Global Running Day, for us, really, is every day. However, with all eyes on runners for 24 hours, it seemed only right to highlight some of our heroes of the sport. We asked readers and Olympians, people all over the country, to tell us who they admire in the running game. This is just a snapshot of what makes running so great. It’s the exercise, the motion, the runner’s high, sure; the racing, the goals, the fancy shoes. But really, when you boil everything down and take what we love to its essence: it’s the people, the community. Here are a few stories by a few authors of runners we love. Happy Global Running Day, be kind to a runner you love.
Lynn Kanuka, by Natasha Wodak
Coach Lynn is positive, motivating, and dedicated. I’ve run for a long time and think her and I work so well together because she’s done all this running stuff herself. She knows exactly how I feel — cause she’s done it all! On my good races, she says “Tash, you were so awesome out there!” On my bad ones, she says “you were tough out there & you did your best.” And when I won the Ottawa 10K (finally!), she said “TASH! You did it!” Then a big hug cause she was there:) Lynn herself is an extraordinary runner. She ran 4:00.27 in the 1500m in 1989, which is still the Canadian record!
Nathan Brannen, by Cam Levins
His career inspires me. His ups and downs, and returns from injury are so impressive; it’s something I didn’t truly respect and understand until experiencing difficulties myself. Especially I think of his fight back from surgery in the fall of 2007 to ultimately qualify for the Olympic team the following year. I admire both the discipline and determination it took to recover from every setback, and always be competitive regardless. It takes a great love of the sport to continue running and racing hard despite adversity, and I think few displayed this better than he did. His story is a reminder of the things that are worth it are rarely easy, but never regretted.
Caster Semenya, by Justin Lagat
She is natural. She isn’t going to accept to use drugs for IAAF to accept her race in her favourite distances ranging from 400m to 1500m.
She is bold. She isn’t affected by what others think about her. She runs confidently with her head held high despite everything and doesn’t show any signs of seeking sympathy from others.
She is flexible. She already has other plans for her career after running. She does not quit. She won’t. No one can stop her. Ever.
She fights for what she believes in. Even while pursuing other options to remain running competitively, she was able to go to court to appeal the decision by the IAAF to prevent her from competing. She continues to do so.
She is quiet and lets her legs do the talking. She is not known to talk very much about her impressive runs and plans to run fast times ahead of her races, but she goes ahead and beats every competitor in her races.
So much so, that they tried —and failed—to change the rules.
Terry Fox, by Colleen Berry
Terry Fox is an icon. His legacy is kept alive in celebration of his Marathon of Hope on the third Sunday in September with the Terry Fox run. This generous and selfless young man had a dream to contribute to the possibility of ending cancer. He was a pioneer of many things, especially the concept of endurance running for charity. This took much planning, but he was frugal—and resourceful. His ambition had little support or awareness in its beginnings. However, as the mileage logged from the journey which commenced in St. John’s Newfoundland, it picked up interest by the time it reached Ontario. Unfortunately, its notoriety and enthusiasm was just picking up steam when Terry hit a major road block beyond his control—cancer—but he had faith that others would continue his dream.
It is up to us to continue to go the distance. A young man running with a prosthetic (crude compared to today’s equipment), covered a marathon distance each of his 143 days. The ironic thing about this is that Terry, though he unfortunately succumbed to cancer, has saved the lives of many. His example of concept, courage, incredible effort, and accomplishment are ways to live that spills over into many facets in our lives. Terry Fox was a real person and did everything within his ability to make a dream come true. It did, and it is up to us to carry it through.
Maya Anderson, by Sarah Hull
As a female runner, someone I’ve always looked up to is Maya Anderson. She is someone who took a dream and made it come true when she left the corporate world to open BlackToe Running with her husband Mike Anderson. As a passionate runner despite any setbacks she may face, Maya pushes through and continues to run with the BlackToe Race team, showing resilience and grace. Maya truly supports every member of the BlackToe Race team, being selfless, announcing birthdays and setting up epic cheer stations during races, almost always sacrificing racing herself. A good race or bad, you can always count on Maya for a post-race hug as she truly cares about each and everyone who runs.
Jean Paul Bedard, by Larry Dearlove
JP took a very bad experience (his childhood abuse) and did not let it define him, but instead used it as the driving force to help others who have suffered similar experiences. He has become a champion for many as he has used running as a way to inspire others. He has many outstanding running accomplishments, but as a fellow marathoner, I am still in awe of his running the STWM four times in one day.
Krista DuChene, by Kirsten Parker
There is something so personally inspiring to me about how committed she is to running her race at this moment in time. She is so present with maximizing the skills she has right now and not thinking about the past or things she can’t control.