People of TRL

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People of Ted’s Run – Bob Cox, runner and Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press​

Ted’s Run for LIteracy: When did you start running, and why?
Bob Cox: I started running longer distances in 1975 when I was 14. I had always run in elementary school – cross-country races, track events. But then I got into high school and stopped, for some reason I can’t remember. In the spring the school organized a 10-mile run to raise money for new gym equipment. I entered and showed up on a hot Saturday morning dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, wearing black canvas high tops. About two miles in at a water station, a teacher told me that I had better slow down because there was a long way to go. I did not heed the advice and finished second behind an 18-year-old on the track team. I started taking it seriously after that. I ran around the block every night – I lived on a farm so it was 4.5 miles. Then I doubled up and ran 9 miles a night. I ran past another farm one night and the farmer came out and offered me a job, which I held for four years. I was the best distance runner at my high school after that and often finished first or second in regional races. I ran my first marathon in Quebec City in 1982 and have been running and racing regularly for 40 years.

TRL: With your busy schedule as Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, when do you find time to run/ how do you work in training?
BC: I actually train very little in terms of pure running. I go to CrossFit classes almost every day and they include a variety of conditioning exercises that provide a strong fitness base. I fit in the CrossFit sessions mostly early in the morning – 6:30 a.m. – so they don’t interfere with work. On top of this I go for a couple of short runs during the week, about 5 km each. Then I do an ultra-long run on the weekends, usually at least 25 km. That gives me the training I need to be a competitive runner in my age group in local races at most distances.

TRL: You’ve just won a major race – what would the Free Press headline say?
BC: “Old guy beats youngsters” – I’m always happy just to win my age category (55-59), but I love being active and fit enough at my age to zip past people 25 years younger.

TRL: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
BC: Yes, I do a half-hour dynamic warmup with a lot of movements that I do regularly at CrossFit. A lot of it is yoga-inspired to loosen up the hips, stretch out the hamstrings and get you ready to run. And I always tie my shoelaces in a triple knot, a practice I started after the laces on one shoe came undone one time at the start of a race along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. I bent down to tie it up, the starter sounded and runners tried to get past me, stumbling, tripping, even falling as they began their race by running smack dab into a stationary man. I was not popular.

TRL: What does Ted’s Run for Literacy mean to you?
BC: Ted’s Run for Literacy raises money for the kind of support that is crucial for at-risk kids. I can’t think of a more important way of building a stronger society. I grew up relatively poor. My father died when I was 11, leaving behind my mother and six children. But I always had three things – enough food to eat, supportive schools and running to keep me healthy and make me feel good about myself. Every kid should have the same.

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People of TRL – Melissa Budd

Ted’s Run for Literacy: When did you start running and why?
Melissa Budd:I started running in high school – but no serious distance. I started a teaching job in Stonewall in 2007 and met David Fielder. Crazy runner guy told me I could run a marathon. I wasn’t so sure, but I thought I’d give it a try. He gave me a running plan in March 2008. I ran the Police Half in May 2008 and a few months later the Manitoba Marathon. I’ve been hooked ever since.

TRL: You’ve put hundreds, probably thousands of miles, under you feet running marathons and ultras (winning those we might add). Where does that drive come from?
MB: I don’t know that I have too much of a “drive”. I’m really not a competitive person. I do like to challenge myself though. I wanted to see if I could run (a minimum) six miles a day for a year. That was over four years ago – so I guess I could do it. Now I think I’m compulsive and can’t give it up. I like the long distances. I’m not fast, but I can go a long time. I think if I was fast, I’d run less! I guess I just really like running (especially at a comfortable pace). I’ve met so many incredible people just by running! I don’t think I’m a naturally social person, but when I’m running conversations seem to flow so easily. Running is magical in that way.

TRL: What do you think about when your clocking the kms?
MB: Thinking? Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything. I run when I’m happy; I run when I’m sad; I run when I’m angry (that’s when I’m almost fast). Every run is different. Sometimes I run with music, sometimes I spend my run wishing it was over. It’s just like life…some days good, some days suck, but even when it gets really bad – it is still good that you are alive, and still good that you can run (not everyone can).

