutes while everyone else milled about, casually sipping on water and sports drink (when I finally stood up, I embarrassingly recall being covered in grass clippings from head to toe!).

It was then I realized that “running shape” is a different animal entirely.  I resolved to get in actual running shape for 2014, with the goal of participating in the Running Room Super Series and placing top 10 in my age group.  After a winter and spring of preparation, I joined the race circuit and ultimately completed 10 Super Series races (ranging from 5K to Half Marathon) in 2014, to place 4th in the Super Series for Men 30-39 (including a much more comfortable 35:38 “do-over” in the Hampton 5-miler).

Check out the results from 2014

Although I had achieved my pre-season goal, I had now “caught the running bug”, and was not entirely satisfied.  I was well aware that all the other runners in the top 10 were all faster than me – I had achieved my result mostly based on a combination of volume and strategic race choices.  I resolved to train harder than ever in the winter (including outdoor running with my newly purchased stability spikes) to increase my speed.  However, I made the fatal mistake of going for an overly ambitious 5-mile run up a killer hill, during one of the first snowstorms of the winter.

Kevin McEachern, right, poses with friends Janie Jones and Mark Whittaker after the  2014 YSJ Airport Run.

Kevin McEachern, right, poses with friends Janie Jones and Mark Whittaker after the 2014 YSJ Airport Run.

Check out the complete Marathon by the Sea schedule

The next day, I felt a pain in my knee I hadn’t experienced before.  Within a week, I could hardly walk.  I had gone from “runner” to “injured runner” in no time at all, courtesy of one foolishly ill-timed and overzealous decision.

I would spend the next 4 months recovering from IT Band Syndrome, which mercifully resolved just in time for the 2015 season.  I now plan to run the Half Marathon a MBTS and if all goes well (i.e. no injury flareups), the full marathon at Legs for Literacy in October (bucket list item – would be my first!).

When it comes down to it, I’ve found that running is all about overcoming obstacles.

Relationships break down, financial struggles happen, family members fall ill, injuries derail us.  A lot of this is beyond our control.  But we can always resolve to run/jog/walk a little bit farther (or a little bit faster) than we did yesterday.  That’s what makes running special, and why I do it.  It’s simple to learn.  It’s easy to set goals.  It’s great stress relief.

And it’s so inclusive.  The running community consists of the most positive group of people I’ve ever been around – everyone aligned in the common goal of putting one foot in front of the other to move forward…quite literally!  And who doesn’t need a little more positivity and forward motion in their life each and every day? 🙂

Check out the photo gallery from last year

The Running Whys 2015 – Jason Kaulback

Jason

There is a perception among non-runners that running is agony. And even those first steps for many runners are not associated with bliss. Jason Kaulback was one of those who was initially skeptical. But unlike those who give up, he kept at it and over time become fully converted to running in his Nova Scotia home town, posting impressive results in events he took part in at various distances. Now a resident of Saint John, Jason is an example of the lengths one can go, thanks in large part to his participation in the Emera Marathon by the Sea.

Last year, he completed the full marathon and he is returning again this summer. Here is his Running Whys Story.

Enjoy

by Jason Kaulback

 

“Try running”, they said, “You’ll love it”.

I hated it, every step of the way. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. That was four years ago, and things have changed.

After being active in sports during my teens and into university, life got busy and I was guilty of not taking the time to enjoy playing sports or living a healthy lifestyle. Ready for a change, I decided to try running as a way to lose weight and become active again.

I can still remember the first time I went running; I made it about 500m and wondered how I would ever be able to run for any distance without feeling like I was going to explode. About the same time, I heard about a new running group that was starting in my hometown of Dartmouth.

Check out our Running Whys features on other participants

in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Sea:

Jacqueline Boucher, Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton,

Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer,

Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton

As is very typical, I didn’t think I was good enough and convinced myself that once I got to be a better runner, then I might consider joining a group. Little did I realize at the time, but that is one of the biggest hurdles for new runners, feeling like they won’t measure up.

I was finally able to convince myself to join this running group to see if it may help. With some encouragement from fellow runners (not that I considered myself a runner), I signed up for my first 5K race.

Catch the regular registration fees before this weekend’s deadline.

Register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea

The race was an amazing experience and a chance to see the larger running community. The race was the first time that I had even run for 5km without stopping, and I was hooked.

