Hand in hand, Kathy Murphy (left) and Gail Bennett (right) are determined to finish their 10k side by side at The Northern View Cannery Road Race 2019.

COCULLO: Run like a Rupertite

The running community in Prince Rupert is something special

As soon as I ran up the tedious hill that is Bill Murray Dr. onto First Ave., I quickly turned around.

Fifty per cent of that decision is attributed to the fact that my cardio is not up to par with a feat that big (at least it seems like a big feat to a once again novice runner). But the other 50 per cent was that I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of my running group.

It was 7 a.m. and I had met the Rupert Runners for my first ever run in the city. One of my friends was even kind enough to haul herself out of bed bright and early so I would not have to be alone in a crowd of new faces.

As I ran, my fellow runners made sure to turn around so I always had company in the back of the line (and I was way back in the line).

Despite the fact that I ditched the group very early on in my very short sprint, I still got many messages of support afterward just applauding my effort to come out.

There are so many benefits to running. Running promotes a healthy lifestyle, it produces endorphins that fight away depression and it is a cheap way to work out that only requires a good pair of leggings and long-lasting sneakers. But for me, the biggest benefit of running in Prince Rupert is the supportive community that surrounds the sport.

It is quite a special community.

On Global Sports Bra Squad Day the female runners in the community met at Butze Rapids Trail and started the morning out with a chant reminding each other that their bodies are perfect no matter their shape and size.

At The Northern View Cannery Road Race, runners were out on the course supporting each other instead of treating the event like a competition. Family members held the hands of each other as they crossed the finish line. Friends slowed down to match each other’s paces and stick together. And a group of dedicated runners waited an hour by the finish line for the last runner to come up the hill as she completed her half-marathon endeavour. Then they proceeded to run the last few metres with her.

READ MORE: The Northern View Cannery Road Race: Photos and video

I used to rock climb, hike and run until I suffered a terrible injury to the foot that undid all my years of hard work. I remember trying to get back into the spirit, only to have a friend complain that I hiked slower than he did. Only to have fellow climbers annoyed at my new lack of ability.

But not in Rupert.

In Rupert, you can find a supportive group of people who will push you to be your best at your own pace.

So if you’re looking to get in shape, come back from injury, overcome a mental health struggle or just want something fun to do, I encourage you to run with a Rupertite.

READ MORE: COCULLO: Mental illness is not the new normal

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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