TRL: If a movie/TV villain was chasing you who would have you running at top speed?
MB: Leather face from Texas Chainsaw Massacre – anyone who can run with a chainsaw is pretty bad ass.

TRL: What does Ted’s Run mean to you?
MB: Ted’s Run is a wonderful local run that honours a great man who loved running and learning. As a teacher this is close to my heart. Also, you couldn’t ask for more awesome people on the board of directors. It’s like the little engine that could; little race with a big heart!

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People of TRL – Darcie Wadelius, Environment/Green Expert for TRL Board, and Fabulous Minute Taker, we might add.

Ted’s Run for Literacy: When did you start running and why?

Darcie Wadelius: I started running about 10 years ago because a friend who is a runner encouraged me to try it. I did a leg of the Manitoba Marathon relay and the next year I did the half. I work as a social worker so reducing stress is key for me and I find running to be meditative.

TRL: You’ve been asking by a running gel company to develop a new flavour. What is it?

DW: Since they have come out with salted caramel flavour, I think perfection has been achieved!

TRL: Road, trail, or treadmill – where do you like to run?

DW: I started with road running but have dabbled in trail running the last couple of years. I did the Spruce Woods half marathon this year for the first time and absolutely loved it!  I can’t remember the last time I ran on a treadmill. I run outside all year and love clear, crisp days in the winter with a brilliant blue sky.

TRL: What’s the last book you read?

DW: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a true story of the author’s solo hike of over 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest trail. Her grit and determination are admirable and her honest portrayal of her flaws is courageous too.

TRL: What does Ted’s Run mean to you?

DW: To me, Ted’s Run is a community event that brings people of all abilities together. I never get tired of the enthusiasm of the running community and always enjoy seeing kids cross the finish line. It’s also important to me to give back to the community so I’m really proud of what Ted’s Run has accomplished so far.

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People of TRL – Caitlyn and Winston Yip

A family that runs together has fun together. Two members of the Yip family, Winston (dad), and Caitlyn (age 10) chat about their reasons for running, and what their running inspired TV shows would be called.

TRL thanks the Yip family for the support, and we hope to see the whole family out on the course in October.

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you both been running, and why did you start?

Caitlyn Yip – I started running two or three years ago at Whyteridge School. Run Club in the mornings and then Cross Country and Track & Field. First family run we ever did was Run at the Ridge.

Winston Yip – I used to run a lot when I was younger but then stopped in my late teens and 20s. I only started running again when I turned 30. I did the MB ½ marathon for two reasons: In tribute of my dad who passed away a year earlier and for my 30 bucket list. I have ran the half marathon every year since and one full marathon for my 40 bucket list.

TRL – What is your running relationship like? Do you have any friendly rivalries?

CY – We do not run together as a family and no one likes to run with me/dad when there is an invite.

WY – However, we have done two events in the past as a family and everyone has enjoyed these events. Run at the Ridge and Ted’s Run. We have been involved in Run at the Ridge three times and Ted’s Run twice. Caitlyn and I will run together since we are faster than mom and younger sister.

TRL – If each of you had a TV show named after your running style what would it be called? But answer for the other person.

CY – “The Butt Kick Winners”
WY – “Small Wonder”

TRL – If you needed a little boost of energy during a race, and you saw a big sign, what would it say to give you the energy you needed?

CY – “10 Free Trips to Anywhere in the World if you come 1st!
WY – COLD BEER & CRISPY BACON at the Finish Line!

TRL – What does Ted’s Run mean to you guys?

CY & WY – For our family, it gives us an opportunity to spend the morning together and run as a family. The money raised is also for a good cause. And it also recognizes Ted’s passion for running, reading and physical activity.

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People of TRL – Lorraine Walton
Along with being one of the founding members of TRL, Lorraine Walton has been a great mentor and inspiration to many runners at the Grant Running Room. And, how cool is this photo of her crossing the finish line during the Boston Marathon 2014? Thank-you Lorraine for all you do!

