Camino de Santiago

by Ivana Baldelli

After years of marathon running, I was ready for a change. In 2019, I found the challenge I was looking for: to walk a “camino” in Europe, where there is a highly established network of ancient pilgrim routes. The backbone of the network is the French Camino, or Camino Francés. Historians write that this route was originally walked by St. James the Apostle, and thus it is often referred to as The Way of St. James. The “finish line” is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain.

This walking adventure felt like a natural progression after middle-age marathons, Running Room programs and fitness centres. Come September, I was not going to be a tourist on vacation—I was going to be a pilgrim on the Camino Francés.

Continue reading “Camino de Santiago”

Iceland’s Church Run

by Rebecca Maybury

As most readers will understand, runners have a slightly warped definition of the word “vacation.” This is precisely how I found myself awake hours before dawn on Boxing Day during a recent family holiday, about to embark on a 14.5 kilometre run around Reykjavik, Iceland.

In the spirit of inclusion, I had invited the entire family to join me, but only one showed even the slightest enthusiasm. As the rest slept off the overindulgences of the previous few days, my cousin Matthew and I zipped across the frozen Icelandic tundra in our rental car. Destination: Seltjarnarneskirkja, a church sitting atop a hill on the outskirts of the capital.

Continue reading “Iceland’s Church Run”

A Marathon and More

by Sandra Karl

When it comes to marathons, I have a tendency to make big plans. In May 2017, I limped across the finish line of the Ottawa Marathon, hampered by an Achilles tendon injury. At that moment, I vowed to myself that I would be back in 2019 to celebrate my 50th birthday and complete the Lumberjack Challenge.

The Lumberjack involves three races (2K, 5K and 10K) on Saturday afternoon, plus a full marathon on Sunday morning. To save you from doing the math, it’s a total of 59.2 kilometres. I viewed it as the ultimate “Embracing 50” party with my sister, brother, husband, kids and running friends. Continue reading “A Marathon and More”

An Old Friend

by Gary Poignant

I’m thinking about reconnecting with an old friend: the marathon.

My first marathon was in 1996, in Victoria. It improved my life in so many ways. I discovered strength and stamina I didn’t know I had. I finished many unforgettable races, including Boston, Chicago and New York City. I became healthier and happier.

And, most importantly, I found true love.

In May 2001, I convinced my partner and best friend, Linda, to join me for the Edmonton Marathon. She had finished a marathon six months earlier and agreed to sign up for the epic journey through Edmonton’s streets, along the same course set for the world-class athletes at the World Championships that summer. Continue reading “An Old Friend”

Words of Wisdom from the Marathon Woman

by Kelly McGurrin

My two best running buddies are my mom, Helen, and my friend of over 40 years, Julie Michel. All three of us are breast cancer survivors. The pleasure and therapeutic value we get from running cannot be expressed in words; it’s pure emotion and endorphins.

We have run the Ottawa Race Weekend numerous times as well as another favourite, the Space Coast Half Marathon in Florida. A “bucket list” race we’d often considered was the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon. This year, we decided to go for it. Continue reading “Words of Wisdom from the Marathon Woman”

The Watch

by Hunter Potter

Dear Mom,

It is not often that I talk to you through writing, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done for me. I would not have been able to achieve the level of success and happiness I am experiencing if it wasn’t for your constant support and kindness. Recently, I was given the task of choosing one tangible object that is very meaningful and significant in my life. I chose to carry my GPS wristwatch. We both share the same passion for running and cross-country, so you know that this watch means much more to me than a simple device that communicates time and distance. Continue reading “The Watch”

Out of the Ordinary

by Melissa Ellis

I ran until I found a balloon.

It was floating by and the string dangled lazily across the sky. I thought it might get tangled on the trees close to the road, but it floated just above the tree line and skimmed across them to continue on its way. I smiled and turned around.

This will be my year, I thought. For one year, my runs would be marked by the finding of the ordinary and the special of the things I saw on my run. Continue reading “Out of the Ordinary”

Atacama Crossing

by Troy Schaab

I blame YouTube. That’s where I stumbled upon a video about a 7-day, 250-kilometre race in Chile’s Atacama Desert. I was in.

Upon arriving at the village of San Pedro de Atacama, I met the other 81 runners from around the world who were also jacked up about this adventure. I remember feeling way out of my league. Most of the runners had done previous multi-stage races and seemed to have all the latest in cool gadgets and running gear. The majority of the supplies in my backpack still had the price tags on them. Continue reading “Atacama Crossing”

There Are No Red Lights in Marathons

by Kalia Douglas-Micallef

“But I’m tired,” I moaned and huffed as my mother and I arrived at a crosswalk with the red hand flashing.

“There are no red lights in marathons,” my mother would say.

“Keep jogging on the spot!”

My mother, Gabriella, transformed her life through running. At times, it seemed that running was the new love of her life in place of me, her daughter. I would wait in the early mornings for what seemed like forever for my mom to come back from her long runs. I would be the last one to be picked up at birthday parties due to her running.

She travelled far and wide, just for running. Continue reading “There Are No Red Lights in Marathons”