When I started running, I had talked to my brother about it, and he started about the same time that I had. As kids, we had always got along great, but when we played sports together, we were very competitive with each other.

For us, running became something that we could enjoy together without competing against each other. Darren has become a great supporter, and we have run most of our first big races together (10K, half marathon, marathon, Boston).

Check out the results from 2014 here.

I moved to Saint John over three years ago, and have been involved in Marathon by the Sea each year, either as a racer or a pacer. It’s a great race and I am always happy to support a local race.

Being a newcomer to Saint John, the running community was a great way to meet people and I have been amazed at how supportive and encouraging the people are, always as happy for other people’s achievements as they are for their own.

Once again, I will be running the marathon at MTBS, looking for a chance to improve my time on a challenging course.

Check out the photo galley from

the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea

 

The Running Whys 2015 – Jacqueline Boucher

Jacqueline Boucher

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

Enjoy.

By Jacqueline Boucher

When I was approached to write about why I run, the answer truly stumped me.  I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and playing sports but my running “career” is relatively new.  I began running in May 2013, when a friend asked me to start training with her and I said yes.  Looking back on it now, I can say that running began to fill in the gap that I felt was missing in my life.

The background to that statement is that I was 28 years old, married for several years, had graduated from law school five years earlier and was beginning to establish my own legal practice after having moved to Saint John in early 2012.  Sounds great, right? Well, to me, at that point, my only focus was on the fact that my husband and I had been trying to have our first child for approximately 18 months.

We were in the middle of fertility testing and had just found out that my husband would be sent on a tasking with the air force to Ontario for three months.  To me, every morning I woke up not pregnant was a disappointment.

Check out our Running Whys features on other participants

in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Sea:

Jennifer Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green,

Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

 

I needed a challenge, something to occupy my time, and the endorphins would help too.  All of that led me to say yes to my friend when she asked me to train for a half marathon with her.

We started off slow in May of 2013 with a 16-week training plan.  The goal was to complete a half marathon in October 2013.  We started off with a 3km run and it seemed endless.  After a few weeks, my friend ended up injuring her knee so I had to carry on training alone.  This is when running became a meditation for me.

My husband and I continued to pursue fertility treatment but that was no longer consuming my every thought.  I had a goal and while that did not completely heal the hurt and anger I was feeling, it certainly gave me something else to think about.

Catch the regular registration fees before this weekend’s deadline.

Register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea

I became a better wife, lawyer and person because of it.  I was less stressed out and felt really good about my body (which had recently only been a source of disappointment) for the first time I can remember in my adult life.

When race day finally came around, I was ready, and am proud to say I completed my first half-marathon in just over two hours on Thanksgiving weekend in October 2013.  Two weeks later, my husband and I were over the moon to find out we were expecting a baby in July 2014.

Check out the results from 2014 here.

Needless to say, running moved off my schedule during most of my pregnancy and after a very rough delivery our daughter, Brynn, was born on July 10, 2014.  It took me several months to even begin to feel human again after my pregnancy and I did not have a typical maternity leave.  Due to the nature of my work, I only took about 10 weeks off and, thankfully, my husband was able to spend nine full months bonding with our daughter.

It was a full year after completing my first half marathon that I got out for my first post-baby run.  It was rough and then the winter of all winters struck New Brunswick.  Running on a treadmill could not get me off the couch the way that running outside did, so running was again, on hold until early in 2015.

At that point, I knew I had to sign up for a race “or else.”  So, I signed up for a 13km run in April 2015, and set goals of completing a half marathon by May, and then doing the Marathon by the Sea in August.  It was a long, hard, winter, but I finally was able to put sneakers to the pavement by March and so far, I have completed both of my first two 2015 goals with my sweet daughter cheering me on both times.

Check out the photo galley from

the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea

Marathon by the Sea will be the first time that I cannot say that I just want to finish the race.  This will be my third half marathon and I have a time in mind that I want to finish the race by (although I am keeping that time to myself!).

Running has given me strength to get through a dark period in my life.  It is not always easy to balance home life, work, and fitness.  I try to remind myself of how good it feels when it’s over and that inspires me to try and get outside.

I have never really had huge aspirations of completing races.  I want to be an inspiration for my daughter and to be able to show her that she can do whatever she puts your mind to and that there are many facets to life to be proud of and the biggest part of that is simply putting one foot in front of the other.