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running, and how did you start?
Lorraine Walton – In 1999 – I was the only one in our family who was not running. I was in a very stressful job at the time when my son, Michael, suggested I start walking. I did that and then added in a little hydrant to hydrant running. The following spring I registered for the Learn To Run clinic at the Pembina Running Room. I had found my passion and with that many new friends along the way. Together we experienced all of the clinics and goal races culminating in the Manitoba Marathon in 2002. Running has changed my life. Through the sport I have found a second career as manager of the Running Room on Grant. I am a blessed and happy woman. Everyday I find inspiration in the very positive people who I meet in the sport.

TRL – How did you know Ted, and what are some of your favourite memories of him?
LW – I met Ted Swain when I first started as manager at the store. At that time he had already been a longtime coach and mentor to many runners. At the time of his death, he was coaching a half marathon clinic.

I immediately saw how participants loved and respected this man. He submerged himself in everything he did and he did it well. We always knew when it was Ted’s clinic night when the little skooter pulled up at the door and in walked this big guy in leathers.

TRL – Do you have any pre-race rituals?
LW – My pre-race rituals may seem boring and mundane to many but I don’t dare change a thing. Clothes, shoes, fuel belt, bib, nutrition are all lined up neatly beside my bed. I always get up at least two hours before race time in order to eat my bagel with peanut butter and banana and then use the bathroom at least eighteen times. I am a nervous racer but usually get that under control once the show begins.

TRL – What’s your best advice for new runners?
LW – When I am talking to new runners I often tell them about my dear Aunt Hortense, who runs 20 miles per week at 90 years. I totally want to be her. If you are in for the rest of your life then treat your body well. Take rest days, eat well, laugh a lot, and run.

TRL – What does Ted’s Run for Literacy mean to you?
LW – It is so fitting that the Ted Swain event is for literacy. As he was a long time educator, we know that he would be proud and honoured to have such a legacy. I was so pleased to work with Joan Swain in the early stages of this project. She wanted to create something lasting in his name and it happened. The TRL committee is a wonderful cross section of the best of humanity. Please join me in supporting Ted’s Run For Literacy.

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The People of TRL – Bob Nicol
You may know him as “Barefoot Bob,” but we know him as one of the greatest champions of Ted’s Run for Literacy. From helping raise awareness, to raising funds, to of course running TRL wouldn’t be the same without him.

Ted’s Run for Literacy: How long have you been running?
Bob Nicol: I have been running for about 5 years.

TRL: What’s your favourite post-run snack?
BN: My favorite post run food depends on the length. Shorter runs consist mainly of bananas and oranges – usually what ever is handy and quick. Long runs usually consist of pizza, hamburgers, something to get some of the calories back that I had used up. Also like burritos.

TRL: What’s the perfect song to run to?
BN: I really like “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC – love the bagpipes. But usually any high tempo music will do, usually on the heavier side though. Gets my feet going.

TRL: Favourite race and why.
BN: Favourite race is most definitely The Canadian Death Race. I really love the mountains and the atmosphere and serenity of the trail is just amazing. I have ran it the last three years and would love to run it every year.

Although Ted’s Run is also very near and dear to my heart. I was lucky enough to have Ted as my running instructor at the Running Room prior to him passing away. One thing he instilled in me was the need to have fun on the run and that is something that I try to do with every run. Start and finish with the same smile on my face and encourage and help along the way.

TRL: Why is Ted’s Run important to you?
BN: Ted’s Run is important to me for a few reasons: It is such an amazing cause. That would be the most important – to give the kids that need it that extra bit of fun, support, encouragement and help in their lives. It is important to give them that confidence and knowledge that, yes, they can succeed. Very inspiring. Secondly, to see the passion and fire in the eyes of the organizers and the teachers involved including Mike Bennett, Aldo Furlan, Connie Joy, and everybody else involved is amazing. It is my honour and privilege to help in anyway I can.

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The People of TRL – Christy Zamzow
If you’ve had the pleasure of being in one of Christy’s running clinics at the Running Room on Kenaston, you know she for sure rhymes run with fun (I mean check out her photos). The TRL Board is lucky to have her as a web-design-type-person, registration-organizer-lady, utlitmate-brochure-creator, and just all-around-super-supporter.

