Strides Canmore Blog

May 11, 2019

A trail system starts something like a tree, it begins with just a tiny seed. With care and love, the seed begins to grow into a plant. As this plant grows so do it roots, they spread through the soil and carve out new paths, explore new places, and create a strong base for the plant to grow into the sky above.  Running has been a part of Canmore’s roots since the beginning, and as its trail system has grown its impact on the lifestyle, culture and impact on the community has as well. It takes certain people to help this system grow and thrive, individuals that have had both a positive impact on and off of the trails through running.  To honor our town’s roots as well as these individuals, Strides Canmore is introducing Big Head Runner. Canmore was officially named in 1884 and originates from its namesake town Ceanmore in Scotland. It is a Celtic word meaning ‘Big Head’. Each day this week you will meet a local inspiration of our running community, and how they have made a positive impact in the town within the trails that surround it!

May 17, 2019

Pamela Kathol

 

Everyone who knows Pamela will say the same thing – she has a heart of gold.  She’s only been in Canmore for 3 years, but the influence she’s had on people can already be widely felt.  She has recruited and inspired dozens of runners to join our Learn to Run Group and because of her warm leadership, we now have 30+ runners meeting up weekly.  She is encouraging, positive and patient and gives her time and energy to help others reach their goals. Her genuine love for the sport and her infectious kindness has fostered a community of runners in itself – some who never thought they could ever become a “runner”.  

 1. You’ve been selected to be part of this campaign because of your positive influence on the running community in Canmore.  What does running and the running community mean to you?

Running is something I’ve enjoyed for almost 20 years.  I started by joining a local “learn to run” clinic and immediately fell in love with the simplicity of running and how good it made me feel.  

Moving to Canmore in 2016, I immediately found a community that was quick to embrace me and help me feel connected.  I remember telling family it was like I had found my tribe. The people in Canmore are supportive, encouraging and just want to help you be your best!  

 2. What attracts you to running in Canmore?

 The obvious answer to the attraction of running in Canmore would be the beautiful surroundings living in the mountains however truly it is the people.  It is a pretty large community of people who run and everywhere I go I meet people who are just really good people! I like surrounding myself with them as I feel inspired to stay healthy, get stronger, be kinder, love life more and the list goes on…..

 

 3. What do you hope to see going forward for the running community here in Bow Valley?

 My hope for the running community in the Bow Valley is that we continue to come together and support one another.  It is just fantastic to feel from others that you don’t have to be the best or the fastest and yet you’re accepted just where you are!  I hope to pass along to others what has been given to me in the Bow Valley. I truly believe that every person matters and if we can help them, then we all succeed and as it is said, there is strength in numbers!

May 16, 2019

Fitzy 

There’s not many people that can put together and lead a weekly group of dedicated trails runners for 4 years in a row.  Not only that, but the group now attracts over 50 people weekly and is widely recognized and known as one of the best community running groups in the area.  Fitzy leads Canmore Trail Culture with passion and puts endless hours into fostering a welcoming, fun and positive group of runners of all abilities. In his spare time, he runs his own business and spends his weekends adventuring in the mountains whether on a long run, bike or ski.   

 

1. You’ve been selected to be part of this campaign because of your positive influence on the running community in Canmore.  What does running and the running community mean to you?

 Since starting Canmore Trail Culture 4 years ago, running has become more than just putting on a pair of shoes and running my favourite trail. It’s allowed me to show beginners, experienced or world travelers some of the amazing trails we have in the Bow Valley. The trail running community is more than just running… it’s a place where people can meet, find like-minded people and plan adventures together. 

 

2.  What attracts you to running in Canmore?

 What attracts me most about running in Canmore is the endless amount of trails we have within an hours drive of our front door.

 

3.  What do you hope to see going forward for the running community here in Bow Valley?

 

The Bow Valley already has an amazing community of running groups and with our numbers I think we need to do more volunteer work in our community. CAMBA and Friend of Kananaskis are great organizations that are always looking for people to help with trail building/maintenance. 

May 15, 2019

Deb Sellers

The running community here in Canmore wouldn’t be the same without Deb Sellers. She’s been in the valley over 15 years and in that time has led several running groups through the town and previous running stores. She helped to build the foundation of what we are all blessed with today. She is now focusing her energies on our youth with coaching the Canmore High School Track and Field team. The team would be nowhere near where it is now without the passion and leadership of Deb. All the while, she’s a very active community member, a teacher, wife and mom to some very talented athletes (and staff at Strides!). Thanks Deb for giving so much to the running community!! 

1. You’ve been selected to be part of this campaign because of your positive influence on the running community in Canmore. What does running and the running community mean to you?

I have been a runner most of my life.  When I moved to Canmore I fell into teaching running classes for the town and it was a great way to meet people.  I also love showing people great new places to run.  Runners are very supportive of one another, as they all know it isn’t always easy to get from point A to point B, so if you take on the challenge of a recreational run or even a race, runners encourage one another along the way.  I also think that in a place like Canmore it is important to have community as there are a lot of trails that I don’t go on by myself in the summer, so I’m looking for other runners to take along to talk with, carrying my bear spray and keeping my head up.  Many of my closest friends in Canmore I’ve met through running.  The experience is that you can really
talk and get to know people better as you chat it up on the trails (makes the time go by).   

