Posted by: Jack Hope | Wednesday April 24, 2013

Over the Finish Line

Waiting with everyone in my wave to start the run. Took a while to get through.

Waiting with everyone in my wave to start the run. Took a while to get through.

Crossing the finishing line was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my entire life. Days afterwards I am still grappling for words to describe the sensation.

Joy, wonderful joy, I had forgotten you.

Waiting to go....

Waiting to go….

Last Sunday marked the end of a journey started 10 months ago when I found a running training program online having me run in 1 minute intervals and then walk in 1 minute intervals. For all of 20 minutes. Seems a world away now. How far we can come in a year when we put our minds to something.

Why the Sun Run? Why not a smaller local event that didn’t require 9 hours of driving to get to? Why go straight to a 10K event with 48,196 participants, the biggest 10K event in the world as my first running event?

I don’t think of ever adequately explained that before now so I will take a stab at it. There’s the obvious, of it being such a big and important civic event for my other hometown, participating in it giving me a chance to maintain some of that connection while I continue to (convalesce? recover? find new and imaginative ways to go mad?) back in Calgary.

But there was something else too. The seed of this idea was first planted at the Sun Run 2 years ago. I was just starting anti-depressants and I was walking home from something my friends had coerced me into going to, in an attempt to raise my spirits. I remember navigating through the huge mess and being annoyed and frustrated with it all that these people were causing a pedestrian traffic jam on a Sunday morning.

But I remember after pushing through and looking back at the queuing crowds of runners thinking that this was something I could never do. The walk component I could do, but at the age of 31 I was sure that running 10K was beyond me.

It was flat-out impossible, quite simply far outside my capabilities or any future ones I might discover.

The printed results the next day, note my legal first name, John.

The printed results, note my legal first name, John.

Flash forward 2 years and what a different place the world is. And by that I mean what a different mindset I have towards these things.

It is possible. It can be done. I did it.

After everything that I have been through, I needed this triumph and it is for me an unequivocal triumph. A final time of 61 minutes and 51 seconds. Almost achieving the original overly ambitious target I had set for a first run like this and far surpassing the more reasonable goal of 65 to 70 minutes.

Watching the cheery groups of joggers out and about this morning as I stumble towards Tim Horton’s for breakfast, I am dreading resuming training again later today.

Me just after crossing the finish line.

Me just after crossing the finish line.

But I can’t rest on my laurels either. I may have ended one journey but I have started something that isn’t wrapped up by crossing a finish line. So there’s still much more to come in my run against depression.

I am still formulating my next step but one thing is certain: you’re not going to see me miss a chance to start getting in some renewed training along Vancouver’s beaches.

One journey ends and another one is about to begin.



  1. hey Jack,
    haven’t seen you online in quite a while. Hope you are well and just to busy to post. I watched the N.Y. marathon today and thought of you and your running. Drop me a line sometime.

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