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running?
Christy Zamzow – I started running for fitness when I was 18 and despised every minute of it. It was hard! I ran off and on until 2005 when a “frenemy” challenged me to a half marathon. I still remember the first 10 mile training run and thinking, “I just ran 10 miles! All at once!” I think that was when I realized I actually liked running and thinking I could do anything. Even now though, every race I get nervous and think “I can’t do this.” That is when you just have to trust your training and realize that no matter what, you have just passed everyone on the couch.

TRL – You’re known for having a little fun with your race attire – what’s been your best costume?
CZ – Ha! Who have you been talking to? I am boring! Lies! All Lies! Doesn’t everyone run in a “I Dream of Genie” costume for the Hypothermic Half? Probably my favourite would be the miniature Elvis costume because I could make him dance while I run!

TRL – Do you have a running mantra?
CZ – I do! Have you ever run with Edwina Keats? She is a machine! She just doesn’t quit. I did one training run with her and it was a pretty windy day. Every time we had to run into the wind, Edwina sped up. We were on a trail by the river and there were a few hills. Every hill, Edwina sped up. The amazing thing is, the harder the challenge, the faster she goes. Ever since then my mantra has been “Be Edwina. Be Edwina, Be Edwina.”

TRL – If you had one item of food waiting for you at the finish line what would it be?
CZ – A cold cold beer.

TRL – What does Ted’s Run mean to you?
CZ – Ted was one of the best clinic instructors out there. He always, and I mean always, made sure that everyone got across the finish line. He knew his stuff and he was always available if you had questions. He never made you feel bad for asking. The fact that we can support a charity in his honour that teachers running and literacy to children is just fantastic. Sport is so important for kids and their developing minds.It’s absolutely great that we can teach them how to set a long term goal and attain it without a T.V. screen! I will always support this run.

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The People of TRL – Wayne Sage
Wayne is a TRL double threat – his company, Harwood Design Builders is a premier sponsor, and Wayne is also a TRL racer. We’re proud to have been his first race, and happy that he’ll be back on the pavement in 2014!

Ted’s Run for Literacy: How long have you been running, and why did you start?
Wayne Sage: I’ve been running two years. I started on a dare/bet with good friends Eric and Sandra Danberg who challenged me to get into running. I was 272 pounds and had every syndrome that could be associated with that so I thought running would be part of my weight loss. I lost almost 50 pounds over the next year and Ted’s Run 5k was my first run. I have now done Fargo 10k, and also went to Big Sur, California to run the Big Sur Trail Half Marathon with 3,000 feet of elevation change

TRL: What motivates you to go for a run even when you might not really want to?
WS: Staying in shape and escaping things for a while, running and pushing to see how far I can go and accomplish, and looking at duathalon and maybe triathalon as well

TRL:If your iPod got stuck on repeat while running what song would you want to listen to over and over and over?
WS: Jimmy Buffet’s “Boat Drinks”

TRL: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
WS: Scrambling at the last minute to find where my dogs have hidden my running gear……followed by a regimen of Advil.

TRL: Why did you choose to run in TRL?
WS: My good friend Sandra Danberg is on the organizing committee and asked me to be a sponsor and also thought it would be a good first run for me. After getting involved and learning Ted’s story and the great work that was being done I was so impressed that I became a premier sponsor and will continue to return.

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The People of TRL – Jonathan Torchia
You probably know Jonathan Torchia as the founder and race director for the wildly popular Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Half Marathon, but what you might not know is he’s only been running for four years, and apparently has a plan if a rabid dog (or bear) starts nipping at his heels.

We’ve been happy to have Jonathan support Ted’s Run by spreading being a fan of TRL and helping to spread the word. This year he won’t be joining us – he’ll be running the Chicago Marathon chasing a “BQ.” We wish him nothing but luck.

Ted’s Run Literacy – How long have you been running, and what got you started?

Jonathan Torchia – Believe it or not I have only been running since 2010! Prior to 2010 I couldn’t run a mile to save my life, literally. I was a big boy ( 225lbs ) and played football my whole life and never ever ran. I knew some lifestyle changes had to be made after my amateur football career was over. So I took up running and changed my diet in 2009 making some big changes for the future, and have not looked back since.