 

 

2. What attracts you to running in Canmore?

The mountains and the trails make it easy to get outside and be active in Canmore.  One thing I love about running is that I can just put on my shoes and go – no extra equipment and prep time.  And really you can run anywhere.  Running on the trails feels like less work and in the end is a better overall workout as you are moving more directions as you jump over rocks and branches.  There are
opportunities locally if you want to challenge yourself in a race.  But for the most part when you wake up and look outside, the mountains invite you to get out and enjoy the fresh air.  Running is a great way to experience your surroundings.

3. What do you hope to see going forward for the running community here in Bow Valley?

As a coach at the high school I’m hoping young people continue to be active and get involved in the sport of track and field.  I’d love to see the track and field community grow as there is something for everyone in the disciplines of Athletics.  I also hope that people will carry this forward to live an active lifestyle, looking after their health.  Running can be a part of that as you can start at any age and at any ability level.  One of my neighbours bought her first pair of good running shoes and began running at the age of 60!  I believe Canmore has welcoming communities for people to get involved in activities like running and I hope this continues to grow.

May 13, 2019

Andy Reed

Andy Reed hailed from the UK, Andy has been in the Bow Valley for nearly a decade and is one of the most well recognized ultra distance trail runners of the area.  He started the Dirtbag Runner’s here in Canmore in 2015 and continues to lead with passion every Thursday night. An elite runner, a Sports Med doctor, dad to 2 boys and husband to lovely Saira, Andy truly represent Run Canmore.  

1. You’ve been selected to be part of this campaign because of your positive influence on the running community in Canmore.  What does running and the running community mean to you?

I’ve been running most of my life.  It’s how I unwind after a busy day at work; it’s how I connect with the outdoors and explore new places; it’s how I socialize; it’s how I challenge myself and push myself.  It keeps me healthy, and as a sport med physician, I feel that I should be an active role model to my patients. The running community in Canmore means so much to me, it’s hard to overstate.  All of my best friends are runners, my wife is a runner. When friends come round for dinner, they are usually part of this community, and when I go to the pub with buddies, you guessed it – they are runners!  When I ski in the winter, it’s usually (very badly) with other runners!

2. What attracts you to running in Canmore?

Our world class network of trails, our mountains with endless ridges and valleys – there’s enough here for a lifetime of adventure.  Our running community is vast, and there’s never any shortage of willing partners to get our for an easy evening job, a 6-hour epic trail run in the summer, or even an interval session in a -20 blizzard! The Thursday interval session I lead definitely wouldn’t exist without such a vibrant and enthusiastic community of like-minded runners.

 

 3. What do you hope to see going forward for the running community here in Bow Valley?

 I hope that our running community continues to grow.  Personally I’d like to see more youngsters getting out to hit the trails, and experience that ‘runners high’ – there’s nothing like it!  But I’m also impressed with all the older adults who are lacing up their trail shoes for the first time and getting out on the dirt, because really – you are never too old to start running!  I challenge everyone to get out onto the trails and experience first hand the joy and simplicity of running.

May 12, 2019

Dan Sparks

 

There’s not too many people in the area that don’t know Dan.
Beyond selling houses in the Bow Valley, Dan volunteers tirelessly in the community
and was pivotal in growing the Running Club at Lawrence Grassi Middle School
over many years. His coaching always had fun at its forefront and his sense of
humour and good nature has inspired many youth in our community to love the
sport of running. He puts his heart into the sport because he believes that “the
sport of running has brought out a ton of kids who aren’t drawn to team sports or
who’s family simply can’t afford the high registration fees that come with other
sports”. Thank you Dan for your relentless energy and spirit in inspiring our youth
with the sport of running!

1. You’ve been selected to be part of this campaign because of your positive influence on
the running community in Canmore. What does running and the running community
mean to you?

I started running in 2008 in a pretty conventional way. I did a couple of half marathons and one full
agonizing marathon (5:30 time – lots of walking). However, I didn’t get very serious about running until
about 4 years ago. 

Since then I’ve coached somewhere around a hundred kids through the Lawrence Grassi Middle School Running Club and Marathon Club. The sport of running has brought out a ton of kids who aren’t drawn to team sports or who’s family simply can’t afford the high registration fees that
come with other organized sports. The running community in Canmore has been hugely supportive through parent volunteer runners, discounted race fees through the Banff Marathon as well as guest coaching and fun runs through Grizzly events. The running community has also brought the annual Terry Fox Run back from not existing in Canmore to becoming a highly successful annual event which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Terry Fox Foundation. Throughout all of that, my dedication to running has been a key factor in enabling me to go from 245 pounds to 165 pounds and then continue to stay fit. 

2) What attracts you to running in Canmore?

From a personal perspective, I am drawn to the easily accessible extensive trail system throughout the
community. I can start running from my front door and find myself in the woods with no sense of
civilization within 10 minutes and at the Mt Lady MacDonald tea house platform in an hour and a half
(on a really good day). 

3) What do you hope to see going forward for the running community here in Bow Valley?

I hope that the runners of Canmore continue to encourage the next generation through non competitive
school and community based running programs.