 

The Running Whys 2015 – Jen Payne

Main photo 1

When Jennifer Payne moved to Saint John, it was running which helped broaden her social circles. Then she got hooked and traded cupcakes for kilometres, using the Marathon by the Sea as an annual goal race. She is back again this year, using the half marathon as a gauge to assess her training as she prepares for an attempt at a full marathon in the fall.

Here is her Running Whys story.

Enjoy.

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by Jennifer Payne

Why do I run? What a loaded question!

Running initially was a way for me to get in shape and lose those last 10 pounds. When I first moved to Saint John, I inevitably gained a bit of weight. I was in a new city, I knew very few people, and basically tried to eat my way to happiness, one delicious cupcake at a time. Needing a positive change, I decided to get serious and lose the weight I had gained.

I joined the gym and started to watch what I was eating. Within those four walls of spin class, something miraculous happened – I met people! People who were my age, enjoyed food just as much as I did and exercised so they could indulge once and a while. The bonus was they were all extremely nice! Exercise became more of a social activity than a mandatory weight-loss necessity. I was invited to join a boot camp with my new found friends and against my better judgment, I agreed to try it.

Secondary photo 2At the first boot camp, I could not run a kilometre without a struggle. I remember watching the others effortlessly pace themselves and chit chat as they ran the warm up distance. I was behind them all, envious and dying to stop, get in my car, and go home.

That is where my addiction to running started.

Check out Running Whys features on other participants in this year’s Emera Marathon by the Sea:

 Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green,

Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan and Krista Sutton.

My first goal was small- run the kilometre without being winded. I met that goal and even finished the kilometre loop first a couple of times. (I still think my fellow boot campers purposely slowed so I could ‘win’ and for that I am forever grateful).  That was four years ago and I have been running ever since. It is not the speed that excites me as I am a one-pace kind of gal. It’s the distance that gets me every time. Each time I would add a kilometre to my run, I would be amazed at how far I could push my body to go and anxious to add another the next time I was out for a run.

About six months after I caught the running itch, I trained and ran my very first race and first half marathon. The race selected was Marathon by the Sea – a Saint John staple for the running community. I thought it was a crazy idea and I held off signing up because I didn’t want to waste money and be a colossal failure.

Check out the photo galley from the 2014 Emera Marathon by the Sea

I took it one week at a time.Secondary photo 1

A group of us trained together every Sunday for our long runs, and left a couple shorter runs to do solo during the week. I looked forward to our Sunday runs as running with people made the time fly by, and it also pushed each of us to improve and be better as a whole.

Finally, I gave in and registered.

When our day had arrived, my crew of runners took off out of the gate all together – slowly we broke apart, some sped ahead, others lagged behind, until it was just me and my friend Mary. It was a tough course and at the turn around, we both started to lack motivation. I began using landmarks to help us push a little bit further. Funny enough, all the landmarks I chose were fast food joints along the route! I can remember saying ‘We just have to get to the Golden Arches,’ and hearing Mary giggle beside me. When we finished the race, I was bursting with pride and astonishment- I just ran 21k!

As I crossed the finish line, I experienced the ‘runners high’ everyone kept talking about: the crowd was cheering, I heard my name over the loud speaker, my love Jay had come to see me finish with our sweet black lab Lola, my best friend Becky came down from Fredericton with her husband and baby to enjoy the event. Friends who were participating and even those not participating in the run were there to congratulate me on a job well done.

The support was overwhelming and amazing!

Register for the 2015 Emera Marathon by the Sea

This will be my fourth year running the half at MBTS. Why I chose to come back this year for another half is simple- repetition and redemption. I had one of my worst runs last year on this course- blame it on the searing heat that day (the one day runners in Saint John pray for fog), the new course that included the beautiful yet torturous Harbour Bridge, that I ran out of water with 2k left in that heat, or the simple fact that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been from a training perspective. Whatever the reason, I posted my worst time yet (glass half full, it was a Personal Best for something, as my mother would say!).

It was a huge lesson for me in running- you’re not always going to beat your PB every time. For someone as competitive as I am, that was a very pill to swallow. As much as I tell myself this, in the back of my mind, I am running this year to blow my time from 2014 out of the water! I am also using MBTS as part of a new training schedule I am following for my very first full marathon attempt in the fall 2015.

Running has certainly evolved for me from a monotonous task to lose weight to so much more than that. It’s where I’ve met the most amazing circle of supportive people who I am blessed to call my friends.

It’s where I’ve learned to push my body past limits I never thought it could reach. Lastly, it’s where I do my best thinking without thinking at all. There is no greater cure for the stress that life can sometimes bring than lacing up those sneakers and hitting the pavement.

The Running Whys 2015 – Mark Clinton

Mark Clinton

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 the cliché of the treadmill/clothes hanger. I even renovated a whole basement around it by moving it from room to room.

Over the winter of 2012-13, I watched as Holly joined and became more involved with the Fundy Extreme Triathlon Club. I saw how welcoming and supportive this group of people was and wanted to be a part of that community in some way, even if it was just so that Holly could tell her new friends that I “ran” as well. I dug out the treadmill in earnest.

Throughout that first summer and fall, I ran exclusively on the treadmill. The idea of even running outside, let alone in a race was far from my mind. I was determined to run a few times a week, lose some of the weight I had gained after quitting smoking years earlier, and try not to hurt myself in the process.

Somewhere around the new year, with Holly’s encouragement, I decided to sign up for my first actual race: The Brent Kelly Memorial 5 Miler. The amazing atmosphere, the positive and inclusive attitude of everyone there, and the love of life that just surrounds these events had me hooked from the start. Despite being somewhat disappointment in my run/walk through the Nature Park, I immediately went home and signed up for the next run on the calendar. A running addict was born.

It wasn’t long before the idea of actually finishing a half marathon started to take root. The more runs I attended, and the more people I met, the more encouragement and confidence I had in my own abilities. My friend, running partner and one of my biggest cheerleaders, Brittany Merrifield, graciously let me in to her seemingly perpetual marathon training schedule, and has become a huge motivator and inspiration to me.

During the Beat the Tide 10k in July, I experienced in one race, both the lowest of lows, the highest of highs and the best that running has to offer. It was around the 8 or 9 k mark in the searing heat – the last water stop had just run out of water – and I was hitting the wall. I began to walk with full intention to walk the remainder of the course.

Carolyn Prebble came up from behind me, said something to the effect of “you’re not going to quit now”, and she never stopped encouraging and motivating me to keep running all the way to the finish line. (Where we inexplicably joined hands and crossed together in a spontaneous gesture of shared pain and accomplishment.) Such is the overwhelmingly supportive nature of the running community in Saint John.

I’ve watched the Marathon by the Sea grow and develop since the beginning. I remember standing at the sidelines at the start/finish line when Holly ran MBTS halves in 1999/2000, and thinking how impossible it would be for me to get to that place. But there I stood, 14 years later, hopping up and down with pace bunny Gina Hyslop and the rest of the 2:15 hopefuls, ready to run 21k for the first time in my life.

The race was an adventure, as all races seem to be in some way. I worked the 10’s & 1’s for the first time with Gina and company, and stayed with them until the Harbour Bridge. It really helped me with the nerves to be around a group and listen to their stories as we ran together. After the Harbour Bridge, I was feeling completely spent and nearing my limit, when who do I see waiting for me by the side of the road?

Carolyn Prebble, who made a special trip in just to help me finish it out. She dragged me, kicking and screaming, through the last few tough kilometres of Rockwood Park to the finish line in 2:15:48, right where I wanted to be. It’s a gesture like this that exemplifies the generosity of spirit and incredible kindness of the Saint John running community, to which I am now proud to be a member of.

I’ve done three half marathons since that day, and I have three more on the schedule this year, including a return to Marathon by the Sea. I look forward to improving my time, but even more, I look forward to the adventure it will undoubtedly be.

The Running Whys 2015 – Patty MacMillan

Patty MacMillan

Three times, Patty McMillan has fought cancer. On May 28, less than a month ago, she finished 18 weeks of chemotherapy in her latest battle. Among the initial plans for Patty, who completed the full marathon in Saint John a year ago, was training for the 5km Into the Night race at Marathon by the Sea this August.

What follows is her inspirational account of her challenging journey, the courage she displayed, the friends and family who supported her and the determination she showed to set and achieve weight-loss and running goals.

Enjoy.

 

by Patty MacMillan

 

I was never athletic growing up….

I never ran a race in my life….

Cancer changed everything….

What changed for me in the beginning was in my early 20’s I was told I was “Pre Diabetic.” I weighed in at 300 pounds at only 5ft 6″. This shock was only the beginning of a 11 year struggle with weight, health and finding the love of running.