In 2010 I signed for my first race ever – The Manitoba Half Marathon. I figured I would set the bar high and go for it, and go for it I did. My first half marathon ever was a 1:39:11 I will never forget that time, ha ha ). I knew I was HOOKED! Post running The Manitoba Half Marathon I got that great feeling that every runner gets of, “When is the next event I can do?” At this early time in my running career I didn’t know much about local events, and can recall I was flipping through my Runners World magazine at work and saw an advertisement for the Toronto Waterfront event in October and immediately thought to my self, “Yes, that’s the one!” So as soon as I could after returning home from work I registered for the event, booked my flight, and arranged to stay with my family. It has been full throttle since 2010 for me, now with running 27 half marathons, multiple 10 mile, 10k, 5k races, and getting the full marathon itch going after doing Twin Cities Marathon ( fantastic event ) in 2013.

I am currently training my guts out for the Chicago Marathon come this fall in October, and hoping for a BQ. One can dream and set the bar really high. A 3:05 Full Marathon time is a huge lofty goal, but like one of my favourite sayings go “a dream without a plan is only a wish”

TRL – While out running you find yourself suddenly being chased by a bear/cougar/scary animal of your choice. How do you get away?

JT – Ha ha, this is a tough one….I have imagined in the past being chased by a really aggressive dog while out for a run, and always think to myself “what would you do?” I have concluded that I would just give her like hell and hope to out run the dog which likely wouldn’t happen, or find a wall or fence that it can’t chase you up on. Thank god, we don’t have bears roaming around though, I would turtle and throw my bright coloured Asics at it.

TRL – You’re back from defeating said animal and come home to find your fridge is only stocked with….?

JT – Hmmm, I have a pretty boring diet that consist of eggs, chicken breast, avocados, bananas, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, fish, quinoa and lots of fruits and vegetables. Now secretly what would I actually want to devour after that…..pizza, burgers, chips oh and a DQ Blizzard.

TRL – When you’re on a tough run what’s your go to mantra to pull through?
JT – My go to one would have to be “never give up, keep grinding.” While out on my runs as of late I keep muttering under my breath about my goals I have set out for the Chicago Marathon and if I cut my work out short, or didn’t finish the training session to its completion that I will be the only one to blame. And also saying these two letters a few times “BQ” “BQ” always seems to give me that extra little push, that extra little motivation.

TRL – As a race director yourself, what does it mean to you when someone decides to sign up for your race?

JT – I genuinely from the bottom of my heart cannot describe in words how thankful, how appreciative, how much it means to me when this happens. There are so many great running events out there to choose from, and for someone to cognitively say to them selves “Yes, I want to run this event “ is an amazing thing! I am unbelievably humbled and thankful to each and every single participant and volunteer of the WFPS Half Marathon. When I see people out in public wearing one of our event shirts, race hats, or any apparel for that matter, it gives me chills and the biggest smile ever. I could never have dreamt in my wildest dreams when we started out a few years back the event would be the size it is today!

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The People of TRL – Glenn Schultz
Glenn Schultz is the picture of determination – as you can see. After getting some not so good medical news he decided to take back his health and his life, and running has played a big part in doing that.

Ted’s Run is proud to have been his first race (in both the 4 and 10km distance), and we applaud his efforts to continue his health and fitness goals while supporting others to do the same!

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running? Why did you start?
Glenn Schultz – I started running June 2012. In February 2012, my doctor said I was pre-diabetic. I was 290 pounds. He said needed to change my lifestyle around. I started slowly to make changes with food and walking. Within 3 months I dropped 50 pounds and was no longer a diabetic. By October had lost 100 pounds! I then decided to do the 4 km run at Ted’s Run for Literacy as a challenge and to help others.

In 2013, I did a 20 km walk for Cancer Care Manitoba in June. I ran on a relay team in the Manitoba Marathon. I pedaled my bike 760 kms in 6 days across Iowa in Ragbrai, the world’s biggest bike ride in July. I ran the 10 kms at Teds Run for Literacy in October.

