Any runner who has taken a Running Room clinic knows that within the first couple of weeks, sometime around the “shoe talk,” there is a clinic night when we are invited to bring a buddy along to check out the clinic and to take an opportunity to run with a group. Last April Paul Schofield was one of those buddies, and instantly fell in love with the sport. “I enjoyed myself so much that night that I joined the clinic,” says Paul. “The coaches were terrific and fun, and the people were so nice.
Paul now runs three times a week and is starting a half marathon clinic to train for the Chilly Half next March in Burlington. “My short-term goal is to get into better physical condition in order to feel better mentally and physically,” says Paul. “I find it improves my energy level in a way that nothing else does.
“The idea of running in the winter is a huge challenge for me. I would never, ever have considered it before. It seems like such a fun — but do-able — challenge that I know I will be joyful when I accomplish it.”
While still relatively new to the sport, Paul dreams of running a full marathon in the future, but on a more practical note, he hopes that running will help him to get off of his blood pressure medication. “I had some blood pressure issues that I knew would be helped by running and it has paid off,” Paul said. “I’m turning 47 in January and it would be marvelous to get off them completely!”
It’s health that motivates Paul to pound the pavement, and among his favourite places to run in Toronto is the Martin Goodman Trail. “The waterfront is a lovely place to run,” says Paul. “ I also really enjoy going through the various neighbourhoods in Toronto — I love the architecture and it’s great to run through the built environment. You can see a whole swath of the city in a single run, which makes the city seem smaller somehow.”
One such memorable experience found Paul and his friends out on a morning run. They found themselves on Yonge Street before the Santa Clause Parade started. “We came upon the deafening sirens of a police escort accompanying a yellow school bus full of CLOWNS being transported to the parade route,” Paul recalls. “ They all looked out at us and waved manically. It suddenly brought back every childhood fear of clowns and made a lot of us shiver with revulsion! The whole image of a school bus full of clowns waving will be etched in my memory forever.”
In the nine months Paul has been running, he has completed three races: The Beaches Jazz Tune-Up 5km (29:14), the Longboat Toronto Island 10km (57:43), and the Niagara Falls International Marathon 10 km (55:59).
While the races are fun, Paul really loves running for the sense of freedom it has given him. “I get such a sense of liberation and exhilaration when I run that it enables me to look at my life in a more empowered way. I have a stronger sense of control over my life and that anything is possible,” he says. “My sense of accomplishment has lifted my spirits immeasurably and I feel I can improve myself in ways that I didn’t think were possible. It gives me a sense of perspective on things.
“I has also made me feel healthier and sexier!”