Flint Churchill is running the half marathon this year at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon as part of Team CBC. Family, friends and a local Yarmouth running club encouraged Flint to begin running at almost 60 years of age. This will be his second year as a member of Team CBC.
Q: How did you get involved in running?
A: If you'll pardon the pun, it "runs" in the family. My brother, Freeman, trained Don Connolly and Liz Logan for a previous Blue Nose marathon and was one of the top runners in Eastern Canada in the late 60s and 70s and is now pedorthist in downtown Halifax. He was after me for years to run saying that I would be good because of my build. I was involved in curling and volleyball in the winter months and golf in the summers. I didn't want to take the time to run - I didn't see the point. Besides, I thought I had to live up to Freeman's reputation. More than 35 years passed and, as I was nearly 60 years old in 2009, I decided that I needed to get back into better physical condition.
A run club was starting up at the adjoining store where I was working in Yarmouth and I jumped at the chance. I finished the 10 week course put on by Runner Attic in Yarmouth which is where I now work. Much thanks to Mike and Liz Walker who coached the Run Club. They were extremely encouraging. Many thanks as well to the group at Runner's Attic and Hamilton's Fine Clothing in Yarmouth for their encouragement and support: Donnie, Mark, Elaine, Erica, and John.
Q: Is this your first time running in a distance event?
A: No, this is actually my fifth half marathon, my third Blue Nose, and I have run the St. Andrew's half marathon in Middleton twice. My best time is 2:06. I am NOT a speedster.
Q: Have you ever run a marathon/half marathon/10K/5K before? What is your training routine?
A: I have run many other races of varying distances: 5K, 8K, and 10K. My first was the Sheila Poole 10K road race here in Yarmouth only weeks after finishing the run club training in 2009. For the Blue Nose I usually start running in mid to late January. If the weather isn't great to run outdoors, I run on a treadmill at a local gym. I much prefer to run outdoors, even if it's below 0 degrees. If you're dressed properly, it's quite comfortable.
I begin with short distances at first (5K or 6K) for the first few weeks, three or four times a week. As the weeks proceed I extend my distance and run three times a week as they increase. I'm doing some speed work, intervals, and tempo runs as well - all relative. Like I said, for me, "speed" is a relative term.
Q: Is this your first Blue Nose experience?
A: This is my third Blue Nose. I ran the first two by myself, but this year I have a "ringer" who will help to pace me as he did in my first Middleton marathon in 2009. Wade Cleveland is also on Team CBC...we shall see!
Q: What challenges are you facing in your training on the way to the Blue Nose?
A: Starting the training so early in the year means there are weather concerns. Even if I start out in fair weather, I know that snow can start and cover the ground and I can't see where my footfalls are and that can lead to rolling an ankle. At 61 I don't heal as fast as I used to. That's the other big concern I have: staying injury free. So far so good!
Q: They say that reaching the finish line at a race is an enormous feeling of accomplishment after all your hard work. Can you describe that feeling crossing the line and what is means fulfilling a personal goal running a race?
A: It certainly is!! My first Blue Nose, in 2010, was a difficult one. I had trained for the winter months, mostly outdoors, and even in the spring it remained in the single digits temperature wise. Race day arrived and not only was it quite warm, it was warmer than was expected or hoped for. I got caught up in the excitement of thousands of runners at the start line and ran my first 5K in 25 minutes. By the time I realized my error, combined with the rapidly rising temperature; I had hit Point Pleasant Park and was done in. The last half was hard and the last 2K were the worst. I was never so happy to see the finish line. Having said that, I learned a lot during that race.
Q: Why did you join Team CBC?
A: I've been having breakfast with Don and Liz, and now Louise, for a very long time. I even remember "Trigger". When Don mentioned one morning in early 2010 that there was going to be a Team CBC and that I had the possibility of having my entry fee looked after, I grabbed the opportunity. It would be like running with an extended family. I know all the names as voices not so much as faces, but that is changing now as well. I see many faces of the voices I've heard on CBC News Nova Scotia at 6. It was a fun time last year and I am really looking forward to it again this year.