The finish line sometimes isn’t about the race
There’s a poster in principal Edith Guay’s office that sums up the lens through which she views running. It reads: “Some finish lines just mean more than others.”
The poster, a black and white image of runners from the 2005 Boston Marathon is an ode to the participants — Guay included — that completed the world-famous race.
The message, however, isn’t about the physical finish line of any given marathon. The message is about the goals of the runners themselves.
In an effort to marry healthy living and a cause, Guay — one of five runners on The Province Vancouver marathon team — has planned a race for her students at Ecole Simon Cunningham Elementary School in Surrey.
“I want this to be a part of the culture of the school, of healthy living,” she said. “It’s about them. It’s not about me.”
The group of 20 students meet with Guay, who has completed 11 marathons, after school every Thursday for a 45-minute training session in preparation for the race. The event scheduled for the end of the school year aims to raise funds to fill an empty library of a school program in the African coastal country of Senegal.
In part, what inspired Guay to contribute to the school in Senegal was the cross-cultural bond she found through running.
“My husband and I went for a run and people would start running with us,” Guay said in January of her visit to Senegal for a school program.
“When they saw us running, suddenly we weren’t tourists anymore.”
For some students, the weekly sessions are about learning to run faster, farther. For others it’s about knowing how to run properly and technically.
For 11-year-old Kamila Neliba, the running club also doubles as a confidence builder.
“It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel,” she said.
In Guay’s office, on the wall perpendicular to the Boston marathon poster, there’s another image. This one is personal; this one is just for Guay.
It’s a drawing from a student. It’s of Guay running on the road in her running gear with her long blonde hair trailing. In french, it reads: “Bravo! Cours vite Mme. Guay.”
In English, that translates to: “Run fast Ms. Guay. Well done!”
This — once they have raise their funds — is a sentiment Guay and her 20 runners hope to hear at their own little finish line.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the race can reach Edith Guay at email@example.com.