Why do people run? The answers are as varied as the people you ask. Some run to maintain a healthy lifestyle or to lose weight while others do it to combat stress. Many people have found it as a great way to meet new friends who share a similar interest.
For Sun Peaks resident Melanie Simmons, running is about setting a goal and gaining that sense of achievement after completing a task.
Simmons primarily runs for fun and joins the occasional race to challenge herself.
Along with her colleagues from Tourism Sun Peaks, she’s doing Jo’s Road Race for the third time this year. Thanks to her brother’s convincing powers, she’s also joining the 5 Peaks alpine trail race for the first time.
“Right now, I have those dates in mind and it gives me something to work for,” she said.
Matt Lepp, 5 Peaks Interior race director, is an avid runner and does it for many reasons. “I run because it’s a way I can connect with the natural environment, it allows me to socialize with friends and people with common interests, and it ‘s a great workout.”
“It’s much more than running,” said Jo Berry, a Kamloops running coach and fitness guru who has encouraged countless people to lace up their running shoes and take up the sport.
“I noticed early on that your brain chemistry and your health are drastically changed through moving outside, and particularly running,” said Berry. She’s been running for 20 years and absolutely loves the sport. Her life’s mission is to share the joy of running to others while motivating them to live their best life through the Run Club.
Non-runners are intimidated by the sport simply because they feel they lack the stamina to do it. The truth is that almost anyone can, but you have to start at your own pace.
“We are all built to run differently,” Berry explained. Run Club members are usually surprised that they can finish a 5 km race after just eight weeks in the program, said Berry.
“So it’s not about how far, how fast. It’s about having the courage to start and the courage to continue,” she said.
Being part of a running community also helps runners stay motivated to achieve their goals.
“Running as part of a community allows for support and encouragement and is also a great social activity and fun way to meet people and train,” said Lepp, who runs on different trails each week as part of the Kamloops Crossfit trail group.
“My favourite places to run are Kenna Cartwright Park and Peterson Creek Park in Kamloops, as well as other trails in the surrounding area. In the summer, there is no run as beautiful as the race course at Sun Peaks Resort so I try to run the loop a few times each year.”
Running is also about constantly challenging yourself to improve. “It always feels nice to run faster, farther, or to feel more comfortable,” said Lepp.
For Simmons, the goal is to shave off her run time at Jo’s Road Race.
“The last two years, my time was exactly the same,” she said. “So I think it’s time to step it up just a little bit and see if I can knock a couple of minutes off.”
Whether it’s going a little further or a little faster each year, what’s great about running is it encourages you to push your limits. It’s about challenging yourself to get better one lap at a time.