Canadian Running - - FEATURES -

Two months.

That’s how long it takes to break old habits and form new ones, ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search. It can sound daunt­ing, smash­ing long-held poor rou­tines and forc­ing your­self to make time for new, health­ier habits that you know will ul­ti­mately help you achieve a goal (I swear that 2017 is the year I start do­ing reg­u­lar core ex­er­cises).

This “change” themed is­sue is al­ways one of my favourites to put to­gether. The en­thu­si­asm and pos­i­tiv­ity that we en­counter here at Cana­dian Run­ning is in­fec­tious, and when I reached out to a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent writ­ers and run­ners across the coun­try for in­put, we re­ceived a f lood of great ideas and pow­er­fully in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries.

Start­ing with the cover ath­lete of this is­sue, Toronto-based coach Jen­nifer McCon­nell shares her pas­sion for the ca­pac­ity for change that run­ning can bring to ev­ery­one. Last spring, McCon­nell helped form a group of 17 women who made their big sea­sonal goal the tough and re­ward­ing Cabot Trail Re­lay (p.60). This 276-kilo­me­tre tour of Cape Bre­ton Is­land hap­pens to be one of my favourite races in the world, and one that seems to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in my life each year – its daunt­ing moun­tain­ous ter­rain and my re­spect for the tra­di­tions of the event snap­ping me back into fo­cus, even more so than a spring marathon. I wasn’t sur­prised to read that McCon­nell’s group left al­tered and en­er­gized to take on new run­ning chal­lenges af­ter their Cabot ex­pe­ri­ence.

Change can not oc­cur with­out ref lec­tion on the past. Each Jan­uary, we also sur­vey the great mo­ments and achieve­ments in Cana­dian run­ning with our an­nual Golden Shoe Awards. This year, we asked you to pro­vide your sug­ges­tions for cat­e­gory win­ners, and we re­ceived hun­dreds of well-ar­gued and im­pas­sioned an­swers. In an Olympic year, you’d ex­pect a young, in­ter­na­tional star to have been the over­whelm­ing pick for Canada’s “Run­ner of the Year.” But, as you will read, one very ex­pe­ri­enced and unas­sum­ing ath­lete dom­i­nated your bal­lot and was the ob­vi­ous choice af­ter his world-record break­ing per­for­mance in Oc­to­ber (p. 48). But worry not track fans, both Canada’s out­stand­ing Rio ath­let­ics team and one sprinter in par­tic­u­lar scored Golden Shoes as well (p.54).

Fi­nally, this is­sue has an un­der­stated con­tri­bu­tion from Adam Camp­bell, one of Canada’s f in­est trail run­ners. His story on ex­plor­ing the ter­rain around Fernie, B.C. was writ­ten while he was re­cov­er­ing from a se­ri­ous fall off a moun­tain that left him se­verely in­jured, in­clud­ing a bro­ken back (Nick El­son, who was with Adam that day and helped save his life, is pro­filed on p.56). I wasn’t ex­pect­ing Adam to ac­tu­ally de­liver the Fernie story in the wake of his ac­ci­dent, but he was in­sis­tent. If you know him, it’s not at all sur­pris­ing that he delved right into it. Adam’s re­cov­ery will no doubt be the big­gest phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenge of his life, re­quir­ing him to form new habits and force him­self through many hours of re­learn­ing even the most sim­plis­tic of move­ments, and bat­tling frus­tra­tion and dis­ap­point­ment. But af­ter just a cou­ple of months, he’s al­ready out walk­ing, with a re­newed rev­er­ence for na­ture and pa­tience with him­self. I have no doubt that he’ll be out run­ning in the moun­tains again in 2017. Michael Doyle, Edi­tor-in-Chief @Cana­di­anRun­ning

ABOVE Cape Bre­ton Is­land, N.S.’s Cabot Trail Re­lay

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