In 2014, I ran my first Half Marathon at the Manitoba Marathon. I plan to do a triathlon in Pinawa in August and of course Ted’s in October. I also quit smoking now for over a year.

Where it all started for me? It’s all about challenges. I helped my self to better life now I want to help others who want a better life. Seventeen years ago I could barely walk with Psoriatic Arthritis. “Anything is possible” is my motto.

TRL – What’s your “go to” post run snack/meal?
GS – My post race snack is bananas and chocolate milk.

TRL – When you are having a tough run what’s the one thought, or piece of motivation that keeps you going?
GS – When I’m having a tough run I keep telling myself 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes. And that quitting is not a option.

TRL – What’s the best sign you’ve ever seen on a race course, and how it make you feel?
GS – One of the signs I saw was in the Manitoba Marathon. It said Go Strangers Go. That got me laughing.

TRL – What does Ted’s Run mean to you?
GS – Ted’s Run is 2 things: Its helping others and its helping me for a better life and longer life.

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People of TRL – Steve Wetton
We are very happy to have Steve Wetton as the newest member of the Ted’s Run for Literacy committee. His knowledge, and fresh perspective brings great value to the team – we just won’t let him name any of our future races (see question #4’s answer).

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running, and why did you start?
Steve Wetton – It’s hard to remember exactly when I started calling myself a runner, but
I did technically join the cross country team in Grade 12. I think it wasn’t until around 2005 when I did my first half marathon that I allowed myself the title of “runner” – until then I just considered it a hobby! There’s a variety of reasons I started running, but mostly just because it felt good! Soon I found myself racking up the distances and getting such a sense of
euphoria and accomplishment that I was hooked!

TRL – Did Michael Bennett chase you down during a grueling Sunday long run to convince you to join the TRL committee? (Editor’s note: he does this to most unsuspecting TRL board members).
SW – I remember it being a blustery Sunday morning with a windchill of -40°C, or something just as bad. We were out for a trial run of the Hypothermic Half route and Michael came up alongside me. Maybe he just needed to thaw his face by moving his mouth, but we ended up having a chat about TRL and how there was a space on the committee that he thought I would be interested in. Between gusts of wind across the bare Fort Whyte Alive fields, I told him that I’d love to help out. Here I am today!

TRL – Road, trail, or treadmill – where do you like to run?
SW – Depends on the weather! I can be quite content anywhere if the conditions are right, but you’ll most commonly find me pounding pavement somewhere between River Heights and Roblin.

TRL – If you could create your own race what would it be (creative name required).
SW – I already have one! It involves lots of biking, running, and perhaps some dehydrators in the final mile! For alliteration’s sake, perhaps I’ll rename it to…. Steve’s Super Series Soirée…. Probably won’t be calling it that…

TRL – What does TRL mean to you?
SW – Growing up as a child, I definitely loved to read. My parents and school strongly encouraged it, and over the years I blasted through everything I could get my hands on. I know for a fact that my education has benefited greatly from this positive reinforcement! An area where I wasn’t quite as strong with was physical activity. To see a program that pushes both items in tandem is so amazing to see and a great cause to support.

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People of TRL – Aldo Furlan
Aldo Furlan’s dedication to Ted’s Run for Literacy and Start2Finish is matched only by his iPod’s playlist (see how he groans below when we ask him to pick ONLY five songs) . The TRL Board is very lucky to have Aldo as a volunteer coordinator, course coordinator, and site coordinator, but also as one of the run’s greatest promoters.

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running, and why did you start?
Adlo Furlan – I originally started my interest in running when I was 12 (1976…yikes!). I ran a fun run at school and finished 11th out of 85 so that I guess is where the “spark” began. I ran all through Jr/Sr high school and recreationally in university. I never even dreamed of running for a club at that time as I never thought I was “good enough.” I started doing longer runs in the late 1980s and I never really stopped.

