By Mark Squibb/January 13, 2022
Cold winds and messy winter weather hasn’t slowed down members of the Paradise Running Club, who are looking forward to another year of pounding the pavement.
The club is about 200 members strong, and always welcoming new runners.
“The club has lots of members of different abilities, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, you’re going to find someone in the club that you can run with,” said Keith Glynn, one of the club’s founders.
Group runs are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as on Saturday morning. Folks within the group often set up runs outside the regularly scheduled runs that other are free to join.
If you’re new to the sport, the club offers training programs to ease in, the most popular of which is the Learn to Run program, which has been a staple of the club pretty well since it’s foundation.
“It’s basically the main on-ramp for new members,” said Glynn.
Offered in the spring and again in the fall, participants learn, over the space of about 10 weeks, how to complete a five-kilometre run.
January is often a time people think about getting into shape, but Glynn said the club offers more than just good exercise.
“I think most people get into it, initially, to get into a better, healthy lifestyle, but I think as time goes on, especially for anybody wo joins a running club, the social aspect plays into it as well,” said Glynn. “You always have that other person or persons to encourage you, maybe on a bad day when you don’t feel like getting out and running… There’s a lot of friendships to be made as a result of the running clubs. There’s people who have connected for the first time through running, and have developed long lasting friendships because of running…. Personally, I run not just for the physical part, but for the mental break it gives you… it relaxes the body and the mind.”
And, if variety be the spice of life, Glynn said there’s no lack of trails in Paradise, and beyond.
“In Paradise we’re lucky, and in CBS and throughout the whole Northeast Avalon, because we have many scenic trails to run,” said Glynn. “You can go anywhere in Paradise and run a loop, whether it be Adam’s Pond, Neil’s Pond, or Octagon Pond, or you can actually leave Paradise and run along the trail right up to CBS if you want too. Or you can run a trail in Paradise and end up in Bowering Park, or the Terry Fox Memorial, or wherever you want to go. So, I think the diversity of routes offered that people can run on is a big drawing factor.”
Outside of running, the club is active in fundraising for different community programs, and has raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years to fill food banks, help people with disabilities acquire much needed equipment, and support athletes traveling abroad.
Currently, Andrew Tobin is the club’s president, with Carrie Hyde acting as incoming president.
Glynn meanwhile, who now averages between 35 and 40 kilometres a week, or more when training for a marathon, started running almost on a whim.
“In 2008 I decided to give it a go,” said Glynn. “I was sitting at home one day in April of 2008, and if was one of those situations where you just wanted to get off the coach, so I decided to put on a pair of sneakers and run around Octagon Pond, and I’ve been at it ever since.”
Glynn, who turns 60 this April, would have been 48 when he started, proving that it’s never too late to start anything.