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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Leduc

Runner's Spotlight: Celebrating Our Club's Inspirational Members. Meet Tara

Updated: Jun 22

Welcome to our Runner's Spotlight, where we celebrate the dedication, achievements, and inspiring journey of one outstanding individual in the Russell Run Club. Each month, we spotlight a member who embodies the spirit of our community through their passion for running, commitment to personal growth, and contributions to the club. Join us as we delve into the story of Tara-Lynn, our June 2024 Member of the Month, and discover what makes her a true inspiration to us all.


Tara running the 1/2 Marathon at the 2024 St. Lawrence Marathon

Tara has been with the club since the summer of 2022, when she joined our Learn (or Return) to Run program. Since then, she has progressed through our clinic and successfully ran a half marathon last spring. Tara embodies our club's values by serving as a Run Lead for our Clinics and Group Runs. She encourages and supports new and returning runners by sharing her own inspiring story. Tara's journey exemplifies patience, consistency, and the importance of leveraging the support of her coach, healthcare professionals, and fellow members. It has brought her back from a prolonged injury to becoming a strong, confident runner.


How long have you been running?

I have been running on and off since I was 29 years old. I am now 44 so approximately 15 years. During that period, I had an 8-year gap due to an on-and-off plantar fasciitis injury.


Why did you start running?

I promised myself that if I got through the medical issues at the age of 28, I would prioritize myself. I was also 230 lbs - severely overweight. I was not happy with myself. I decided if I got my health under control, I would do something about the weight I had put on for so many years. 


At 28, I had a partial hysterectomy. My daughter was four. I had no energy for her, but I wanted her to have a happy, healthy mom. I wanted to be a role model for her. My parents were smokers and never exercised. I had never really exercised in my life. It was not encouraged when I was younger. I didn't even play sports except bowling.


So, where did I start after healing from my surgery? During the winter, I started with the Nintendo Wii. I would run up and down the hallway in my house with the sports game's running module.


When March hit, I decided to go outside and try running from stop sign to stop sign, then from street to street. I had small goals throughout my run, and I didn't have a running watch. 


I'll never forget the day I ran quite a distance without taking a break. When I got home, I got in my car and drove the route I had just run. I looked at the mileage on the odometer to see how far I had gone. It was my first longer run—3.2 kilometres. I was so proud of myself.


Starting with small goals is where it all began. Then I ran my first 5-kilometer run with a friend down the street who encouraged me to keep going. I remember telling him "I hate you and I love you at the same time". I was drenched in sweat, red-faced, gasping for air, but I had hit a goal that I wanted to hit.


I did it for me first! That's where I found the love for running. I realized that this time was for me. I did not think about work or the stresses in my life. It was time not to think, listen to the music and take in the moments (a sunrise, a sunset, nature). What motivates me to keep running is that it makes me feel good about myself, and it is my stress reliever.


Focused at the 2023 Russell Run 10 km

Any achievements you want to share?

My biggest achievement is that I keep on going. In the last two years, I have found my love for running again.


I have run five half marathons - my most recent one was in April of this year, The St. Lawrence Marathon. When I think about personal records, it’s not something I talk about, but I do know them. My fastest 5K was 25 minutes, my fastest 10K was 55 minutes, and my fastest half marathon was 1:58 minutes.


Yeah! Here we go at the St. Lawrence 1/2 Marathon

I haven't run a marathon yet, but I say "yet" because it's a long-term goal of mine. I haven't decided when and where because right now, it's just about my health and staying active.

What are you training for right now?

The Commanders Challenge at the Army Run this September. This is a 5 km run. Then you come back to start line and do a 21.1 km run. A total of 26.1 kilometers.


Tara & her husband Mike at the 2023 Army Run

What is your training routine?

I run six days a week. It is my choice to run that often. I do have a running coach, Michelle Leduc. I do what she tells me to do, but my ultimate goal when I started with the Club two years ago was to go back to where I was when I was 29. I run 10 km four days a week, and I do strength training two days a week.


What is your favourite running route?

My favourite running route is the one I do with the friends who grew from this club. We call it the "Tara Loop".  It is a 6 km route from my house and through the town of Russell.


Do you have any tips and advice?

For people starting out running or wanting to get back into it, start with small goals, the right pair of running shoes and a routine. Then you can do anything.


I spend more money on running shoes than I ever did on dress shoes (I work in an office environment). I won't tell you how much because you might scare people away, but I buy at least two pairs of shoes per year from a reputable company. Usually, it's the same ones because those are the brands that work for me (Men’s Brooks, as I have a wide foot).


They say habits take six weeks to form.  Finding running and creating it as a habit was my first step. After I created the habit I was accomplishing my small goals (which were written down).


Tara was not able to participate in the 2023 Russell Run. But that didn't stop her from running the route at 6:00 AM before the race

I did have some setbacks from my plantar fasciitis. I worked with Michelle Leduc from Russell Run Club; Richelle Weeks, a physiotherapist; and Dr. Emily, a chiropractor from the Russell Health Collective. Between all these specialists, listening to my body and doing the work that was provided to me (stretches and strength training) - I am stronger than ever. I prioritized myself first during these runs and it makes me feel good. I started my day in a very positive way (3 days a week I run at 5:30 am)


What do you enjoy most about being a member of the running club?

Joining the Russell Run Club two years ago was the best decision I ever made. Over the eight years of injury, I kept trying to go back to working out. I would go to CrossFit and different types of gyms, stick to it for a bit, and then injure myself. Ten steps backward.


What I love most about the Club is the feeling of community. I meet new people from the area who are like-minded. We all have goals in mind, and we share them with each other. I've made some very strong and special friendships along the way.


What I love most about the Club is the feeling of community I meet new people from the area who are like-minded.

Who motivates you?

Jen. If you haven't met her - you must. She gave a nickname for a group of us when we first started in the Club. I can't put it in this blog, but you can ask her. Jen helped me through my journey of coming back to running. We started with a one-minute run and a one-minute walk and worked up to 10 minutes of running continuously. Then I injured myself again and went back to one-and-ones.  Jen did not have a problem running with me on whatever plan I was on. She kept me motivated and accountable. I want to encourage and help others on their journey the way Jen helped me.


Tara & Jen


Do you have any words of advice?

We all start somewhere. There is no judgment, only support and friendship.

There is no judgment, only support and friendship.

Start with routine and make yourself a priority. Don’t skip the run unless you have to. Most of all – have fun and be in the moment!


If you see me at the Club or in Russell, running, say “hi”. For those who know me, you know I love to talk. If you're gonna run with me chances are I will talk your ear off.

 

Do you have a story to tell or want us to learn a little more about yourself and your running/fitness journey? We are looking for members to be profiled in upcoming newsletters and our blog page. Sharing your story can be a great source of motivation for others.


If you are interested reach out to us info@russellrunclub.ca 

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