TRL – You’ve been asking by a running gel company to develop a new flavour. What is it?
AF – A favourite flavour for a gel? Maple bacon….like the wings I had in St. Adolphe once..mmmm

TRL – If you only had room for five songs on your running playlist what would they be?AF – Playlist…tough one….
“Frankenstien” by the Edgar Winter Group
“If I Should Fall From Grace with God” by the Pogues(or any other song)
“You Wreck Me” by Tom Petty(or any other song)
“The Pretender” by Foo Fighters(or any other song)
“Edicott” by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
That was a tough one. I could have put sooo much more.

TRl – Do you have a moment or an experience that stands out for you during your work with Strart2Finish?
AF – A moment that stands out for me working for Start2Finish was when one of the kids at my school mentioned that he ran all through recess to “get ready” for Running and Reading club after school. He was so dedicated to running that he wanted to put extra time to be sure he was ready for the run at the end of the year. ( He’s a great kid by the way, well liked by everyone).

TRL – What does Ted’s Run for Literacy mean to you?
AF – Ted’s Run for Literacy means to me….it’s a really personal thing for me as I see the result of its efforts first hand. When the kids in my school, some who I have taught years before, put on their brand new shoes we provide to them through Start2Finish, it’s a pretty cool thing to see. I also see it when those same kids sit down to read with me in the gym during Run and Read Club. I sum it up when I describe the race to people and tell them what it’s all about. “It’s a race that supports Running and Reading programs across Canada, three in Manitoba, two in Winnipeg one of which is at my school”. This statement helps to engage people and draw more interest and support.

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People of TRL – Tim McKay
It appears Tim McKay, TRL board member, is taking this opportunity to call out Race Director, Michael Bennett, for an epic race. Date, time, distance – TBD. Tim not only brings humour to the board, but also his passion for being an educator and runner (seems like a good fit for us).

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running, and how did you start?
Tim McKay – I’ve been running on and off for several years but found my way back to regular running about four years ago. I now participate in maybe a dozen different races a year.

TRL – You’re in a race with only one other person. Who is it, and do you beat them?
TM – It’d probably be with one of my siblings. I’ve coached and paced a few of them to PBs. Trying to beat each other has never been much fun so it would probably be a bad idea to start trying to do that now.
If I had to race, I mean really race, I’d run against that pesky Mike Bennett. We’d be joking and laughing and pestering each other for miles. It’d take a long race to find a winner.

TRL – Create your perfect post-race beverage; give it a name.
TM – Well, it sounds a bit boring, but I love water. Then a berry juice – any berry. Then a coffee. The triple finish – water, juice, coffee.

TRL – What’s your best piece of advice for new runners?
TM – It’s a simple truth that gives any runner a mental boost – “Any runner at any level is already far above average just for having shown up!”

TRL – What does Ted’s Run for Literacy mean to you?
TM – I’m lucky, privileged in fact, to be able to enjoy the benefits of both a good education and good health. My education has benefitted me in developing a successful career in schools. My health supports me as a committed runner.
Ted’s Run for Literacy brings both these worlds together, supporting the development of both literacy and fitness for youth who don’t necessarily live with the privilege that I do. So I get to give back in a way, and contribute to extending the positive benefits of education and health where it really matters and is likely to make a real difference for youth. The TRL organizers are an amazing group of folks. It’s not only rewarding to volunteer with this group, it’s also a pile of fun. There it is – fun, rewarding, doing good work, and connected to literacy, learning, and fitness. What could be better? I mean, besides beating that pesky Mike Bennett in a race?

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People of TRL – Michael Bennett

TRL asked board member and fellow, friendly rival Tim McKay to write a few words about TRL’s fearless leader:

“Race Director and one of the founding board members of TRL, Michael Bennet remains a driving force behind the run. As a career educator with a commitment to inclusion and social justice, he brings passion and dedication to his role on the TRL board. His never-ending enthusiasm and gentle spirit are infectious among all who get involved. Also known for being tenacious, Michael has been rumoured to have worked on recruiting committee volunteers during the entire course of a half-marathon. Michael is a committed runner with serious accomplishments, and he continues to pursue race goals both near and far. He’s a “never sit still” sort of guy, writing the See Mike Run blog, giving his time to a number of organizations, and supporting runners and races whenever he can. A true friend to all who know him, Michael’s humour, energy, and commitment are the glue of the TRL crew!”

