Anne Williams: Never too old to start running — or be a ‘guinea pig’

I work for a health benefits organization whose mission it is to improve health and well-being in B.C.

Last December, my boss asked me if I could think of anyone at the office who used to be active and hasn’t exercised in awhile, who would be interested in training to run 10 kilometres. He added: “It’s a great clinic by SportMedBC and we cover the cost. Oh, and the person has to blog for The Vancouver Sun.”

Any of you who work in communications can probably relate to what I thought next. “Now I’m probably going to have to edit someone’s blog for three months, so why not just save time and be a guinea pig?”

I arrived at my first Sun Run InTraining Clinic at False Creek Community Centre on Saturday, Jan. 20. Being closer in age to 50 than 40, I must admit my biggest fear was that I would need first aid, lying there red-faced and wheezing while fit young 30-somethings skipped past me in retroreflective tights, thinking “It must really suck to be middle-aged!”

But you know what? My first two clinics were energizing. Sun Run veterans, newbies, young and old alike — the running community is a family, inspiring each other with positivity, encouragement and advice on how to stay healthy.

Since signing up to be a guinea pig, in an attempt to counter self-sabotage I’ve started telling any co-worker who will listen that I’m in The Vancouver Sun Run’s guinea pig program. In the process, I’ve uncovered an office subculture of long-distance runners, all of whom are super supportive.

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As of today, 25 co-workers have signed up for our Sun Run team to encourage me to finish that 10K run on Sunday, April 22.

And for all of you who think you’re too old to start running: I am by no means the oldest person in the clinic. So far, I’ve met three amazing women — one who started running when she turned 50, 10 years ago, and has completed nine Sun Runs.

The other two? They are our clinic leaders. When I’m 60 I want to rock a pair of retroreflective tights like they do!

New ‘guinea pig’ Anne Williams is the communications and community manager for Pacific Blue Cross.

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