iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine
Calgary 2017 Flagbearer

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

November 2012

Back to Table of Contents

Why I Run: More than encouraging

A few weeks ago, I ran my fastest marathon ever. A few days later, on my first run after the race, my training buddy Bob exclaimed, “That’s very encouraging!”

Encouraging? I just ran the best race of my life. And I’m not exactly a young man any more. I took almost three minutes off my previous best, which I had run more than four years (and 10 marathons) earlier.

I always thought I had another fast marathon in me, but I wasn’t sure. So to me the result was thrilling, exhilarating, blissful. As I told Bob, encouraging was not how I could describe it.

However, to some people, marathon times are viewed primarily in one context: Boston.

I’ve never qualified for the Boston Marathon, the Holy Grail of amateur long-distance running. Whereas Bob has run Boston twice. We run at the same pace but because he’s older than me, his qualifying time has been within our reach. So far, mine hasn’t been. Even my new best time, 3:27:12, doesn’t get me in to Boston.

But it does get me closer, which is why Bob described it in such terms. We’ve talked many times about one day running Boston together.

I had always thought I’d have a shot at qualifying for the 2014 Boston Marathon as a 45-year-old. To do that, I’d need to finish under 3:30:59, a time I’ve hit twice before. But last year, the rules changed. Thanks to increased demand, organizers made the times even tougher, just when I was getting close. Under the new rules I now have to run under 3:25 to qualify.

Plus, another change means that instead of first-come, first-served, registrants are now accepted based on their race times. So you can run a qualifying time and not get in if all the spots are taken by faster runners. In other words, even 3:25 might not be enough. I might need a 3:20 to be sure I’d get in.

If I was fixated on Boston, then running a personal best and still being seven minutes short might actually be discouraging rather than encouraging.

But when I ran my fastest marathon in September, I wasn’t even thinking about Boston. Technically, the race was too early to qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon anyway. But my goal was simply to go out and run as well as I could. I thought if it went well, I might get close to my fastest time, but I wasn’t expecting a PB.

It was an unusual event: an evening race on a course of eight loops. At the start, the temperature was a little warmer than I hoped, so I wasn’t sure if a fast time would be possible. Plus, a few people had suggested that a loop course might be boring.

It turned out to be a perfect night. It was the first time I’d run a marathon with the temperature cooling as the race progressed. And I found the loops broke the race into manageable pieces. I never thought about how many kilometres I’d run, just how many loops. And I saw many of the same spectators and volunteers over and over again, which gave me lots of encouragement.

When I crossed the finish line, all I thought about was that I’d run faster than ever before. It was a thrilling moment.

A few weeks after our run, Bob sent me some news that actually was encouraging: Boston organizers revealed that there were still spots available for 2013 a few days after registration opened, meaning they didn’t have to cut anyone who qualified simply because too many faster runners got in. So it’s possible that a 3:25 will be good enough for 2014 after all.

I think if I train hard, I have a shot at taking another two minutes off my time and qualifying next year.

But it’s not all about Boston for me. Even if I never run a faster marathon, I won’t be disappointed or, um, discouraged. I’ll always look back on my personal best in 2012 as one of the most exciting results in my running career and one of the biggest thrills of my life.


If you like the “Why I Run” column, you’ll love the book!  Drawing on more than five years of writing about running in newspaper columns, magazine features and blog postings, Mark Sutcliffe chronicles a journey that begins with a guy looking for a bit of exercise and evolves into running as a way of life. Read more about Why I Run here, or order your copy from the iRunGEAR store!


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