My Natural Medication

by Marjan Ashrafi

My depression and anxiety started back in 2004, when I lost my only sibling. My young and beautiful sister died in an accident. After her death, I began to notice myself worrying and overthinking everything. Crying became a daily part of living. I didn’t have any 
motivation for anything. I felt my medication wasn’t helping enough. I hated myself and my life.

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The Sixth Star

The Tokyo Marathon

 Below, another Canadian runner shares her story of completing the Tokyo Marathon, the sixth event in the Abbott World Marathon Majors series (the other five are Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York). Now in its 12thyear, the series attracts thousands of runners from 190 countries. Amateurs can vie to complete all the races in the coveted Six Star Finisher program, which was launched in 2014. Continue reading “The Sixth Star”

A Change for the Better

by Shane Dixon

If anyone tells you that running will change your life, you should listen, because it’s true. I’m living proof.

Throughout most of my life, the bulk of my time was spent going to the gym, lifting weights, and, like most younger men, trying to become bigger and more muscular. I often neglected the importance of cardio activities, and instead focused mostly on weight training. During this period of my life, I also enjoyed Toronto’s night life, and spent many nights going out to bars and binge-drinking with friends. Partying served as the perfect outlet for me as I was unhappy with parts of my life, miserable with my sales job, and chose to drown my sorrows with alcohol. Continue reading “A Change for the Better”

Big Bird in Tokyo

Below, a Canadian runner shares her story of completing the Tokyo Marathon, the sixth event in the Abbott World Marathon Majors series (the other five are Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York). Now in its 12thyear, the series attracts thousands of runners from 190 countries. Amateurs can vie to complete all the races in the coveted Six Star Finisher program, which was launched in 2014. Continue reading “Big Bird in Tokyo”

I Did It!

by Alice Bohlen

I never really considered myself a runner or someone who has the “running bug.” But, all of that changed when I volunteered at the legendary Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2015. The people were cheering, upbeat music was playing and there was a lot of diversity in the crowd. It was the hidden community of running that I always seemed to be drawn to. So, two years later, on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, I completed a 10K race with my cousin. In this first run, the thing that made the biggest difference for me was the atmosphere. It certainly was the best source of adrenaline that I could have.

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Running Bloopers

by Kristi York

Finish-line moments are highly memorable, no question. You’ll always remember how you felt as you achieved a personal best time or conquered a new distance. But you likely also have other moments etched in your mind: the mistakes, the mix-ups, the times things didn’t go as planned. Once on a run in my neighbourhood, I slipped on a patch of black ice, resulting in a spectacular wipe-out where I landed squarely on my (to use a technical term) left heinie. Every time I run past that corner, I cringe inwardly. If you’re a runner, you’ve likely experienced a running blunder of some kind. Here are three of my greatest goof-ups:

Locked Out
I headed out for a mid-day run with my house key stashed safely in my zippered pocket. It was a chilly fall day and as I rounded the corner for home, I eagerly imagined having a hot shower and putting on some cozy, comfortable clothes. The only problem was, the garment I was already wearing wasn’t going to cooperate. The zipper of the pocket containing my key was completely, utterly stuck in the closed position. I pulled and tugged, but the thing wouldn’t budge. I was not carrying a phone and we do not have a hidden outdoor key. Plus, it was a weekday, so all the neighbours were at work.

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A Life Sentence

I could not tell you the exact moment, event or even potential series of events that led to the extreme shifts in my mood. I can only tell you that there was a time in my life that I spent many a day and night contemplating death. It went on for years. I was unreliable, sad all the time, and absolutely without any energy. It had been too many days, weeks, months and years of the same thing that I had lost any hope that I would ever wake up feeling any better. Not being here seemed like the best option. As a result, I ended up hospitalized after a deliberate overdose, at age 27. To say that the whole incident was completely terrifying would be an understatement. I was lower than low.

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Running Through the Bush of Ghosts

by Tim MacKay

Crunch, crunch. Breathe. Crunch, crunch. Breathe.

The snow underneath my feet responds to my pace with a rhythmic crunch, matched by a parallel rhythm in my breathing. There’s great comfort in the rhythm. It’s soothing, healing. It’s important. Maybe essential. The rhythm—the consistent beating—is what keeps me going. It marks the mental space I find the most comfort in, with a steady ‘left, right, in, out’ bringing calm and peace. And when set along a trail in the woods, the forest bathing me in solitude and simplicity, this healing rhythm is as close as I can come to perfection. Continue reading “Running Through the Bush of Ghosts”

Holes in My Socks

by Grace Ferguson

I remember walking into the sports store, tagging along behind my mom. She was picking up her finisher’s medal from her most recent race. I watch people trying on the brightly coloured running shoes in one corner, bouncing on their toes before shaking their head and pulling out another box. Another woman looks in the mirror to see how she likes the new Brooks running shorts on display. I look around at all the fun gear, Nuun tablets, and rollers.

“I wish I was a runner,” I say wistfully. I twirl my chlorine-damaged ponytail that spends almost four hours a day in a swim cap. There was something tantalizing about the idea of lacing up shoes, feeling the burn of the sun on your shoulders, the sting of sweat dripping down your face. Continue reading “Holes in My Socks”