What the Run Ottawa community learned from running in 2017

As we say goodbye to 2017, we asked Run Ottawa members to share what they learned from running this year. Here’s what running taught us in 2017:

We <heart> our running buddies…

Running in 2017 taught me that it is not about how fast or far you run. It is about the people around you with whom you run with and all the fun you have with them.

Jenn Earl


OMG…I think this was probably the most races I’ve done in one year. BUT the best lesson I learned is that running is best when running with friends. I’ve joined a great group of people this past year and we’ve stuck together through thick and thin. The best phrase that sums it up for us is ‘Freestylin’…we’re on an adventure!

Dan Pak


Running has taught me many different things this year. I’ve been a runner for 2 years with a loving, supportive group of friends who’ve taught me many things through every run. Nothing is impossible if you’re willing to work for it. That being said, I’ve completed my second Army Run commanders challenge this year and I never thought I would be able to run 26.1km. When times are tough you just have to keep pushing on and tell yourself any distance is doable if you have the right mindset. I will never give up running until I can no longer run anymore. I have an awesome running group that pushes me, keeps me accountable and I’m very grateful for that. Running has taught me that I’m much happier working towards a goal distance in lieu of a goal weight. When I’m training for and running a half marathon, I feel empowered, strong and unstoppable! Becoming a runner helped me realize that I should be proud of how strong I am. Strong beats skinny every single time. Never give up!

Sarina D’Angelo


Running taught me in 2017 that we are a vibrant community of awesome people … and that we are lucky to be runners in Ottawa!

Tracy Shouldice


2017 was the year I started running. My DH and I ran/walked 5km at the Resolution Run. We had such a good time we looked up other events and along with my SIL decided to try and do one event a month. We marvelled at the seasoned veterans and their speedy times wondering if I would ever break the 8:30 per kilometre mark.  Then at one event, after the finish, I stood on the side of the start/finish line waiting for others to cross the line. There was a small group gentlemen there talking amongst themselves when the last finisher walked across the line. One of them said ‘that is who should be receiving the medals. I certainly don’t have the dedication to work that hard for that long’.

He has no idea how happy he made me feel that day. I only wish that last runner had heard him and the supporting conversation that followed.

The biggest thing that I learned from running in 2017 was how supportive the community is. Now as we head into 2018, although I am still slow, I am very proud to say that I am a part of it.

Wendy Fraser


A great deal about ourselves…

To believe in yourself, be patient and challenge yourself, turning your doubts to a dream come true!

Edwin Chee


It taught me a great way to stay motivated.

Tim Dunn


To forgive myself. This is the first year that I am actually enjoying running. Up to this time, I’ve always expected more from myself—no matter how much I did. This year I have forgiven myself and with this, I have allowed myself to do more.

Jennifer Carnes


To persevere.

Ben-Zion Caspi


I think running in 2017 taught me a lot about perseverance and how to be more gentle with myself. Every day is different and a run is a run whether I meet my pace/distance goals or not. As a perfectionist who wants everything to be perfect and easy right off the bat, running has taught me to stick in there and appreciate the small victories. Even if it’s just getting myself out the door on a lazy day.

Eliza Jane Phillis


To break down barriers…

 Running in 2017 taught me that completing Strava challenges can be very rewarding!

Jenn Bon


Running in 2017 taught me the power and rewards inherent in taking on new challenges—such as The Voyageur and The Vimy Challenges—and revisiting old challenges, such as Around the Bay.

Terri Bolster


2017 taught me that I shouldn’t race a 2k, 5k and 10k the day before a marathon and expect to run well.

Blair Salter


Running has taught me I’m stronger than I think! It taught me that I can set goals and accomplish them. Most of all, I learned how many different emotions you can feel while running 5, 10 or even 15K!  Through all the pain one thing is consistent, the amazing feeling when crossing the finish line.

