Martin Schouw powers to the finish line in the Northern View Cannery Road Race just ahead of his target time of 1:45:00. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Martin Schouw powers to the finish line in the Northern View Cannery Road Race just ahead of his target time of 1:45:00. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

MVP of the Week: Runner ready for his biggest challenge yet

Martin Schouw has found new meaning in life thanks to running, and now hopes to use it to give back

Three years ago, Martin Schouw traded in drugs and alcohol for running and volunteer work, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“I was dependent on drugs and drinking,” Schouw recalls of those days. “I spent a lot of time with a beer in the hand and whatnot.”

“I’d had enough, and one day I decided I had to change my life around.”

While Schouw’s drive can be chalked up mostly to willpower, there was a moment that likely sparked a fire in him. After undergoing a knee operation Schouw said people were of the opinion that his days of physical activity were over. Having stayed active working as a logger his entire life, this did not sit well with Schouw.

READ MORE: Heart of Our City: Giving back to their street friends one meal at a time

“That sort of ticked me off. I took up running from that day on, and I haven’t looked back,” Schouw said.

“A half marathon led to a full marathon, and then I wanted my four-hour time,” he said, referring to a general high-level standard for a marathon time in the running community.

“That took me a couple years, but I got that.”

Now, Schouw is looking to push his limits with his longest run ever: a trek from Terrace back to Prince Rupert. The journey is approximately 150 km by foot. Schouw is looking to raise awareness for another cause near to his heart: animals.

Martin Schouw took part in the Northern View Cannery Road Race on Sept. 14. He placed third in the men’s half-marathon over 40 category, and fourth place overall with a time of 1:44:55. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Since getting clean, Schouw has found fulfillment in helping out local animals. His volunteer work at the Wildlife Shelter transitioned to collecting pet food to feed local cats in need. He is currently partnered with the Action for Animals in Distress Society to pursue his new goal of making sure neighbourhood animals do not go hungry.

Back on the road, Schouw is getting ready for the upcoming Cannery Road Race. It will be his last chance to train and tune up before he sets off on the grueling distance between towns. It will be an unforgiving run, but compared to where he came from, Schouw is grateful for the opportunity.

“When this started I couldn’t even run 5K. I could never dream that I’m doing what I’m doing right now,” Schouw said.

Schouw believes some good fortune followed him after he set out on his new path. Now 52 years old, Schouw had never met his birth mother – until this past Christmas.

At the encouragement of his partner Carrie, Schouw decided to track down his birth family. The results were more than he could have ever imagined. In addition to meeting his birth mother, Schouw learned he had four sisters – and with them many nieces and nephews.

“They’re such beautiful people and they all welcomed me into their families so quickly I just couldn’t believe it,” Schouw said. He now has a six-person frame hanging in his living room featuring his newly found family.

“I think karma played a role. Maybe sobering up, that’s the time to meet them,” Schouw thinks. “When I was drinking I never did find them, and maybe that’s why.”

Martin Schouw hangs out at home with Hutch, Macy and Boomer. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

In addition to his newfound family and Carrie, Schouw has three other special souls in his life: his dogs Hutch, Miley and Boomer. All three are rescue dogs, who echo the path of their owner, having overcome a number of personal issues to emerge in the positive space they occupy today.

Schouw says he has found a sport for life. Running helped him break free from a dark place, and he has no plans to head back.

“The running gives me focus. I don’t know if it’s every run, or if it’s all those little runs that add up to the goals,” he said. “Everybody needs to have a goal in life, and that’s what changes things for a lot of people.”

“A lot of people are stuck in a rut and don’t have something to chase. I’ve got my running. I’ve got big goals, big quests, and I chase after them now.”

Martin Schouw powers to the finish line in the Northern View Cannery Road Race just ahead of his target time of 1:45:00. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Schouw is especially attracted to the mental toughness that running instills. Early mornings and bad weather still see those dedicated athletes hitting the streets.

For someone who showed a strong sense of will to quit his addictions in the first place, the sport therefore seems like a natural fit.

“Life sure is a lot better since I cleaned my act up. Maybe it’s just that I’m sober, and I see it now,” Schouw said.

“I truly woke up one day and I’d had enough of feeling so horrible. I made a promise to myself – never again – and I’ve never looked back.”

READ MORE: MVP of the Week: All-around the apparatus —and the province

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

addictionsMVP of the Weekrunning

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Air Canada announced on Jan 13, that it is reducing operations by 25 per cent affecting flights into and from Prince Rupert.
Flights to Prince Rupert cancelled

Air Canada announced reduction in operation and more than 1,700 employees affected

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Most Read