November Runner of the Month: Christina Walker
In 2010, Christina Walker’s husband Carl passed away quickly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite her work as a cancer researcher and Carl’s work as a doctor, the family was shocked by the severity and speedy progression of the disease.
Before he passed away, Carl had hoped to run Canada Army Run. Though not a runner herself, Christina and her son decided to run in his place.
“I’d never run before,” says Christina, recalling training for her first race. “But I was happy to run from streetlamp to streetlamp and get a little further each time. In September, some friends and I ran the 5K.”
The following month, Christina stepped up the distance to 10K and ran a second race. Shortly thereafter, Pancreatic Cancer Canada asked her to put together a team to raise money for pancreatic cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.
Though Christina did not know what this would entail, she said yes. What has followed is an ongoing process of community building, fundraising and a passion for running.
“I love running now. I find it soothes my soul. Like those days you don’t know which way to turn, you take the time and say ‘I am going for my run,’ and things sort themselves out.”
As captain of the Purple Team, Christina annually gets around 30 runners and walkers together to fundraise. To date, the team has raised $271,000.
In addition to recruiting members, building team morale, and of course, fundraising, Christina also gives back in special ways to Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Have you seen the bagpipes at the startline? Did you see the Hercules flyover at the start of the 2017 10K? Those initiatives were spearheaded by Christina!
What’s more, this year she also helped support runners as a member of the Extra Mile Crew for the Scotiabank Marathon and Half Marathon.
“What a fabulous thing to do!” she says. “I got to see my runners while they were on the course and I met some wonderful people who were running for all kinds of reasons. It was so rewarding. I have my story, but there are so many stories.”
A diligent recruiter (who even tried to recruit us during our interview!) Christina is always looking for new members to join Team Purple. You can contact her here.
To learn more about Christina, follow her on Twitter.