by Shelley Moody-Wright
Bob Thompson is our one-of-a-kind 5K coach extraordinaire. He has led 32 consecutive clinics with loads of enthusiasm and grace… well, sometimes when he’s running he’s not that graceful, but he is always full of enthusiasm!
He has brought people from the depths of “Oh, please don’t make me run,” to a point where they are saying “Wow, running is so much fun! I can’t wait to see what Bob has in store for us next!” He is our rock, our inspiration, our mentor, our coach, and most importantly, our friend.
There aren’t enough pages in the magazine to describe this incredibly amazing person we call “5K Bob,” so we asked his training program participants (past and present) to share their views.
What About Bob?
Here are some testimonials from Bob’s training program participants:
“Bob made running so much fun that we continued in his 5K training program for almost two years, even though he felt we were ready for the 10K and continually encouraged us to move up. He is such an inspiring, fun and upbeat guy.”
– Collin & Bradley
“When I first started running, Bob made me feel so welcome. He always ensures no one is left behind. He offers options for fast, faster and fastest, which make everyone feel like a real star. He also makes the runs interesting—for example, the 32 Street 4K, the historical Ottawa South 5K and the ‘Bob Jokes Run’ where he tells jokes continuously. Bob also organizes post-Run Club gatherings at the Arrow and Loon Pub on Wednesdays and Sundays. I have enjoyed running with Bob for the past seven years, and he has inspired me to lead the 10K program.”
“Bob has been such a cheerful, positive influence in my development as a runner, with his neverending smiles and upbeat nature! His imaginative routes (27 street lanes, alleys and hidden hills), historical tours, amazing races, pursuit runs and little competitive challenges maintained my interest in running so that it became a habit and allowed me to progress to the next level. Thank you, Bob, for being the pillar of my running life.”
“It is because of Bob that I have an active and lively social life which revolves around my Running Room family. He pestered me to come out with the group on a Wednesday for a post-run drink and/or for a Sunday breakfast. I finally gave in to his encouraging (nagging), and am so much better for it! Bob is a central figure at Bank Street Running Room and is also quite a character!”
“When I mentioned that I was thinking of signing up for my first 5K training program, Bob said: ‘Oh yes, definitely take it, because I am teaching it.’ My first thought was: ‘Oh no, this guy was in the army—he’s probably really mean and is going to be hard on us.’ Now, every time I mention it to anyone who knows Bob, we all laugh about it.”
– Ana Maria
“Bob’s communication skills are impeccable. He double checks with everyone and invites them to the pub to rehydrate after the run, or out for breakfast after Sunday morning Run Club. He is responsible for bringing a large number of acquaintances together to become not just running mates, but truly valued friends.”
“Bob makes everyone feel welcome and encouraged. His message has always been that running is for everyone—it doesn’t matter who you are or where your ability lies. Between his welcoming spirit and social activities, Bob has made me enjoy my time at the Running Room, to the point where I get desperate to return whenever I have an extended layoff from running.”
“Bob’s presence brings humour, laughter and good times to every moment before, during and after the run. I have completed many 5K clinics with Bob since 2015, before becoming the Learn to Run instructor in 2018. Thank you, Bob, for all you bring to the Bank Street Running Room. It is special and appreciated!”