This post sums it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQEne-KIpKk

Erin Graham


Running in 2017 has taught me that no matter how many times I start and stop, I can always start again. However, sometimes the hardest part is restarting, so just keep running. Planning to run more and stay committed in 2018!

Christy Goodwin


…to look forward to the last third of a long distance triathlon.

Sally Hughson


Running in 2017 has taught me that if I really want something it’s achievable. I was never a good runner growing up. Always thought it was so difficult and painful to do. I would do it once or twice a week then a month or so later would give up. I have been running 4-5 times a week since spring 2017 (9+ months) and can now complete a 5k in 27 minutes, 10k in 57 minutes and am registered for 4 half marathons starting in February 2018. It still feels like a dream to me. I can’t believe I can actually consider myself a runner now and actually enjoy it as well. These 5k and 10k times may not be competitive times but to me it’s a huge accomplishment. Now running makes me feel free, somehow completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing feeling in the world. I hope to continue this running journey even through another pregnancy in the hopes to complete my first marathon in the near future. The possibilities are endless 🙂

Karyne Ibrahim


Someone who is busier than you is running right now.” No excuses.

Janet White


That running is ageless…

Running 2017 has helped me understand completely that age is a mindset. Surgery on my hand in March did not prevent me from doing what I love even doing including a 1/2 Ironman in Niagara Falls. You live as well as you can by being active…62 this year!

Anne-Marie Carter-McAuslan


When I was 19 or 20, I tried to run a half marathon without training. It just about killed me. My lungs, my ankles, my knees, and my hips were on all kinds of fire, and I could barely walk for the next week or so. I wrongly concluded that I was simply not cut out to be a runner. Fast forward to the summer of 2017, when I started incorporating some jogging into my nightly walks with the family dog. The jogs became longer and longer, and I gradually worked myself up to running 40–60km a week, with a handful of 21+ km runs now under my belt. Running taught me in 2017 that my body was indeed cut out for running, that my knees and ankles and IT bands could in fact toughen up, and that all I needed was patience and time to build up a base. This week I signed up to run my first marathon on May 27 (my 33rd birthday!) at the 2018 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Tyler Smith


As I reflect upon turning 65 – how lucky I am to have a life sport – that has contributed so much to my health, fitness and happiness.

Stuart Swanson


To be positive…

 Acceptance! My goal for 2017 was to beat that sub 1hr 10k. I missed it by 22 seconds :/ It took me a while but I realized that it was still a 4 minutes PB and that I still had many more chances to get that sub 1hr time. It’s now just a goal for 2018.

Celia Bond


Smart training, eat healthy and recovery time…positive thinking! Works for me!

Pierre Deschambault


Running in 2017 has taught me that:

patience pays…

form is king…

pace is not a constant…

distance is within reach…

speed is optional…

missing a training run or two is not critical…

rest and recovery is essential…

a good race confirms that you at your current best…

there is no such a thing as a bad race…

most importantly, every run is fun…

Hamid Behnia


In 2017 I discovered that running is a great way to escape all the stress of life, just the simple serene clarity that takes over the mind as nothing but the surrounding view is focused upon. It has helped me manage personal and family health issues, as well as think about where I want to go in the next stage of life—returning to work soon after a three year hiatus. I think the past year would have been much more difficult without my regular ‘escapes’ to the outdoors.

Sylvia Doran


La liberté d’être libre ! La vie est belle 🙂

Nancy Beauchemin


Running taught me many things but the two most important are:

  1. I can do hard things. The mind may say you can’t do something, but if you want it bad enough and work at it, you have no limits


  1. Patience! We may not see results as quickly as we want but consistency is key!

Amanda Belliveau


Cette année, je me suis mise à m’entrainer avec mon amie Nancy qui court beaucoup plus vite que moi. Je suis orgueilleuse et j’essaie de la suivre.

What running taught me in 2017… c’est qu’il faut que je trouve mon « pace du bonheur » pour courir dans le PLAISIR. Que je me souvienne que ma compétition ultime, c’est moi-même.

