Toronto Runner: Kathryn Mitchell

Kathryn holds her finisher's medal after completing the 2009 Chicago Marathon last October.

In 2004, Kathryn Michell took a Learn to Run clinic to prove to her running friends that the sport was not for her. As a goal of the clinic, she complete a 5k road race, which left her in a confusing spot — she had been bitten by the running bug.

“I never dreamt of running,” says Kathryn. “I hated running in high school, but it’s brought me the knowledge that I can indeed take on a challenge and step-by-step break it into the pieces that make it possible to complete.”

Typically running two-to-three times a week, Kathryn has been revving up her training to four to six in preparation for the Chilly Half Marathon this weekend and the Around the Bay 30k Road Race at the end of the month. She also has plans to run Nike’s women only marathon again this October in San Francisco.

“I love to travel. I was six or seven weeks old when my family moved from Canada to St. Lucia, and I was three-and-a-half when we moved back,” recalls Kathryn. “What better way to travel? Finding an event that mans something, signing up, and making it happen.

Kathryn took a dip in the Pacific Ocean after the 2009 Nike Women-only Marathon in San Francisco

This takes a bit of planning, but I try to pick the events I’m hoping to do for the upcoming year and figure out how I’ll be able to financially swing them. Seat sales, deals on hotels and paying for most of it before I actually get there make it all work.

Getting ready for many of the far-away events, Kathryn can be found running with friends all over the city. “I live near the Kay Gardiner Beltline trail and I love the surface of the trail and running through city, while staying in a park,” she says. “I also run a lot in Bloor West, and will often run the waterfront, Humber trails and High Park with others. There are just so many choices in Toronto.”

Kathryn’s running life and professional life got a lot closer in 2004, when she began working for the Beaches Running Room. She became the store manager of the High Park location in 2005, and eventually in 2008 moved to the Commerce Court location where she is today.

Often combining vacations and races, Kathryn is seen here at the 2008 Disney Half Marathon

In the future, Kathryn has her eyes set on more international runs, including the Dublin, London, Paris, and New York marathons, and the Rock’N’Roll series (which includes Arizona, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle and Virginia Beach).

Beyond the events, bling and sway, Kathryn has found that there are many un-quantifiable rewards to the sport. “Running has brought me new friendships. It’s taught me discipline and its rewards,” she says. “It’s let me know when I have slacked and allowed me to be more open through discussions during long runs.”


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