July 12, 2019
By Jeannette Boudreau, Ontario
You can do anything you set your mind to.Benjamin Franklin
A few years ago, I started a small running group in my hometown. I set up a small post in one of our community Facebook groups calling on women who were interested in learning to run.
I always wanted to help women get motivated to run because I know how amazing I feel when I run, and I had always wanted to teach people how I started so that they, too, can feel as good as I do when I run. I was very skeptical about starting a group like this because I am not an expert at running. I am by no means a trained, professional athlete (see disclaimer here). I am just a regular gal, wanting to share my knowledge and love for running with others. I always had thoughts of ….<<If I could only teach one person what I learned along the way, then it would be worth it.>> I conquered my fears of the unknown and decided to share my passion and love for running with others.
I was shocked at the immediate response to my post! Women from all over this little community wanted to join the group. They tried to run. They wanted to learn how to run! And that’s when I realized that I was on the right path!
Many ladies were excited about the new running group, and before I knew it, we had set up times and places to meet and start training!
Our first meeting took place at a local high school running track. It was an excellent place for a small group of women to learn. When the group met, the first thing I told the ladies was that I wanted them to run 1 kilometer by the end of our first session. Most of the women never ran a day in their life, so they were a little weary of my high energy and push.
I told the soon to be runners that the running track measured 400 meters. (Most outdoor school tracks measure this). I said to them that all they had to do was run half of the track five times. (not in a row, but at their own pace). They could do whatever they wanted in between their half-track (200 m) runs, but they had to complete this challenge….slow and steady.
Many of the women did not think they could run 1 km, but they all set out to try. Many of us believe that we can’t do anything. We are raised in a world where self-doubt and negative talk is normal. The words “I can’t” can be heard daily in our lives, from the people around us and within our own selves. We grow up to believe that there are certain things in life that we will never have, or we can never get. We think we aren’t good enough; we can’t do it. It’s easy to say, “I can’t.” It’s way too easy. Because of this, we give up on our dreams. We don’t think we can…because that’s what we are taught. It’s easier.
As the ladies began to walk or jog slowly, some chatted, some listened to their music, and some watched others lurking around the track. I got behind them and shouted ….let’s go …half a lap……. you got this! A little push and off they went…..half a track (200 m) ….running, jogging, huffing and puffing. 5 Times ….not in a row, but in total!
Every single woman ran half of that track… 5 times that day! Every single woman could not believe that they had run 1 Kilometer! This brought me so much joy. As each woman came to an end, their excitement and joy to be able to say “I ran 1 kilometer today” was astonishing. Some of them took longer than others, but many of them were off to the beginning of a great running journey. Some of the women in the group continue to run today. I had an opportunity to run in a race with one of them and run a 10 Kilometer practice run with another.
This is my motivation! This is why I began the journey with A Great Canadian Running Challenge. I know in my heart that there are many people out there looking for ways to run, to feel good, to get healthy. I want to teach people that they can do anything they set their minds to do. I want to teach people to make time for themselves and persevere to achieve their goals.