Canadian Running

Push­ing Through: Kim Smith

Af­ter rais­ing a fam­ily and build­ing a ca­reer and de­spite health set­backs, Kim Smith of White Rock, B.C., has never lost her com­pet­i­tive drive

- By Melissa Offner Melissa Offner is a reg­u­lar contributo­r to Cana­dian Run­ning. Supermodels · Celebrities · Vancouver · United States of America · Portland · Oregon · Kim Wilde · Iron Man

Kim Smith grew up in a com­pet­i­tive fam­ily. “I was al­ways very com­pet­i­tive in school, achiev­ing out­stand­ing aca­demic and ath­letic awards,” Smith says. “It’s just some­thing that is part of my be­ing.” Smith’s run­ning jour­ney be­gan in el­e­men­tary school, where she ran track and field, and con­tin­ued in ju­nior high, where she ran cross-coun­try. Smith says she was drawn to run­ning be­cause it was a sport that ev­ery­one could par­tic­i­pate in – even tall, awk­ward kids like her­self. She con­sis­tently per­formed well at races.

When she reached high school, Smith’s fo­cus shifted to com­pet­i­tive swim­ming, and for the next few years, run­ning went on the back burner. She got mar­ried and had four chil­dren, and at 32, she got back into run­ning. “I wanted to do some­thing for me, and get back into some sort of shape,” she says. “Run­ning was the eas­i­est thing to fit into a busy fam­ily and work sched­ule.” And she brought the same com­pet­i­tive spirit to run­ning that had been there in her younger years.

By this time Smith was a reg­is­tered nurse in sur­gi­cal day­care, jug­gling run­ning with a fam­ily.

Sign­ing up for a 12-week Learn to Run clinic with Van­cou­ver’s

Fall Clas­sic 10k as the goal race, she was the fastest in the group. She also be­gan run­ning with a for­mer 2:30 marathoner

(a man in his 60s at the time), who helped train her for her first few marathons.

Smith quickly went from run­ning lo­cal 5k and 10k races to run­ning half- and full marathons in Canada and in the U.S., qual­i­fy­ing for Bos­ton af­ter her first marathon in Port­land, Ore.

She ran Bos­ton for the first time in 2000, at age 36, with a time of

3:33, and went on to run sev­eral marathons un­der 3:30.

How­ever, her run­ning jour­ney came to another tem­po­rary stop when she was 40. While train­ing for an Iron­man, Smith in­jured her back, even­tu­ally re­quir­ing surgery for a her­ni­ated disc. “It pretty much ended my run­ning jour­ney as I had known it,” she says. “I was quite down and feel­ing sorry for my­self.” But she was very mo­ti­vated to get back on her feet. “Im­prov­ing feels good, and do­ing any­thing phys­i­cal as I get older makes me feel bet­ter,” she says. Ini­tially, swim­ming and walk­ing were the only ac­tiv­i­ties al­lowed, but even­tu­ally she started run­ning lo­cal races with her kids and be­came more in­volved in their track and field events at school.

Over the years, Smith has found it chal­leng­ing to ad­just her ex­pec­ta­tions of her­self, but run­ning still gives her a feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment and stress re­lief. Th­ese days, her at­ten­tion has shifted to trail run­ning, which she finds eas­ier on her body than road run­ning. Af­ter ac­com­pa­ny­ing her son and his fi­ancée on some trail runs and crew­ing for them at races, she got the bug. “I see other older ath­letes out there, and I think, I can do that,” she says. The 57-year-old run­ner hopes to get back to her cross-coun­try roots in 2021 by tack­ling her first trail race. Smith def­i­nitely hasn’t lost her love of com­pe­ti­tion – just adapted it to new ter­rain.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada