by Rosemarie James
Imagine running an errand to purchase fish for a family supper, and you end up running a marathon. Believe it or not, that is what happened to me.
One September evening, I noticed a sign in the window of the Running Room store located in Churchill Square in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It said they were offering a clinic called Women’s Learn to Run. As I had no experience with running, and did not even own a pair of running shoes, I decided to see what it was all about. Although running at night did not really appeal to me, I signed up and figured: “What have I got to lose?”
I learned from the store manager, Bruce Bowen, what I had actually gotten myself into. He informed me that a 30-minute training program session would be held every Friday evening and that each one would offer a presentation, followed by a question and answer period, and concluding with a short run. He explained that the talks would be given by guest speakers on topics such as nutrition, sports medicine and running techniques.
As I arrived at the first session, I scanned the room and started worrying that I was out of my element. Most of the women in the group were the same age as my children! Two weeks into it, I quickly realized that age was not an issue. We were all there to learn how to run. It didn’t matter the age or fitness level; we all came from different backgrounds. I was the oldest and the one with the least experience in physical activity. Completing the Learn to Run program was my first success. I was in my 60s and was never an athlete or had even participated in sports on a recreational level. As you can imagine, running 5K, experiencing no injuries and loving every minute was an unexpected thrill for me. My excitement continued to grow with every run, and as I progressed I came to realize that I had truly found a passion. You might say I hit the ground running!
I became involved with more training programs, meeting fellow runners from all over the province and becoming involved with community-sponsored activities. Sticking to the program step-by-step helped me prepare both mentally and physically, as well as handle the demands of my daily runs. Becoming a member of Running Room has enabled me to achieve goals I never thought possible. The tremendous support I received allowed me to complete a half marathon, the 10 mile “Tely-Ten” race, the New York City Marathon and the Ottawa Marathon—all within one year!
Thank you to Running Room, my running mates and my instructors. A special thanks to my family who, by the way, never got fresh fish for dinner on that September evening!