Hopefully we tell you enough Mike just what you mean to us at TRL. You’re right; “It’s a good day to be alive!”

Ted’s Run for Literacy – How long have you been running and why/how did you start?
Mike Bennett – I started running competitively while attending middle school. I remember bombing badly at a divisional meet; my running spirit dying on the track in a puddle of tears and dry heaves. I discovered recreational running in university. I ran in the Gritty Grotto in cold weather and laps around the Legislative Building in the warmer months. I stopped running when I graduated from university and immersed myself in work, devoting every moment of the day and evening to teaching. I loved my job but it seriously lacked balance.

I was 45 when I realized I was 20 pounds over weight and in the habit of a scotch or two in the evening. I didn’t like the visual so I joined the Y and ran some laps for a couple of years. In doing so I dropped 20 pounds and ditched the scotch. It’s such a cliché, but I set a goal of running a marathon during my 50th year. I became a runner somewhere on a trail along the Assiniboine River on my 50th birthday and haven’t looked back. I can’t say running saved my life, but I shudder to think where I would be had I not taken that first terrifying step.

TRL – You always sign off with “It’s a good day to be alive” – tell us about that quote (where it came from, why it sticks with you, etc…).
MB – I was a course marshal for a race about 10 years ago. I yelled “It’s a good day for a run” to a couple of elderly runners. One replied “Yes, and it’s a good day to be alive” and kept running. His buddy stopped and told me his friend had recently had heart surgery and he now considers every day a gift. The phrase “It’s a good day to be alive” resonated and has stuck. It has become my signature line on See Mike Run because I know many people run through depression and anxiety. I repeat it at every opportunity for them, hoping that if they hear it and say it often enough it becomes truth. So yes, friends, it is a good day to be alive even when all about walls are tumbling down.

Young Noah and Jack are bang on; running fast is fun and running is good for your muscles.
Fun + Muscles = A Good Day to be Alive.

TRL – We’re not just about running at Ted’s Run; the other half is reading. If you were to write a memoir what would the title be?
MB – See Mike Beat Tim McKay in a Road Race has a nice ring to it, but it would have to be a fictional piece because that guy is seriously fast. He plays a mean banjo too!

People like Glen Shultz, Melissa Budd, Bob Nicol, and David Ranta inspire me. They work harder than anyone I know to earn the privilege of the start line. Their resilience and their strength in overcoming incredible obstacles to achieve their goals is breathtaking. They are passionate about life and live their dreams through the act of running. I suppose if I were to write a memoir it would be entitled The Inspiration Behind See Mike Run, and devote a chapter to each of those that inspire and bring me joy.

TRL – Has there been a moment during your time with Ted’s Run that has really stuck out for you? What is that moment and why?
MB – In my professional life I sit on many committees and boards. We accomplish good things and we enjoy our company, but rarely do we have laughter. Ted’s Run For Literacy meeting are also serious business, but we have serious fun. The laughter and the gentle teasing is life affirming and just plain fun. We’re a diverse group but we are all devoted to making TRL the finest race possible. Sometime ago we coined the phrase Ted’s Run for Literacy, the little race that could. We are a small race existing in the shadows of some large corporate events so we have our challenges, but we are proud of our steadfastness.

Always, the moment that stands out for me is watching the young runners cross the finish line with big toothy smiles that light the chute. It’s kinda makes me tear up, just saying.

TRL – What does Ted’s Run mean to you?
MB – Sylvia Rugger speaks of the ‘audacity of hope’ and encourages us to be bold and courageous in our hopes and dreams. We run marathons because they are hard and audacious, and just plain wacky. If it were easy everyone would do it, right? TRL Board members believe in the audacity of hope. We believe that we can eradicate childhood poverty through literacy programming in neighbourhoods in transition. It’s not easy and we may never get there, but that’s not important. Like running, the destination is secondary to the journey. It’s about perpetual forward motion, never giving up, dreaming audaciously, and it’s about building community. To quote Sylvia once again…we are strong, we are champions, we are never-giver-uppers.

That’s what Ted’s Run for Literacy means to me.

It’s a good day to be alive.

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The little race that could.

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