Il faut que j’arrête de courir juste pour la performance, sinon l’entrainement devient une source de stress constant. Bref, je cours pour me déstresser… pas pour ajouter du stress à ma vie.

Julie Cousineau


In 2017, Running taught me “If I can dream it, I can do it!”. I had moments where I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew with the Great Wall Marathon, and the fundraising for Team Diabetes that went with it, but I worked really hard at training and fundraising, and had the most amazing time. After that, I really feel like the sky’s the limit, and that so many times it’s just ourselves holding us back.

Rebecca Skinner


To listen to our bodies…

A 50 year old body does not recover as quickly as a 20, 30 or 40 year model. Resting is a must.

Richard Bellefeuille


Running has taught me to be humble and realize that you are truly only competing against yourself. If you put the training in and are smart about it, you will reap the rewards. If you don’t put in the training or don’t listen to the cues from your body, you will find yourself out of the game, at least for a while. #Runforlife

Vicki Bencze


In 2017, running taught me to be thankful for an uninjured (knock on wood) body that is able to run.

Katrina Byrd


That running is a privilege and not necessarily a right…

After 15+ years of marathon training and running up to 100+km a week, being injured towards the end of last year and into the first few months of 2017, I started back running again in March, and back up to 5-10K regularly, pain free. What I have (re)learned this year in my voyage back to running again, is finding back the fun and enjoyment in running, as racing and time goals and volume has been shelved for at least another year.

Vincent Andy Fong


Running taught me to be patient with injuries, learn more about the anatomy of the injury and of course what to do about it.

Yves Prévost


In 2017, running taught me to bounce back and trust that I’m stronger than I think. My year got started on a pretty rough note, with my first ever DNF at the Ottawa marathon, but (with help from my coach and my physio) I’ve bounced back and set PBs at every distance I’ve run since then (11k, although it was my first 11k race so that’s sort of a freebie, plus 5k and 10k). PLUS I ran my first ever run challenge a week after my wedding (Vimy Challenge at Army Run), pulling off a surprise 10k PB despite the heat, then a month later I took almost 3 minutes off that PB at 9 Run Run to break 50 min in the 10K. All in all, the year taught me that I’m stronger and more determined than I knew, and that sometimes you need setbacks to help push you to come back even stronger. Bring on 2018!

Erin Collins


I think the most important thing that running taught me in 2017 was there are no injuries that can stop me. 2018 will be about learning to run in all seasons. First up, winter running!!!

Christine Robillard


To reflect on goals…

In 2016 I was lucky enough to run my first marathon with my mother at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. We trained hard and crossing that finish line with her was a moment I will never forget. 2016 was a banner running year for me.

In 2017 my goal was to run a second marathon, to set a goal time and, hopefully, achieve it. But I did not run a marathon in 2017. Life kind of got in the way. I was sporadic and inconsistent with my training and I just wasn’t able to make it happen.

But now I’m taking an opportunity to reflect on 2017, I realize that, even though I didn’t run a marathon, I still completed an extremely fun half-marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, a challenging 10k at the Canada Day Road Race, and an inspiring 10k at Army Run where I got to watch a friend and colleague complete her first 10k ever. I may not have accomplished a single PB this year, but I had some great runs.

Sometimes, it seems like life gets in the way when you set a goal and don’t achieve it, but what running taught me in 2017 is this: life didn’t “get in the way” this year. Life happened. And it was great. And running was a part of it. I plan for running to be a part of my life in 2018 too and I can’t wait.

Here’s to 2018!

Falon Milligan


What did running teach me in 2017? It taught me perseverance, it taught me patience, it taught me joy and happiness, it taught me that even in times of hardship and uncertainty there is calmness and clarity in running. And through all the ups and downs of 2017, it taught me that I am capable of way more than I thought possible and that I just need to go for it.

Sara Howse