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running and croissants
Some runners prefer their own company and like to run solo; many more find the support and camaraderie of a run club is the way to go. There are certainly benefits to both.
In this Q&A with two Ontario runners we talk about their passion for running, their future goals, the benefits of joining a run-club, and how they discovered a lifelong friendship.
Joyce Law, @joysofrunning is an avid runner and co-leader of We Run North York, a run-crew that combines running with fun, friendship, and food. As her IG profile states, she is addicted to running and croissants.
Lisa Sun, @belovedrunner also found her passion in running, though it took her a little longer to get the bug.

How did you get into running?

Joyce Law - @joysofrunning - After a 10-year hiatus from running, I started running again in 2017 after signing up for the CN Tower Climb through work. I didn’t want to be the last one on my team to get up the Tower so I decided to train for the climb by running. The first time I went out, I could barely get around the block. It was a very humbling experience. After I finished the CN Tower Climb, I caught the running bug again and I signed up for a 5k and a 10k that summer. After I successfully ran a 10k, I joined a local run-crew (now known as We Run North York) and I’ve ran 3 marathons, 4 half marathons, and many other races since then.

Lisa Sun - @belovedrunner - I started running because someone told me I couldn’t run. Wanting to prove them wrong, in 2004 I signed up for a half marathon. I found it a huge struggle and vowed I would never, ever run a half marathon again! I did keep running on & off, mostly 10K. In 2017 it was time to step out of my comfort zone so I joined a group run. I told the leader that I was a fair weather runner but he convinced me to keep going through winter. I found it wasn't so bad after all and within a few months I was training for the Chilly Half Marathon… in middle of an Ontario winter! This was my first race with my new best friend who I met through the group & I loved it! I went on to run the Diva half marathon, a 30K race & even a full marathon just a year after joining the club! It was the best decision!

What’s your favourite running memory?

Joyce: There are so many - it’s hard to choose just one! Among my favourites: the excitement of running my first marathon in San Francisco, the exhilaration of crossing the finish line with @belovedrunner for her first marathon at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the relief when I realized I ran 4 seconds faster than my goal time at the Army Half in Ottawa, …. I can’t choose just one! 😊  

Lisa: It has to be my first full marathon, though it was certainly never on my bucket list. Someone told me the next steps in my running journey should be either a fast half marathon or a slow full marathon. Joyce agreed to be with me for my first full marathon – she’d just completed her first full marathon in San Francisco. So, with no time goal in mind, I went in relaxed but willing to give it my all. It truly was a great experience running 42.2 km with my best friend by my side. I can’t believe that I have now completed 3 full marathons in 12 months.

What does running mean to you?

Lisa: Running is part of my self-care routine. I love all the people I have met through running & the running community. I have also discovered many new places through running & a new appreciation for murals and street art! 

What’s your favourite race?

Joyce: I love all the races from the Beaches Running Club Running Series, because they have an awesome race director, are very well organized, have great swag, and provide free race photos, to the Shakespeare Runs the Night 30k and Beaches Jazz Half Marathon. Because I love free race photos, I have started to volunteer for BRC as a course photographer for their Bum Run and Joggin for the Noggin 5k. I will be there again for the upcoming Tannenbaum 10k in December!

What do you like most about running with a group?

Joyce: Running with a group has been a game changer for me. I love the accountability, encouragement, and camaraderie that a group brings. It makes running a social sport and I look forward to run chatting with my friends at every group run. I love planning fun destinations for the crew to run to and taking fun photos. We run to bakeries, murals, streets with funny names, and do special destination runs once a month. I love planning new routes for the crew! Check us out at @werunnorthyork. Better yet, join us if you are in the area!

Lisa: I used to run solo for over 10 years but I never ran fast or far on my own. It's only after I started running with a group that my running improved in both speed and distance. I love running with a group because it’s pushed me, not only as an athlete but also as a person. I love the community of being part of a group & the friends I’ve made. I have also been inspired by many of my fellow group members.

 What or who inspires you to run?

Joyce: Running makes me realize I am capable of so much more than I can even imagine. I love competing against myself, challenging my limits, and beating yesterday. I’m also inspired by those from my run-crew who shows up consistently, puts in the hard work, and crushes their goals. Most of all, my coach Jim Willett inspires me to push beyond my limits. He believes in me more than I believe in myself. 

 If you could run any race in the world, which would it be?

Joyce: At the moment, my goal is set for the Boston Marathon in 2020. I’m pretty confident that I can age into it in a couple of years. After I run Boston, I would like to complete all 6 world majors and also do fun “runcations” around the world.

Lisa: I have the Disney Marathon weekend coming up in January 2020 with 3 good friends. We are running 5, 10, 21.1 & 42.2 km over 4 consecutive days. I will also be running a half marathon in Montreal in April and my 4th full marathon in Ottawa in May. I am also hoping to run Chicago next year. Eventually I would like to run an ultra-marathon. I know it’s on my heart to return to my birth country South Africa and run an ultra-marathon there. The top 2 choices would be the Two Oceans marathon (56 km) which touts itself as the world’s most beautiful marathon or the Comrades marathon which is 89 km and known as the ultimate human race.

 What advice would you give to a beginner runner?

Joyce: Consistency is the key. Find a run crew to run with. Increase your mileage gradually. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. Get a good pair of running shoes and, of course, OOFOS sandals. 😊 

 Do you have any post run rituals?

Lisa: Keep the legs moving, get a massage, eat some protein, change into dry clothes & change into comfortable shoes like a pair of recovery sandals (OOFOS recommended!). 
Featuring: OOlala Rose Gold
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