From being a slow runner to marathoner; five years ago, my life changed forever when I was kicked out of your running group by some local postpartum moms for running too slow. I had a burning desire to reclaim my life and was ready to work hard for it, but you wrote me off far too quickly.

I understand you probably thought it was in your best interest. I don’t blame you for doing what you felt was right, but not giving me a chance was one of your biggest mistakes. Had I been your running buddy, you would have had someone who showed up rain or shine—a forever running partner. Thankfully, it worked out for me in ways I never imagined.

I hold no ill feelings toward you. I am grateful because your decision changed my life in unexpected ways. I’m living a much better life now, all because you lacked patience and you couldn’t see my potential. You missed out, but I gained so much.

Slow Runner to Marathoner positives

Because you kicked me out for running too slow, I met my best friend, ran thousands of kilometres over the last five years, completed several races, and befriended some amazing souls. I’ve learned so much about myself, becoming someone my girls and husband can truly be proud of.

After my latest 30KM run with my best friend—her longest run yet—I realized how much I’ve grown. Thanks to you, I found a running group that would never kick anyone out for running too slow. They looped back for me when I want to give up, allowing me to go from slow runner to marathoner. I even became a clinic mentor (coach) of my own running group, ensuring no one ever gets left behind.

As a Clinic mentor, I now lead a group of 20-30 people per season on their own 10K adventure. For many, this running group determines whether they will love or hate running. These people call me “coach” without knowing I used to hold my breath every clinic session Monday, hoping they wouldn’t hate me. Righting the wrong you left me with has been my mission.

When clinic members thank me for always being there for them, I know the stain of running too slow that you left me with has finally faded. You’re no longer my motivation; you’re just a small part of the story I’ve turned into a beautiful masterpiece.

A Lesson in Compassion

One day, shortly after becoming a Clinic mentor, I walked through the neighborhood with my husband and two daughters. I pointed out your house as we walked by. My oldest daughter asked, “What would you do if one of those ladies walked into your running group right now?”

I told her, “I’d welcome them with open arms and work hard to show them what a running group truly is.” Initially skeptical, she understood when I explained that treating you the way you treated me would be a disservice to both of us. You could see the wheels turning in Ava’s brain—a lesson was learned.

From Overweight Ex-Smoker to slow runner to marathon runner

I don’t know if you still live in our area or if you still run, but I wanted to thank you. I went from an overweight ex-smoker slow runner to marathoner. From a SportMedBC InTraining participant to Clinic Mentor, and now, I’m finally returning to the workforce as an employee of SportMedBC.

In 2020, I completed two half marathons, and in 2021, I started training for a full marathon. I’m currently training for my second marathon. My fifth clinic is almost complete, and looking back at the previous four, I’ve probably impacted close to 100 runners’ lives.

So, thank you. Because of you, I went from a slow runner to marathoner. I transformed from overweight and out of shape to living a healthy, active life. From being unable to keep up to being a run coach leading the pack.

slow runner to marathoner

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