The Learn to Run Clinic 2023 is back and could again give participants a chance to compete in the Oceanside Running Club Association's Mother's Day Run in 2023. (PQB News file photo)

Learn to Run Clinic is back in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Event is open to beginners and former runners

For those looking for a good to get in shape as their New Year’s resolution, they can try running.

After having been cancelled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oceanside Running Club Association’s popular annual Learn to Run Clinic is back.

Organizer and instructor Doug Brown said they’re looking forward to holding the clinic again, which before it was interrupted by the pandemic attracted close to 90 runners, a record number for the program.

“We’re ready to give it a go again,” said Brown. “We don’t know what the interest level is going to be. We’ve had a couple of people asked about in the last two years. We are hoping to get around 50-plus participants. We will be happy with that.”

The 15-week course is for adults 19 years or older and is open to beginners, former runners, and to those runners who are returning to the sport from injury.

Brown said the clinic is a gentle, safe and fun training program, which combines walking and running. The program will focus on building endurance, finding your stride and gradually increasing to 30-45 minutes of running continuously over the course of 15 weeks.

The clinic has had many graduates that continued on and has become avid runners. Among them is Parksville Coun. Mary Beil, who took part in the 2019 Learn to Run Program. She first saw the clinic announcement in the PQB News and decided to register.

READ MORE: Clinic helps retired Parksville educator return to running

“It would fit my New Year’s resolution to get out, get active, and get in better shape,” recalled Beil, who used to run but was curtailed by an injury. “It was a wee bit intimidating at times but I was determined to stick with it. I sometimes felt sluggish and out of breath but persistence paid off. It was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.”

At the end of the program, Beil challenged herself and ran the popular Mother’s Day Run, organized by ORCA every year.

“I was surprised to learn I had placed first in my division,” said Beil. “This further spurred me on to continue with the running and when our coach offered to lead a Learn to Run Longer group, I kept it up. I went on to run the Victoria half-marathon, which was something I had previously only dreamed of doing. It has been amazing on so many levels. There’s a great feeling that comes when you have pushed yourself, are sweaty and tired, and at the same time, energized.”

Another great benefit that Beil said she derived from the clinic was gaining running buddies in ORCA.

“I now count them as friends,” she said.

Registration for the 15-week course will open on Jan. 1. The clinic will start Feb. 2, every Thursday, approximately from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and will take place at various locations in Parksville Qualicum Beach. The first six sessions will be start at the Craig Street Commons (the former Parksville Elementary School), on 330 Craig St. in Parksville. The clinic will be held unless conditions are snowy and icy.

The fee to join is $45 and that will include a 2023 ORCA membership. In the past, the registration feel also includes automatic entry to the five-kilometre segment of the Mother’s Day Run to give participants an opportunity to test their hard-earned running ability.

Brown said they are aiming to stage the Mother’s Day Run but are still waiting for their permits to be approved. Once that has been attained, all participants in the clinic will be entered in the race.

There will be a change in the venue of the popular walk-run event. It will be moved to another location in Qualicum Beach. In the past it was always held in Parksville. Brown said they’re still working on it and will make an announcement later.

Those seeking more information on the Learn to Run Clinic 2023, you can contact Brown at 250-248-8342 or email at learntorun@orcarunning.ca

To learn more about ORCA, you can visit their website at https://orcarunning.ca/

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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