Being fit, competitive and healthy has always been important to me. Growing up, I played team sports enjoying the camaraderie of winning/losing together. After university, I needed an individual sport where I could train, challenge and inspire myself. I wanted flexibility to practice any place, any time, without any excuses. You can always run. So, I became a runner.
Many miles later I was racing half marathons and marathons; getting faster with each race. I run in “the gap” - the space between competitive and recreational runners. I enjoy the thrill of winning races, but mostly I show up to conquer my goals.
I live and run in the northern city of Edmonton, Alberta, where the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America is my running playground. I run year-round in temperature swings from +30C (86F) to -30C (-22F). Whether at home or traveling, I usually run before most people are out of bed. I’m driven by a love of running, and a lack of excuses not to run.
Running is a solo sport requiring intense mental focus, but it’s not lonely. When you join thousands of people at the start line of a race, you feel all the dreams. Every race, I am inspired by runners’ dedication and pursuit of excellence. For me, running is community. My running accomplishments would be impossible without the support of my training friends and strangers on the trails.
There is much to be learned, from the deceptively simple act of putting on a pair of running shoes and venturing out onto the roads. Running has taught me that if I can conquer that little voice in my head, I can do anything. Running encourages me to set impossible goals; train diligently; adapt the plan; and race hard. I apply the same courage to being an entrepreneur. My athletic calves and running-wide feet inspired me to join my sister in co-founding Poppy Barley, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way women buy footwear with made to measure boots and shoes.
When I’m not running trails or running my business, I’m likely practicing yoga, attending a HIIT class, or convincing others to join me for an early morning run.
"Mark Sutcliffe writes so convincingly in Why I Run that he made this reviewer set aside a long-held belief that marathon running is an incomprehensible form of voluntary self-abasement.
The book is subtitled, "The remarkable journey of the ordinary runner," but don't be fooled. There's nothing ordinary about Sutcliffe, a Citizen columnist, radio and TV show host, and founder of iRun magazine.
There's no smugness in Sutcliffe's writing, and that's remarkable in itself. Marathoners are in great shape, but the ones I've encountered tend to be a tad self-satisfied.
Still, I admire what they accomplish. Marathoners work through blisters and bloody nipples as easily as some of us work through a big bag of Miss Vickie's potato chips.
Running eases the uptight urban mind, Sutcliffe says, and confers a host of health benefits. All true, no doubt.
But it's the stories of the people Sutcliffe has encountered through running that make the book so inspirational."