Member Gesine Freund is running with heart
The distance between Montreal and Ottawa is about 200 kilometres. For most people, getting from one to the other city requires taking the car, train or even the plane. Gesine Freund puts on her running shoes.
From June 29 – 30, she will be running from Montreal’s St. Justine Hospital all the way to Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The route takes her via Laval, Oka, Montebello, and Cumberland along the Ottawa River and the Rideau River – Gesine is an ultra-runner who dedicates a lot of her running to charity.
This is the second time Gesine is running from Montreal to Ottawa. She completed the run for the first time in September of 2016 in 38 hours; a time she says she’s hoping to improve this time. A crew car will be accompanying her along the highways and serve as aid station on this non-stop run.
“Sometimes we have to learn our lessons the hard way,” she says, reflecting on the run in 2016. As a result of not hydrating and fueling frequently from the beginning as planned, she had to deal with excruciating muscle pain and at one point, couldn’t put one foot in front of the other, it was very difficult to keep going. But she did.
How do you train to run 200K in one go?
Gesine runs almost every day of the week, all seasons. She trained over the winter holidays at -30something degree, she ran every day on her recent vacation, and some days she runs twice, commuting to work to get the training mileage in, ranging from 70 to 100 km a week. She also loves yoga, and on now and then going to the gym with her son, or doing a stairs workout. It all helps her stay motivated and run strong and happy.
Gesine has been running for about 10 years. She started running longer distances in 2013 when she met a group of people training for a 100 km run to raise money and awareness for children with cancer. At the time, she had just started training for her first marathon, but instantly decided to double up her training. She ran three 100 km (one race, two fundraiser runs) within three months time frame in 2014 and knew that was just the beginning of a new journey.
“Running is now a big part of my life,” she says. “It helps me keep a balanced lifestyle, focus, and each run feels invigorating and in a way empowering.” Back in 2008, on her first time trying to run after many years, Gesine recalls she could barely finish the 5 km loop around the neighborhood. If you feel that way, she recommends you do what she did, and chat with a runner! The running community is very eager to welcome you with open arms, and they are happy to share their lessons learned. What motivates them, will soon motivate you.
“I feel inspired by so many fellow runners, cyclists, yogis and others doing really great things to give back to the community; I love to challenge myself and at that same time help make a difference,” she says.
Gesine continues using her running as a platform to run for charity and now teamed up with Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation.
The Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation was established in memory of Phoebe Rose who passed away in November 2015 from mixed lineage (MLL+) infantile leukemia. She was only five years old. The foundation works hard to put every dollar raised towards groundbreaking childhood cancer research and supporting affected families.
Gesine lost her mom to cancer, and being a mother herself, she says she cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak parents, families go through when their child is sick. She has friends whose child fought or is still fighting. They count on our support and we definitely need to raise more awareness for rare diseases, and more research needs to be done to give those children a better chance.
Running or not, you can follow Gesine on her epic run from Montreal to Ottawa on June 29-30, 2018 – the route and live updates will be posted via her Facebook page @GesineRuns.
For more information about Phoebe Rose and the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation, to support childhood cancer research in Ottawa, and across Canada, and to help affected families, follow the link to their website.