People who are embarking on a New Year’s resolution to get into shape can face daunting challenges along the way. Fortunately, those whose fitness plan includes running the Times Colonist 10K on April 28 can find help.
Run/walk clinics have become an integral part of the 10-kilometre race for many first-time participants. The clinics provide a step-by-step program that gradually takes novice and experienced runners alike through 14 weeks of instruction and preparation.
While success ultimately rests with the individual, having a coach along the way can provide welcome encouragement and feedback. Participants of the run clinics will quickly identify with the volunteer run leaders they meet because they, too, started off in a similar manner.
“I like to think of leading a run clinic in terms of ‘;paying it forward,’ ” says Shawn Porter, 49, who leads a run group out of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre. “I used to run alone along the beach, not knowing if I was doing it right. When I joined a clinic I learned how to improve my technique, how to stretch, and other information. Now I pass on the knowledge and experience I have gained to somebody else.”
Porter got his start six years ago when his wife Donna entered him in the TC 10K run clinic as a Christmas gift.
Today, the couple form a husband-and-wife team.
“It’s been great, and somewhat unique,” Donna, 53, said of their common passion. “It’s been great for our relationship. Running is just one more thing we do together.”
The 13 clinics are held at recreation centres throughout Greater Victoria, Sooke, Shawnigan Lake and Ladysmith. The first of the classes start Saturday and the remainder next week. Depending on the location, some classes take place on weekday evenings, others during the day on weekends.
The results of the clinics and individuals are impressive. Every year the TC 10K attracts more than 13,000 participants. It is the second-largest 10-kilometre race in Canada, following only the Vancouver Sun Run.
“Every person who starts and finishes the race has their own story,” said Jacqui Sanderson, TC 10K race director. “I have been privileged to witness the sense of accomplishment on the faces of people on race day. Their faces tell me of the struggles and challenges that they had to overcome to arrive at that point. When I see the smiles on their faces, I know I made a positive impact on their lives.”
Pedro Arrais is a TC 10K co-ordinator and run leader based at Pearkes Recreation Centre.
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The 14-week run/walk clinics cost $120 plus HST. Entry to the TC 10K, event T-shirt, use of recreation-centre facilities on clinic training days and more are included in the fee. Early-bird registration for the race, a $5 savings, for individuals, plus school and corporate teams is available until the end of the month. For more information, go to tc10k.ca.
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