Gatineau Neighbourhood Runner – Terry SanCartier

In 2007, Terry SanCartier, a member of the Run Ottawa-affiliated running club Place du Portage (PdP) Road Runners, ran his first ever marathon in Ottawa.

“You never forget your first one,” he says. “The goal was to do 3:45, and that’s exactly what I did. Coming through the finish line, having done something so big, I was ecstatic. I’d never done anything like that.”

Originally from Sudbury, SanCartier moved to Nepean in the late ‘80s to attend Algonquin College, and moved to Gatineau in 1991. It wasn’t until 2007 that he began to run in earnest: that year he ran marathons in Ottawa in the spring and Toronto in the fall. Gradually it came to be that he was running up to three, then five, and then six or seven marathons a year.

“In those early years I really tried to get into Boston,” he says, “but it was getting tough and I was disappointed after some races.”

Worried that his love for the sport would fade, he adopted a different objective: to run 50 marathons before he turned 50.

“I reached that goal when I was 45,” he says. “Then I had two months where I thought, ‘what am I going to do now?’ So I made it 100 marathons by the time I was 50.”

SanCartier turns 48 this month and he just completed his 75th marathon on Nov. 4 at the Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope. With only two years and 25 marathons left to go, he plans to run at least 13 marathons in 2019.

Here is the map of my chosen running route. I call it the Champlain Bridge Loop — I alternate the direction from time to time but I most often start on the Ontario side of the river. The Quebec side of this route is not flat and is good training for races with uneven terrain. I enjoy this loop as it is generally less congested than the paths along the canal in the summer months — especially on the Quebec side.”

He regularly runs in Ontario and Quebec but would like to run more in the Maritimes, the prairies, and the territories. He and his girlfriend, Geneviève Lagrange, also take turns deciding on an international running trip every year. Next year, he decided that they’d go to Croatia.

“My girlfriend and I absolutely love to travel, and it fits in with my love of photography.”

In 2014, he travelled to Gambia, West Africa to participate in a run called Love4Gambia. Created to promote and raised funds for health education in Gambia, SanCartier was part of a group that ran 424 km in 17 days — this just a week after he ran Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

“I like sharing stories, but it’s not about boasting,” he says. “It’s about inspiring people… It sounds so cliché, but had I not run that marathon in 2007 of course I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have done something like the run in Gambia to help people in that country.”

SanCartier, who lives in Gatineau near Chelsea and works in Ottawa at Transport Canada, joined the PdP Road Runners about eight years ago. Several civil servants realized they were all leaving for runs from the Place du Portage complex and began to run together.

Richard Goodfellow, a founding member of PdP, says they chose nicknames for each other. Due to his high mileage, SanCartier’s nickname was Diesel.

“He is one of the nicest guys I know,” says Goodfellow. “His strategy seems to be to meet a new friend at every race in order to pass the time.”

Sometimes the PdP Road Runners would take a slightly longer lunch, says SanCartier, and drive into Gatineau Park. Though fall is his favourite season to run, he remembers summer lunch runs being a lot of fun. One day, the PdP crew drove up to the O’Brien Beach P11 parking lot to run to the Carbide Willson ruins. They capped off their jog through the woods with a cool down in the stream’s water.

Goodfellow remembers the day just as fondly: “Did Terry mention that there was some beer chilling in the water at the end of the run?”

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