BY: RICHARD HASKELL
Millions of years before long-distance running was taken up for recreation, it’s purpose was strictly utilitarian.
Indeed, anthropological studies have proven that the very earliest hunter-gatherers sought food by simply chasing an animal to the point of exhaustion. Later on, ancient Greece was famous for its messengers who would run miles to deliver the latest news, among the most famous being Philippides who, according to legend, ran from Marathon to Athens – a distance of more than 30K – to announce the Greek victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490BC.
Today, running is a recreational sport, and those of us who are less athletically inclined than we’d like to be can look on with admiration at the speed and stamina possessed by those who do it well – Usain Bolt, Catherine Ndereba or Michael Johnson. Yet most who run long-distance do it not for glory or fame, but simply because they enjoy running – and what better place to do it for a good cause than the fourth annual BIST Run Walk and Roll 5K race coming up on September 20?
Among those taking part – for the fourth year in a row – are Colleen Boyce and Garvin Moses. Colleen – who is the executive director of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario (NRIO), Founding Chair of BIST and a member of the BIST communications, volunteer and BIAM planning committees – has always been athletic, involved in a number of different sports over the years.
Colleen runs all year round, whether it’s plus or minus 30 degrees, averaging around 25K per week during the spring, summer and fall. Her motivation is “simply for recreation and as a means of a great cardio workout.” The BIST 5K is the only race in which she participates and while she follows no set regime, Colleen maintains a healthy diet and always does some basic stretching before setting out. Asked whether she followed any plan of action during the BIST race, she replied:
“I tend to start off slowly and within the first kilometer, start building up to a consistent rhythm, maintaining that pace until the last kilometre, where I speed up, if I can.”
Garvin has been a serious runner for many years. He’s currently Program Manager for the Mississauga Residence and the Supported Living Apartments (SLA) program at NRIO, and like Colleen, has been involved with athletics since he was young. He began to run competitively after he started university, and eventually competed in the national championships. Garvin also runs all year around, but typically does more mileage during the spring and summer than the winter. He explained that last year’s frigid winter was particularly challenging:
“There were times I would reach home and the sweat running down my forehead would be nothing more than an icicle!”
In addition to competitive running, Garvin also participates in duathlons, involving both running and biking, so he currently cycles as often as he runs, and possibly even more so.
Asked if he did anything to prepare himself for a race, he explained:
“I typically do a very light workout the day before a race. Over the week I try to carbo-load, then the day of, I have my music playlist and visualize the perfect race. I find that this is the most important thing regardless of everything else that may be out of your control. The best thing is to manage to do things you can control, i.e. have a good breakfast, ensure shoes are tied and double knotted and go out there and run the best race you are capable of. I typically open a bit harder until I get into a rhythm then sprint for the line in the last 1K-500M.”
While few of us can claim to be in the same athletic league as either Colleen or Garvin, we can at least cheer them on – and all the others – from the sidelines on September 20.
Alternatively, if you happen to be a runner, walker, or roller yourself, why not come out and participate? With any luck, the weather will be fine (after all, it simply can’t pour rain two years in a row(!)) and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning amidst beautiful surroundings.
So the best of luck to Colleen, Garvin, and the hundreds of others who will be taking part in this year’s Run Walk and Roll. Whether you do it a breakneck speed or a leisurely stroll, you’re ALL winners for helping in the cause of brain injury programs and awareness!
It’s not too late to sign up for the BIST 5K!
(Survivor members can fundraise their registration fee)