In recent years, running seems to have taken the world by storm with the establishment of various running clubs and charity marathons (including half-marathons and 5Ks). From park paths to paved streets, thousands of eager participants unite annually to run in support of charities across the world. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) is one of such events, with supporters of the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Team HOPE lacing-up their sneakers once again to fundraise for vulnerable kids across Canada.
A veteran runner, Kerri Andreas made her STWM debut last year with Team HOPE, and plans to join them once again on October 19th. Hoping it will act as a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon, Andreas took an unusual route into the world of marathons — and one she doesn’t recommend. “I was always into athletics in high school and then when I graduated I started running for fun and to stay fit, and then just by myself,” she says. “I finally decided — and I don’t suggest this to anyone — I should just sign-up for a marathon. So I did, and I ran the Mississauga Marathon in 2011.”
Diving-in seems to have paid off, as Andreas has since completed three marathons and an ultra-marathon, which consisted of a 50 km race. For those who are a little less ambitious, she recommends that those new to running “start with a 5K and build it up from there.” She also suggests joining a running club, not only for guidance, but as a way to meet new people and create supportive connections.
“I was always running by myself, and running [my first] marathon I saw all these groups and running clubs going and running each other in as their teammates would finish. It was just amazing.”
While running is a great way to stay active and achieve personal goals, supporting charities while doing it gives participants an added ambition and way to connect. “It’s great to know you’re signing-up to support something,” says Andreas. “The neat thing with the STWM in particular is that you sign-up for it and decide which charity you want your money to go towards, and then you can do additional fundraising on top of that. I work in an office, and people were happy to help out. I didn’t have to do any door-to-door soliciting.”
The best thing about running, in Andreas’ opinion? “I love the diversity of it; you can go on your own and be totally solitary, and it can be a meditative process or you can go with a group and it can be social. You can go anywhere, there’s beautiful trails around the city.”
What are you waiting for? Join us at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 19th! Beginner or novice — you will have a great time while supporting thousands of vulnerable Canadian kids.