Leslie Peloquin joined the 13-week Learn to Run program in 2011, and was hooked into the running community. She went on to be a part of the Rupert Runners executive committee, and volunteered as a race marshall in the Skeena River Relay for several years. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View) Leslie Peloquin joined the 13-week Learn to Run program in 2011, and was hooked into the running community. She went on to be a part of the Rupert Runners executive committee, and volunteered as a race marshall in the Skeena River Relay for several years. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Rupert Runners share memories of beloved volunteer Leslie Peloquin

Distance runner Peloquin was a Learn to Run coach in Prince Rupert for years, inspiring many

Well into April, Leslie Peloquin was at the track with a warm smile, signing in Learn to Run participants, encouraging them to reach their goals.

Leslie joined the 13-week Learn to Run program in 2011 as part of an office initiative — and her involvement in the running community only blossomed from there. From 8km, to 10K, and then a half-marathon, she became a running coach, volunteered as a race marshal for the Skeena River Relay and was race director for the Cannery Road Race from 2013-2016.

But that first time on the track was logged in her memory, and in one of her letters to Learn to Run participants, she shares that experience.

“The others were fit and worked out and then there was me. Working out for me meant going from the sofa to the kitchen. So, I sign up and get the program. They want me to run how long? Sheesh. So down to the track for the first run (I am thinking that I will never be able to do this) and low and behold I managed to run the first session,” she wrote.

Coach and longtime runner Ray Leonard remembers when he first met Leslie.

Leslie Peloquin joined the 13-week Learn to Run program in 2011, after she became a coach for new and experienced runners in Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

“I was coaching with the Learn to Run and jogging back occasionally to check on the back of the pack, and there was this little lady clearly struggling, but cheerfully plodding on. We chatted as we ran, and I was immediately impressed by her attitude and determination. She finished that run, and completed the Learn to Run program, and then came back for many more years to share her enthusiasm and to inspire hundreds of others as a coach herself.”

READ MORE: Olympic running coach trains Rupert coaches

In 2013, she joined the Rupert Runners executive committee as the club secretary, leading her to clock in more volunteer hours with the many events the Prince Rupert club organizes throughout the year.

Even when Leslie was diagnosed with cancer, she continued to dedicate her time and energy into the running community. On April 18, she emailed her fellow coaches, apologizing for missing a few Learn to Run sessions, and announcing that she will be travelling to Vancouver to try some new therapies to help with her cancer.

“I leave on Sunday and will be gone for awhile. Thank you all for taking such good care of the Learn to Run program,” she wrote.

On the morning of June 5, Leslie passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Throughout her years with Rupert Runners she made friends, inspired many, and went on to run several half marathons.

In 2012, she convinced Stella Kafka to join the club and program. They soon became part of the unwavering running trio with their good friend Lynn Daniele.

“We were always at the back of the pack, which can be discouraging, but she was always positive and inspiring. Without the encouragement from her and Lynn, I never would have believed I could run a half marathon, but with their support I ran my first BMO half and then a bunch more,” Kafka said.

READ MORE: This Week Podcast — Episode 69, with guests Leslie Peloquin and Crystal Sawatzky

The trio volunteered together to co-ordinate the Cannery Road Race for a couple of years in a row.

Past Rupert Runners president, Learn to Run coach, avid runner, and race director, Amber Sheasgreen remembers Leslie fondly. They joined Learn to Run the same year in 2011, in their respective office challenges.

“We were on the same page since day one, starting with ‘I don’t run unless someone is chasing me,’ and growing into our love of running,” Sheasgreen said.

Over the years, they both became more involved with the club, with Sheasgreen saying she would only retain the role as club president if Leslie was part of her team.

“She was my rock, and always there to lean on. I was fortunate enough to run and volunteer alongside her in the club for more than seven years. Leslie was always there for us to turn to for advice, support, and that spirited smile. From tedious head counts, to long hours race marshalling the Skeena River Relay, to late night race bag stuffing, and tallying results, Leslie did it all,” she said.

Past vice president, race director and enthusiastic Learn to Run coach Crystal Sawatzky said their shared love of running made them closer as friends.

“She was always there to listen and offer a shoulder when needed. She was a fighter right to the end and a great friend you could count on,” Sawatzky said.

For the past six years they coached the Learn to Run program together. Even when Leslie was working out of town, she supported from afar, sending out the weekly emails with words of encouragement to all of our wonderful runners. “This past Learn to Run session was hard for both of us since neither of us were able to run. She was my motivation to keep going and keep showing up, and she still is today.”

Leslie’s energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to the running community will not be forgotten.

Shannon Lough | Editor
Shannon Lough 
Send Shannon email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Smooth sailing expected on 14 major roads in Prince Rupert by end of summer

Construction underway with city’s $2.4 million paving budget

City of Prince Rupert seeking public input on Community Enhancement Grants

Survey now available to the public focusing on project priorities

Junior A hockey on the horizon for Prince Rupert player

Brett Fudger signs with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL

Break-in at Prince Rupert Post Office causes service delay

Office closed most of July 8 morning after overnight forced entry

Global Sports Bra Squad Day in Rupert

The event encourages athletes to run in whatever makes them comfortable regardless of shape or size

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read