Have you ever stood at the finish line of a long race and watched everyone come in?
If I were to go back 10 years, Karen and athlete would not be in the same sentence. If I could go back just 1 year from today, I definitely would have never called myself a runner. I have been an aerobic, kickboxing, weightlifting, and walking enthusiast. That is how I transformed myself from unhealthy heavy sadness to a fit, confident woman.
Over the years, I have learned to mix my routines up to keep them interesting, and maintain the lifestyle I’ve grown addicted to, but I didn’t think I’d ever choose running. It looks hard, it feels hard, and I was scared to face the fact that I wasn’t as fit as I could become. I might not be good at it. People may laugh at me when they see how slow I am. Wow, suddenly the fears of my youth resurface.
Barry started running in the winter of 2010/2011. He was training for the 2011 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. I was inspired watching him train. I watched him get faster, stronger, and I got to celebrate with him as he reached personal best marks with distance and time. He looked amazing and was (and still is) so happy. While he was training, we decided to sign up for a 10k run together that fell 1 month after Vancouver. I didn’t think I had to train to run a 10k. I clearly did not have a true understanding of the sport. Thankfully, Barry’s persistent encouragement for me to at least train a little bit paid off.
I started running mid April 2011. It was hard. I learned very quickly, that I wouldn’t be great at it just because I was fit. So what was interesting was that even though I didn’t like that I wasn’t good at it, I grew increasingly inspired to get better. As I saw with Barry, practice makes your body respond. So I began practicing.
The most inspiring time for me was Barry’s race day. He had been present for all his rehearsals. He knew exactly what his race plans were, and this was his time to shine. His celebration of his fitness. This was his performance. I felt so proud of him. As our two teenagers and I found a superb viewing area, I couldn’t help to notice all the people. They were lining up by the thousands. They were all ages, sizes, heights, widths, elite, and regular folk, and they were all celebrating their fitness together. The streets were closed to traffic, and musicians and volunteers were plentiful, all in honour of the runners. And all of the runners were having their personal victories of the journeys they had discovered on their paths to this celebratory day. The energy was unstoppable excitement. I remember feeling envious that I wasn’t in the lineup. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to celebrate my fitness too!
When we were eagerly awaiting Barry’s arrival at the finish line, I noticed something else incredible. All shapes and sizes and ages and regular folk were crossing at the same time. The same thing was in their eyes. Pride! Well deserved pride and victory when the finish line is there, and their loved ones are there to greet them.
Then we spotted Barry and he spotted us too, and an overwhelming sense of pride wooshed over me, as my eyes welled up with tears. We cheered him in like the superstar he was! I craved the victory that Barry and so many others felt that day, and that was stronger than my fear, so that’s when I decided to practice running more.
We started 2DreamRunners to build a network of people participating in healthy living lifestyles with an emphasis on helping others! It is our hope that we can gather energy from many and focus it on helping others through the positive energy of health and wellness. Our fundraising journey appropriately starts on the new courses of the event that so inspired us last year – the BMO Vancouver Marathon. The Vancouver Marathon has a long history of supporting charity organizations in British Columbia. This year is no different with the Marathon having 5 charity partners: the BC Cancer Foundation, Canuck Place, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ronald McDonald House BC or the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.
Run Van is the first of 3 running events of our 2DreamRunners 2012 campaign to support Make-A-Wish by raising $8,000 to grant a wish for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. For us, the marathons symbolize in a very small way, the challenge that these children face – although the kids didn’t choose their path. Barry will be running the full and I will be running the half marathon. We feel lucky to take part in “RUN VAN”!
Bio: Barry & Karen Wilson from Salmon Arm are working with their two high school age children, Jake and Cassidy, to make dreams come true through the positive energy of health and wellness. They hope to gather energy from many and focus it on helping others – especially those in need.