by Sahar Khanani
In November 2015, four individuals showed up at Vancouver’s Wesbrook Village Running Room. It was the first day of their Learn to Run training program led by store manager Vicki Mann and her husband Bill. With low expectations and high motivation, they were all concerned that they might not even make it to the end of the first session. Meet the four:
- Zara (age 65): looking to improve her overall health and fitness, spend time outdoors and hopefully find a group for support and camaraderie. Never a runner.
- Sahar (age 44): a super-busy working mother of two, an electrical engineer and project manager tied to her desk with no time for fitness. Never a runner.
- Claire (age 36): a long-time yogi and meditator balancing work and studies, fighting asthma and chronic sinus issues. Never a runner.
- Edith (age 42): a passionate yogi, tree-hugger, dog lover, and busy mother.
Fast-forward two years, including several 5K to 10K races, and these dedicated people (now known as the “Turtles”) are officially runners. They even added a new team member after their first year: Hesha (age 34), a former finance professional turned graphic designer—also a running rookie—who fit into the group perfectly.
The Turtles have been running three times a week since their first training program, for a total of about 20K a week. While they all enjoy running, none has any delusions about winning races or being the best in their category. Running gives them a strong sense of camaraderie, while keeping them physically and mentally fit. Their secret? Showing up no matter what. Well done, Turtles!
From left: Claire Loewen, Zara Rigby, Vicki Mann (instructor), Edith Berlin, Hesha Phillips, Sahar Kanani