“I Will if You Will!”

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by Niki Fitzgerald

Only a few years ago, I remember my friend Susan telling me that she was working towards her first 5K race by running on her treadmill.  After sharing all my reasons for running outside, she confided that she preferred running at home so no one would have to see her run.

I thought she was progressing well, so I encouraged her to register for an earlier goal race, which eventually (after some cajoling) she did. This unleashed a racing beast! She loved it so much that she signed up for several more races that summer.

Susan (on left) with friend Niki at the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

My favorite Susan running story happened during a conversation later that fall in which I was encouraging her to run a 10K. After several back and forths of “I can’t do it” and “Yes, you totally can” came the memorable moment when she blurted: “Fine! I will, if you will!”

“Fine!” I exclaimed in reply.

The look on Susan’s face was priceless when she realized she had just agreed to run a 10K.  Of course, she rocked it at the Tannenbaum 10K, finishing way ahead of her goal time. As it often happens in the running world, Susan became intrigued by longer races and completed her first half marathon in 2017, training on her own. Naturally, the next step would be a full marathon.

Susan joined a training program at the Newmarket Running Room and completed her very first full marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall. Waiting for her at the finish line were her mom, husband, brother and sister—who all completed the 5K race because they were inspired by Susan and her newfound passion.

As it turns out, 2018 was a colossal athletic year for Susan. Not only did she become a running demon and bona fide marathoner, she completed her first sprint triathlon as well as a two-day, 130-kilometre Ride to Conquer Cancer between Toronto and Hamilton.

Watch out sporting world, Susan is on fire! Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for her!

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