“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” – Haile Gebrselassie
Ok so I am a little late with this…I meant to jump on this and have it up right after the 2017 Vancouver marathon. I did not happen. I had been watching the results of the Vancouver marathon earlier this year and saw a story about an almost unknown runner showing up as the top Canadian runner at the international calibre event. I was intrigued. I also noticed his last name – same as a co-worker in Ottawa.
Sometimes Canada is as small as we joke about it being – big land mass but very connected population. So one thing led to another and I connected with this runner –meet Michael.
Michael is another east coaster like myself, being originally from Berwick, Nova Scotia, a small town in rural Nova Scotia (I remember running a race there years ago). Like many maritimers he moved away for studies in 2013 and is still in school pursuing a PhD in Physiology at the University of Alberta.
Michael however only started running when he started graduate school, running recreationally 3-4 times a week without any structured training program. He quickly discovered he was not half bad at it quickly after jumping into the Edmonton Half Marathon and running 1:25. The new runner became I hooked on the Alberta running community and even did a brief stint with the University of Alberta Golden Bears Cross-Country team. As he got more serious he found a coach and a club and now trains with the Edmonton-based Running Room Athletic Club (RRAC) coached by Matthew Norminton. The RRAC has several athletes in Edmonton who race primarily middle- and long-distance events from 800 meters on the track to trail ultra-marathons, and everything in between.
I liked the Nova Scotia connection and always like chatting with runners. New enthusiasm and newness to the sport almost oozes out with the sweat on his forehead – and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I miss the newness of running.
Michael’s chat to Canadian Running right after his finish:
Michael is sponsored by the Running Room and below are some of his recent race performances.
- 2017 BMO Vancouver Marathon (2:34:07)
- 2017 Jasper Canadian Rockies Half-Marathon (1:16:16) 2nd
- 2017 Banff Marathon 10k road race (34:11) 1st and course record
- 2016 Mizuno Midsummer 5k (15:53) 5th
Canadian Running online magazine article about Michael.
I tracked down Michael and asked him a few questions:
How did it feel to be top Canadian at the Vancouver marathon?
“It was an exciting surprise to be the top Canadian at the BMO Vancouver Marathon. There were a lot of outstanding Canadian athletes there at the race. I just tried to focus on the variables I could control (my race plan, efforts, pacing, etc.) rather than variables outside of my control (other athletes race plans, placing, etc.). It was great to see the hours on the treadmill and running through the frigid Edmonton winter come to fruition.”
What are your goals this year?
“My goal for this year is to dip under 2:30 in a fall marathon. Currently I don’t have any other races on my calendar, however depending on how the build-up for the fall marathon progresses I may try and improve my half-marathon or 10k PB in a late summer race. However I may adapt this goal a few times depending on the time-constrains I end up facing with school.”
What drives you to run and race?
“The main drive in getting me out to run and race is the Edmonton running community. I am quickly realizing how small (and passionate) it is. I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to meet inspiring people from diverse backgrounds that all share a thirst to run. I am not going to try and name everyone, because I am sure I would miss someone. However, even if they train with one of the other groups in Edmonton, whether it be the Running Room Athletic Club, Fast Trax, Run Collective, November project, RunLab, etc. Seeing everyone else out there and hearing the stories keeps me pounding the pavement.”
Winning a race is always a thrill and something I wish everyone could experience, but we cannot – thus we often live through the victories of others and dream. Keep running Michael and hope you achieve your goals!
Run on running friends – see you out there.
Give me a shout if you have a running story to share – or know someone who does.