Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Blessing of Running

I’ve been told that if you want to stop running, open a running store. Unfortunately I didn’t hear that until after we started down this road.

I can attest to the fact that this venture, to “motivate, support and supply” my running community, has been an interesting challenge that at times has made me forget the very reason that I wanted to start the venture. I’m in the habit of going the distance preparing for big events, and I think here of the mileage that I put in last year preparing for my first marathon. So when I started preparing for the launch of this new business, I thought that I could easily draw on the ‘muscle memory’ habits of my marathon preparation. But now when I reflect back and compare marathon training to the mileage that I put in over the last few months as we prepared to launch this company, the recent mileage getting the business going could draw on only a relatively small fraction of what I thought had become ingrained habits preparing for a marathon.

What changed? The sage manager of our Runner’s Mark store, Wendy O’Neill, strongly suggested to me that running has the effect of improving energy, clarity of thought and ultimately efficiency. Was she suggesting that I wasn’t efficient? Did she think that I was diverting time and energy to the business that could have been spent running? That I would profit from spending more time participating in my favourite activity and less worrying about possible business profits?

So I gradually became impatient with the thought that I could do better. But, sad to relate, I missed the first two legs of the local triple crown! These are three races of increasing distance run from early March to early May. The races, the Chilly Half Marathon of March 4, the 30k Around the Bay in Hamilton run 3 weeks later, and the Mississauga Marathon to be run May 6, together represent a challenge that I was sure that I would be routinely stepping up to. Cheering from the sidelines (a position that I had never imagined myself in), I watched my wife run the Chilly Half. I am proud of her accomplishment. But for me, had it come to this? On the sidelines? The Around the Bay was even worse. I wasn’t in Hamilton in time for the start of the race, and trying to get close to the finish line in order to cheer for my fellow runners proved impossible. I finally gave up and went home before cheering for a single athlete, without even having been on the sidelines.

This situation arose from my inability to find the time to continue to do the very thing for which I started this venture. Running is a wonderful activity that manages mood, reduces stress, elevates energy, helps to manage weight, improves heart health and, etc. So I slowly revised my schedule to including my favourite activity, running. Miraculously, I refound the time to run, and also to enjoy the craziness that must be natural in starting a new company.

Perhaps there is no better way to realize the benefits of running than by losing the opportunity. In a strange way, it was a blessing for me. I love running, and I’m proud to be able to share this love with fellow runners and soon-to-be runners. We as runners all share an excellent activity … and we should all remember to count the benefits, and the blessings. If you feel inclined, please share with us all the great things that running has delivered for you. I promise, we all want to know!

Carl Worrell
Proud Owner, Runner’s Mark 


  1. Hello Carl,

    Been to your store a few times and purchased a pair of shoes a few weeks ago. Your store looks great and Wendy was great to deal with.
    Just wanted to say congratulations and hope everything goes well for you and your store flourishes into what you wish.
    Looking forward to joining your running workshops sometime soon.
    Take care and wish you all the best.


    Yasmin Navid

  2. The person that told you that if you want to stop running, open a running store must have been very wise. ha ha it was me. Glad to hear you are running more, Wendy was right if you want to be more efficient with clarity of thought go for a run and be in the moment. That' what we tell all our teen runners in the Team UNBREAKABLE Teen Run Group. It helps you de-stress, not live in the past and think more about the now and less of the future. After all who wants to think about that looming hill for the next 5k? All the Best JK