Finish strong

The starting line at Marathon by the Sea

I am always intrigued and inspired by the stories of my fellow runners: what pushes them, how they started and what they’ve learned along the way. As I mentally and physically prepare for my first half-marathon – which is now less than two weeks away – I’m going to introduce you to some runners from Saint John and beyond. They’ve kindly agreed to share some tips for first-timers like me.

Today, meet Scott MacNeill. I first crossed paths with Scott, a 33-year-old lab system administrator at Bell Aliant, at a spinning class last summer. We were making small talk before class began, and I remember making some excuse for why I hadn’t been there for a while. “I’m a runner,” I said proudly. Little did I know who I was talking to.

Over the course of a few years, Scott has lost 180 pounds. He has transformed from a relatively inactive person to one of the fittest people I know.  Whether it’s a spinning class, boot camp or a group run, Scott is always at the head of the pack.

Scott MacNeill finishing a previous half-marathon at Marathon By the Sea.

How long have you been running?

Four years.

How did you get started?

I’ve always wanted to run, but used to be a lot heavier and had no confidence to try it.  After joining Simply For Life and the weight started to come off, I started to work at it by running 10-20 seconds at a time… eventually that turned into miles.

How many half-marathons have you run?

This year’s Marathon by the Sea will be my fourth half-marathon.  My previous times were 1hr 43 min,  1hr 44 min and 1hr 46 min.  My goal is a sub- 1hr 40 half. I want to do it in less than 100 minutes.

What advice do you have for people attempting the half for the first time?

I would recommend not setting a timed goal for yourself.  You have every race for the rest of your life to try and beat times, you only have one first.  Just focus on finishing strong, and enjoy the experience.  As for fuel, hydration is key. Never let yourself get thirsty!

How do you get through the final few km?

Final few kilometres are all mental.  Stay strong mentally and you’ll finish.  Your body will get you there.  I’ve often talked aloud to myself to help through those final few… never give up!

What inspires you to run?

My inspiration for running is the peace it gives me.  There are no computers, no phones ringing, nothing.  Just me and the road.  Stress and frustration melt away when I hit the road.

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April Runs On

A writer who loves to run, often while chasing a toddler on the east coast

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