Lean On Me: Motivating a Friend to Run

TORONTO September 17th. Digital Champion Mike Shanks is quite proud of his accomplishments in running but has yet to tame the elusive beast known as the marathon. In his two attempts at STWM he has not met his goal, but this year he plans to change that. This year will be Mike’s “Marathon Year” with a goal to run 3:45 and finish with a smile on his face. Connect with Mike on Twitter @mikepgww and on his blog.

Lean On Me: Motivating a Friend to Run. By Mike Shanks.

When I ran my first marathon at STWM in 2009, I had all kinds of friends supporting me throughout my training. Running groups are an awesome way, and sometimes the only way, to get through tough training runs. In contrast to the group effort of training, the race was a solo effort. During the marathon, I get into “the zone” and become very focused on what I have to do.

This year I offered to coach a friend whose new found love of health and fitness had her thinking about pushing her limits.  Elaine’s first introduction to running happened at this year’s Run for Life spring celebration when she motivated her son to finish a mile run by running the last lap with him. I saw an opportunity to take her sense of accomplishment in what she had just done and make it grow! I challenged her to run her first race at the Cambridge Classic Mile and we greeted each other at her finish with a huge hug. I asked her a few days later what was next in her running plans and she said she wasn’t sure. Eventually Elaine decided on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half- marathon for her next big challenge. She has had an amazing journey so far in her quest for a better, healthier life. Recently, Canada Running Series produced a video on Elaine and her journey to STWM. Here it is:

From the start of her journey running a lap with her son, to her first race at the Cambridge Classic Mile, I am so impressed with Elaine’s determination and dedication to a healthier life and becoming an active role model for her kids. I know from my time running with her that she is on a life changing journey. Although I’ll be running the marathon at STWM and won’t be standing at the finish line when Elaine comes in, I hope that she sticks around for a hug after I finish!

elaine finish line

To all the experienced, veteran runners out there, I want YOU to hear this message. You have the chance to give something to another runner that will change their lives. Whether it’s introducing them to your running group, being their own personal pace bunny, or coaching them through their training, it’s a wonderful feeling to give back to running what you have gotten out of it.

I am wishing all first-time racers like Elaine the best of luck at STWM! I’ll see you at the finish line.

Has someone special helped you through your training for STWM? Let us know in the comments below!

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