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

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

The second of two massive hydro-electric turbines headed to the Site C Dam project near Fort St. John sits in Prince Rupert ready for the Jan. 27 trek across the province. The load is so large and heavy it needs counterweights on the 120 ft transport truck and trailer (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Second of two giant turbines and multi-vehicle convoy hit the road to Site C Dam

Massive turbine load from Prince Rupert needs one truck pulling it and two trucks to push it

Hays Creek in Prince Rupert requires more than $1.5 million to repair the creek and walls built in the 1950s and 1960s, Prince Rupert City Council heard on Jan. 25. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert City Council briefs:

More than $1.5 million needed to restore Hays Creek in Prince Rupert

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read