This was copied from the Prairie Inn Harriers Scrapbook
Fun Running's the Name of the Game
By Max Low, Victoria Times
January 22, 1977
Run for your life! That's what the generously-proportioned young lady's tee-shirt read, if you followed the contours. And more and more health-conscious North Americans are taking that advice.
Taking a lead from the Swedes, the Danes and the Germans, Canadians now are opening their car doors more often and exercising their legs.
Just look at the annual Thetis Lake Relays last Sunday. There were 500 people, more than twice as many as last year, taking part in the runs through the spectacular scenery around the lake, and they weren't all athletes.
A good many of them, in fact, were joggers and fitness freaks out to enjoy the "recreational run" making its appearance on the program for the first time.
There I met people like 50-year-old Borg Haagensen and his family. Borg and his 40-year-old wife Jytte came to Canada 21 years ago from Denmark. They and their daughter Tina, 13, and son Peter, 11, made up their own four-member team, for the recreational run. In that one, each runner guessed what his own time would be for the one-and-a-half-mile lap and the nearest combined time to the estimated figure was the winning team. So it wasn't a "guts out" event like the other races, as my running friends explained.
|The running Haagensens: Jytte, Tina, Peter and Borg - parents need it, too|
But for the Haagensens running isn't a once-a-year shot. As a family, they run and ride their bicycles together a lot and they have even constructed a running track around their home on West Saanich Road. "You go 15 times around and you've done a mile," Jytte said with a smile. "There are floodlights from the house, so if you don't have time in the day you can run at night."
Borg was disappointed in the number of parents who dropped their children off at Thetis Lake for the run and came back for them later. "I spoke to lots of parents as they were leaving and they wouldn't dream of going into it themselves," he said. "And, it's a pity because they need it more than the kids!"
Yet more and more parents are, in fact, joining their children to run. "Everywhere you look there are people running," Dave Weicker, one of the city's leading distance runners, told me. "I pass far more people on my morning runs now than I used to, and that's good."
|Gunner Shaw... It's infectious|
Bruce "Gunner" Shaw, who began running relatively late in life but now at 31 is one of the finest marathon men in Canada, said the growth in the sport has been phenomenal. Late in November, Gunner placed second in the City of Seattle Marathon (26 miles, 385 yards) and believe it or not, there were 1,100 runners in the field! He just missed out on an expenses-paid trip to the famous Boston Marathon in April. Only the winner got that.
"But that's nothing," said Gunner. "The same day there were 700 runners also in a nearby race in Portland. And they have races, shorter ones about seven or eight miles, in San Francisco that attract fields of around 7,000 or 8,000 runners each time. In California, they've gone wild on it." It's coming in Canada, too, maintained my running friends.
"We're no longer freaks," said Weicker. "When I went to high school, if you ran you were an oddball," said Shaw. "Now, hell, there are 100 kids in the high school races!"
Gunner Shaw has, in fact, often been looked on as a bit of an oddball by his friends and workmates. He runs 12 miles a day, and often more; has run to work from Metchosin when he lived there; used to leave his car at Goldstream and run in to the city when he lived for a while at Shawnigan Lake; occasionally runs the 10 miles in from his present home just off Keating Cross Road in Saanich to his job at Victoria Press; and while he was on the night shift earned the nickname "Phantom Runner" from bewildered motorists who had to look twice as they passed him fleeting through the snow or rain as he pounded the dark city streets. Yet he isn't an oddball. A fanatic, maybe, but Gunner says running is infectious.
His wife Catherine, Shaw points out, didn't run when he met her. They've been married two years and now she runs between three and five miles a day. "The fact she runs, too, has inspired some of her friends and now they're running as well," he said. "Once it gets you, you're hooked," Gunner explained. "It's a real addiction. You've got to keep running." "Right," agreed Weicker. "A few years ago, I had an operation and wasn't allowed to run for three months. Gradually I got worse and worse and by the third month I was unbearable — impossible to live with. I was snarling at everyone. I just had to get running again."
Well, excuse me folks. Just got to go out and get my daily fix... fresh air and knees up and all that!