Runner of the Month: Éveric Lauziere
When you first have the pleasure of meeting Éveric Lauziere, Team Awesome ambassador for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, Run Ottawa member, and committed Barefoot marathon runner, some key words come to mind:
Spunky. Positive. Motivated. Fun.
This father of 3 always has an efficacious outlook and buckets of enthusiasm to spare, so this man does not strike you as the face of depression. “The running community helped me rebuild my mental health,” Éveric admits.
He’s passionately convinced that the discipline, the structure and, most importantly, the sense of purpose involved in the practice of distance running has been a critical element in his rehabilitation from a years-long depressive streak.
“Most mental health issues go undetected,” he explains. “Sometimes there are no visible signs of suffering, and that contributes to the isolation and deterioration of the symptoms.”
Running had not been a lifelong priority for Éveric. A self-described inactive kid, he confesses that he hated phys-ed class so much that as a teenager he would hide in the woods to smoke during cross-country meets.
It wasn’t until his first son was born – when he realized he had gained a substantial amount of weight and was “miserably out of shape” – that exercise and clean eating took precedence. Running behind the stroller became a daily habit.
“The endorphins released when running definitely helps improve the mood of any individual,” he says, although the time bonding with his son was even more impactful. “He loved it so much. He was always asking to ‘go on a run with Daddy’, and it rapidly became a genuine passion for me. That was the kind of model I wanted to be for my kids, and the type of man I wanted to be as well.”
Éveric’s morning commute incorporates one of his favourite running routes, with his kids joining him for the first half, the second leg completed as a solo run after they are dropped off along the way at school and daycare respectively.
In his early days of running, Éveric began the way most of us do, by purchasing a pair of traditional, well-cushioned running shoes. Unfortunately, he found that he was sustaining regular injuries despite investing in the very footwear that was intended to prevent them.
Instead of succumbing to feeling discouraged or frustrated, he started doing some research. With help from The Running Clinic’s Blaise Dubois, he was introduced to new scientific research that touts a “less-is-more” approach to footwear.
He purchased his first pair of minimalist running shoes, the New Balance Minimus MR00. “My ‘running career’ took off that very moment. I was able to stay injury-free, ran my first Marathon, and progressed into my first ultra-marathon the same year,” he says.
From that point on, Éveric’s interest in “minimalist” running took on a life of its own. He became an active member of the online global sub-community of barefoot/minimalist/sandal runners who supported him in kind while he explored what running could accomplish in terms of his wellbeing.
“Before you know it, you end up giving it a shot,” he laughs. “My first kilometre running barefoot on asphalt was met with INSTANT REGRET, though. I ended up with bloody feet and saying never again… Until the next attempt!”
To Éveric, running barefoot just feels “right” compared to shod running, although he concedes it’s almost an entirely different sport in it’s own right, engaging entirely different muscles, and requiring a different kind of sight-to-movement synchronicity.
“Humans became the ultimate predator due to our capacity to outrun virtually any prey, and our endurance is largely attributed to the extreme efficiency of our feet,” he explains. “The next time you see a child playing and running barefoot, take the time to appreciate how easy, natural and instinctive it is to them. This is precisely how it feels for Barefoot runners like myself: just like the joys of childhood and the inherent freedom.”
Despite his preference for unshod running, the Canadian climate does not allow one to run barefoot all year long. When temperatures drops below 4°C, Everic transitions into shod running in his favourite XeroShoes shoes and sandals.
When he was finally back in shape after 4 years battling against depression, sharing his passion became important to Éveric, and he began looking for ways to become more involved in the local running community.
“I was looking for ways to “pay it forward” after the running community was there for me when I needed it most,” he says. When applications for the 2017 Team Awesome/Équipe Formidable ambassadors were announced, he knew it was exactly what he was looking for.
“As a Team Awesome/Équipe Formidable ambassador, I get to motivate non-runners to run a first race, help motivate runners to stay focused on training in the winter, create inspirational content, and promote bilingualism and national unity,” he explains. “The experience exceeded all of my expectations.”
Fortunately for everyone interested in participating at the upcoming 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, Éveric is back this year to help runners of all levels to get in their best shape and frame of mind. His advice on getting started?
“Make everything a game and have fun. If it doesn’t spark joy, just Marie Kondo it out of your life!”