THUNDER BAY – Sports – The third annual Thunder Bay Marathon – Miles with the Giant race weekend is scheduled for Sunday, September 23, 2012. As we count down the months, weeks and days to the starting gun, we’ll be telling the story of some of our participants.
Our first profile is Sandy Guthrie of Thunder Bay. Sandy is an avid runner and is a coach and support for runners of all levels through the Fresh Air Experience training program. She also volunteered as a “pace bunny” for the 2010 and 2011 Miles with the Giant half marathon.
Sandy Guthrie – In her own words
I have run all my life, and really enjoy it. My very first race was in 1976, called the “Golden Mile”. It was a one mile race that started where the Dairy Queen is now on May Street and then we would run straight down May Street for exactly one mile, ending in front of the old Royal Edward Hotel. I was hooked on running races from then on.
I gradually started to enjoy running longer distances. My first marathon was in Minneapolis at the Twin Cities Marathon in 1993.
Since that first one, I have now run a total of 37 marathons and have had the privilege of being the National Trainer for Team Diabetes for ten years in places like Dublin, Honolulu, Rome, and Athens. This was the start of my interest in training others to run longer distances.
I knew that there was a need to help people in Thunder Bay to learn how to run. I started the Thursday night free running programs from Fresh Air Experience around the year 2000. We started with a handful of participants the first year. It gradually started to grow, so that now we get anywhere from 60 to 120 people on a Thursday night, depending on the weather.
A lot of these runners have gone on to run their own marathons, triathlons, and Iron Man events. They have also become personal friends in the process.
My motivation comes from seeing new runners improve and enjoy what they are doing. When I first started running, it was about getting faster and trying for new personal goals. Now, it’s all about seeing people going from walking to running, then running their first race with a huge smile on their face. Progression, I guess.
In 2004, I could see a need to help people train for the Ten Mile Road Race. This began a new phase. Since then, it has grown so much. I now have a co-director helping me. Her name is Marilee Chase. She and I now have a group of 18 volunteer leaders every Saturday morning, who teach new runners to believe that they can do it. Whether they are starting at running three minutes and walking a minute, right up to eight-minute-mile runners, we have something for everybody. Last season, we had a total of 168 runners in seven different groups.
One neat fact is that half of our present leaders have come from the ranks of the beginning runners themselves. They seem to get it, in terms of wanting to pay back to others what they received themselves.
This whole group for the past two years have informally adopted the two Kenyan runners, Gilbert Kiptoo and Philip Samoei. Over our eighteen weeks of training, we have collectively raised enough money to help them to help the orphan children in each of their villages to be able to go to school.
Keep up on the latest on Facebook – Thunder Bay Marathon – Miles with the Giant.
The training for this year’s Ten Mile Road Race started on Saturday, January 28th starting from Fresh Air Experience at 9:30AM. Anyone interested can pre-register the week before at the FAE store at 311 Victoria Avenue.