Toronto Runner: Sylvie Desroches

This post kicks off what I hope to be an on going series that will profile the amazing and diverse community of runners in Toronto. It will consist of one post a week that will feature an individual runner – how they started running, their goals, and an assortment of other interesting facts about them. If you or someone you know would like to be featured in a future installment of this series, please drop me an e-mail at mattradford at me dot com.

Sylvie Desroches

Sylvie1Eleven years ago, and at the end of a bad relationship, Sylvie looked to running as a way to claim independence and to ignite passion in her life. Life circumstances had other plans and she found herself leaving the relationship, relocating and rebuilding her life. Ten years later, she took the plunge into the world of running by signing up for a Learn to Run clinic at her local Running Room. “Friends had told me that they had registered and so I jumped at the chance,” she recalls. “Of course, the bottle of wine I had consumed might have had something to do with it.”

June 27 drag queen-1

Sylvie dressed up for the Toronto Pride and Remembrance 5km run on June 27, 2009

This past year, Sylvie ran the Chilly Half as her first half-marathon (2:18), then the Toronto Women’s Half (2:09), the Marathon Oasis de Montreal Half (2:17), and finished her season with the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon (2:13). “One of the most memorable running moments was definitely Montreal,” Sylvie recalls. “Seeing the Olympic Stadium in distance — I got chocked up seeing it so close and knowing that there was only 6k to go — it gave me a huge burst of energy.”

When not training for an event, Sylvie enjoys mixing up running with friends and running alone. “In true Libra form, I enjoy both. I prefer to run alone for my LSD runs because I like to keep it slow. But for speed work and hills, I really enjoy running with friends.”

9629_263590425390_64766539..Sunday mornings you can often find Sylvie running on the new Martin Goodman Trail, one of her favourites in Toronto. “It’s really beautiful, wide and busy,” says Sylvie. “There are always lots of runners and cyclists, so you’re never completely on your own. It’s also relatively flat with just one tiny hill and the best part is running so close to the lake.”

At 51, Sylvie is not short on running goals. While not looking to achieve a specific time goal, she has her eyes on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, as well as taking her running international to marathons in France, Chicago, Washington and running the Nike San Francisco Women’s Marathon.

“But right now, I’m taking it easy,” says Sylvie. “I will start my training in January for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon at the end of May, and will probably follow the Running Room training schedule or may even try the Hal Higdon’s.”

In addition to her own training, Sylvie has also helped others to discover their love of running through coaching several clinics through the Running Room, including the Learn to Run clinic that was her introduction to the sport.

When asked what running means to her and how it has impacted her life, Sylvie said, “the one word that keeps coming to mind is ‘everything’. Truly everything. It saved my sanity, helped me deal with an extremely difficult part of my life. It has made me a better and stronger person with the knowledge that I can run races and do well — not compared to others, but to myself. It’s a huge boost to know that I can do what only one per cent of the population does. I’m no longer just floating through life – I’ve found my passion.”

Sylvie has also found a community – membership in a group of people who share that passion. “I can go to any city and find a running group and voila, instant acceptance,” says Sylvie. “I don’t need credentials, reputation, or anything else. I just need to be me.”

Quick facts:

Favourite Shoe: Asics 2140

Favourite Equipment: Sugoi jacket and Body Glide

Favourite thing about running Toronto: People

Motivation: training for an event

E-mail Sig: “Determination is what is left when motivation is gone.”

Sylvie’s Top three running tracks:

Spiritual High Part I, II, and III by Moodswings

Don’t Say Anything by Nacho Sotomayer (Buddha Bar 3)

The Drill by Paolo Bolognesi Remix

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5 responses to “Toronto Runner: Sylvie Desroches

  1. It’s very inspiring to see someone who loves running so much!

    I don’t know if you know how much you motivate others by coaching, and by being an example.

  2. I loved this post! What a great idea, Matt!

  3. What a great article Matt! You write very well and really captured the essence of what I said. Thank you again for thinking of me.

    Karen, aww… thank you, I really enjoy coaching. I think I would have made a good mother :)

  4. ps: look at them legs! I have Aestus to thank for this fabulous photo.

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