For anybody interested in learning how to run, for either personal health and fitness or just for fun, the Oceanside Running Club Association is again offering its Learn to Run program starting on Feb. 7.
The annual ORCA program is open to all ages and all ability levels. Participants don’t have to be elite runners or even want to race. The program runs through May 9 and is designed to coincide with — and prepare runners to take part in — the annual Oceanside Mother’s Day 5K/10K run and walk.
The head of the program, Doug Brown, said people often have the wrong impression when they hear the word ‘running’ in conjunction with a program.
“Some people have visions of Usain Bolt doing the 100 metres or something,” said Brown. “That’s not what this is all about.”
Brown said organizers and coaches are providing a starting point for people who have been thinking of taking up running to stay in shape. As well, it offers people who have done some running in the past, but who have given it up, an opportunity to re-learn the sport.
The program gently introduces prospective runners by combining walking with running. Gradually, over the 14-week period to May 9, more and more running is incorporated into the routine.
Brown said that, as with all sports, repetition is the key to getting comfortable with running. That’s going to take time and commitment.
“You have to be prepared to put in the time to this program, three times a week, to ensure you get the benefit from it,” he said. “You just can’t show up every Wednesday and think you’d be able to do the run. You’ve got to do the work.”
The group will meet every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at various locations, where participants will be introduced to set routines and exercises that they eventually will be expected to repeat on their own.
“They would do twice more the routine we did on that particular Wednesday night,” said Brown. “What we encourage is they find other members in the group they can do it with. There’s strength in numbers. The commitment always comes in numbers rather than individually.”
As an added incentive, he said, members are automatically entered to take part in the Oceanside Mother’s Day 5K run/walk in Parksville.
Brown took over the reins of the program from clinic founder Rod Bailey two years ago. He brought with him 15 years of experience being involved in learn-to-run programs on the Mainland. Bailey still helps out, along with Maureen Forscutt, who graduated from the 2016 Learn to Run Program.
Anyone wishing to register for the program can contact Brown at 250-248-8342 or email dougB2016@telus.net.