Speaker talks about colourful running experiences
[media-credit name="Andrea Connell" align="alignleft" width="232"][/media-credit]There is no telling what you might encounter when out for your daily constitutional. Kyle Mackie has run for chocolate, fled from zombies, and sprinted away from President Obama’s security team all while pursuing his fitness goals.
Mackie, manager of Teaching and Learning Technologies on campus, spoke about his exploits on April 2 at a kick-off event for the Occupation Health and Wellness Department’s 13th Learn to Run program. More than 650 people have come through the program since it began in 2005.
Mackie, a graduate of the 2011 Learn to Run program, said he shed 30 pounds within six months of taking up running and has been able to keep his blood pressure in check.
Joining a running group, especially one that eases beginners into it, is a good way keep motivated and injury free.
“Go easy on yourself. It’s a surefire way to get hurt, if you push yourself too quickly too soon,” said Mackie. There are many reasons to run and having fun is paramount to Mackie.
Mackie presented an interactive audience questionnaire asking the 40-strong group: What brings you here? Twenty-two per cent of the group chose “to meet the attractive guy on the poster.” Cheeky bunch. The rest of the group had a distance goal in mind.
Running has also fueled Mackie’s educational goals. Currently a master’s student in the School of English and Theatre Studies, his research focuses on narratives of running, running as performance and how running builds community.
Mackie loves technology and uses a free app to log the date, time, and distance of his runs. “I’m turned on by a good graph,” joked Mackie.
Running has also provided him with some interesting stories. He swears Niagara’s annual Chocolate Race has chocolate-dipped strawberries and pretzels for runners, right alongside the route’s water stations.
Zombies? Another app. Instead of running with music on your iPod, you can download the Zombies, Run! app that turns exercising into a game. There are lots of reasons to run.
While on a family visit to Hawaii, Mackie literally ran into U.S. secret service men while running on the beach. Ignoring a person setting up a huge camera in the sand, he continued along his route. Eventually, he came upon two men-in-black, eyeing him through their sunglasses.
“One of them give me the hand clap and one of these [a turn-around motion with his fingers], and I thought, oh he has a gun,” he said. Later his relatives informed him the Obama family compound was located just down the beach and the president happened to be in town.
The free Learn to Run program begins April 8, and is open to all University faculty and staff. Participants meet at noon outside the John T. Powell building on Mondays and Wednesdays for 12 weeks and at the end of three months, will be able to run five kilometers. Maybe stressed out students can find solace in some healthy exercise while also having fun.
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