Just beginning to exercise at 300lbs is a major step to overcome for anyone but I started and that’s all that mattered in the beginning. I started in 2004 and over the course of more than two years, I worked out at a gym only, enlisting the help of a trainer in 2005 – Cory Keith and lost 120 pounds.

No small feat, a lot of work, a lot of behaviour changes and I still had no clue about running since I was a gym fanatic at that point in my life.

All things that go well for anyone at my new fitness level do eventually have health challenges to overcome. It can be as simple as fatigue, strains or as complex as surgery but never could I have imagined it would be cancer.

In April 2007, I had a major abdominal surgery done and was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I did not have Chemo at that time and had an eight-week recovery period. Not having gym time for eight weeks after two years of steady progress was not easy to take. Finding my way back to the gym would have a very pleasant twist that I am very thankful for every day!

In 2007 – eight weeks after my first surgery one of my co-workers – Heather Urquhart – told me of a running group that met weekly at UNB Saint John track on Tuesdays. It was free and you got to learn how to train for running races or for fun. I was very nervous and skeptical of my ability to run after major surgery. With her support, we both headed out to the group to start my first run. I was very happy to meet so many nice people and there were no judgements on ability!  It was so hot that first day and the track seem to never end! I was exhausted when I was done but happy with my first try.

Everyone gave me encouragement to come back and each week I did. I found I could not stop going because of all the fun! Many encouraged me to do my first race in Hampton.

The Hampton 5-miler I trained for was in September 2007 and from there, I was hooked on running! It became the most alive thing I have ever done! I learned how to overcome physical and mental challenges and how to push my limits during that race. I also found a lot of encouragement from complete strangers on the route and from other runners as well!

I love that feeling!

I continued to run a lot and in 2008 I did my first MBTS. I was thrilled with long-distance running so I joined the KV Full Marathon Team race with co-workers in 2009. I continued running every week with co-workers picking various routes each week to mix it up and we continued to run races in Saint John, Hampton and KV.  I had some great races and some with challenges.

Once, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital after only running 1 km with muscle burnout. I learned after that to pace myself!

Our co-worker group started to dismantle late in 2010 and even though we don’t run together anymore I have made so many running friends! Over a few years I ran a few more MBTS events – another half, 10km, and in 2011 I did my first Dual-a-Thon race at Rockwood Park. Finally in 2012, I did the Saint John to Grand-Bay 15km race.

I joined a running group on the West Side called the Fundy Fog Chasers in 2013! This running group has been my rock ever since!

Just when I got settled in on life’s routines, more change came. After six years of being cancer free, I got the surprise of my life on a routine check up. My cancer was back – so off I went for more abdominal surgery in June of 2013. This surgery was just as long and just as invasive as my first surgery. There were eight more weeks of recovery and no chemo.

I counted myself lucky but I had a lot to overcome this time, physically, mentally and emotionally. After my recovery I got back to the running group but I was a walker at that point and continued to rebuild. The hardest thing to do is to start at the beginning and keep motivated but I had this wonderful group for support! It pumps me up every time I think about them!

I set my MBTS goal for 2014 …. to do the Full Marathon!

The day came to run that race (August-2014) and I still have the same feeling as the first race I ever ran! The race had its challenges but when you get to the point of exhaustion and maybe quitting, there seemed to be a friendly face in the crowd to cheer me on to keep going – maybe a family member, a friend, a stranger. Regardless, it gets you through to the finish line – in six hours and 15 minutes. I finished that full race with the help of many!

After the MBTS race in August, I thought ‘what next?’

I have been running just as long as I have been fighting Cancer?  I continued to run after a three-week break but I then found myself back in the hospital in October 2014 with complications from my prior surgeries. With that came another major surgery in November where I found out my Cancer progressed.  Not what you ever want to hear but nothing can change that outcome, you can only move forward.

In January of 2015, I started 18 weeks of Chemo, which I completed on May 28th, 2015.  I now find myself back at the beginning again. I attended my first night out walking with the Fog Chasers one week after Chemo was done! It never felt better to be out among friends and to be starting to plan again for a race!

Never losing sight that I will run again of course, so my 2015 goal is to run and maybe a little walking in the MBTS – the 5km into the Night.

My “Running Whys” are many.

My story maybe long but running makes me feel alive and free!