Meet Jennifer, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Kitsilano Community Centre. Jenn ran her first marathon in Walt Disney World, Florida when she was a 19 year old “Cast Member” at Epcot, and was hooked; she has since run 7 full, about twice as many halfs, and countless other runs. Her current goal is to reach that magical point when her age bracket will cooperate with her finishing time, allowing her to qualify for Boston (in 25 years or so ;).
Jenn is a mom of two (one and a half, and three years old) and will be running the BMO Vancouver Marathon this year – her first full marathon since having her kids!
Jennifer loves to encourage people in their running goals, and is inspired by every single person who sets out to cross the finish line. Find Jenn on twitter at @ruffelles.
1. RUNVAN: Take us back to the first time you ran in the Vancouver Marathon, Half Marathon, 8KM, Granville Island Turkey Trot, Fall Classic or your first race. What was it like? How long ago was it? What do you think has changed since then in the Vancouver running scene?
My first Vancouver Marathon was 2009- I had moved to Vancouver (from southern Ontario) about 6 months before hand. I remember it was a very warm day, and I wondered where this “moderate temperature” I had heard so much about was. That was on the old course… I think one of the major changes on the Vancouver running scene is the full realization of the opportunity to establish truly beautiful, destination runs here. Runs here are attracting people from all over the world!
2. RV: Name a few of your favourite places to run in Vancouver. Why do they stand out for you?
I’m a Kits girl, and I’m pretty attached to the Seawall. For short runs, I’ll head toward Jericho, and longer runs take me around False Creek, through Yaletown, into Stanley Park. What I love about the SeaWall is that not only is it beautiful, but it’s always bustling, all year round. Other people’s energy motivates me to keep moving.
3. RV: Running is a great way to see the world. Of all the places you’ve traveled to outside of Vancouver, whether it be for competition or for pleasure, which was your favourite spot to run in and why?
I actually really enjoy the Ottawa marathon. Nice and flat, along the Rideau (which is absolutely gorgeous)- and a great sense of community at the events all weekend.
4. RV: What is your pre-race routine?
I still get pre-race jitters. I find a stretching spot as close to a port-a-potty that I can hang out without looking too creepy, turn up my tunes, and visualize the mile markers going by. I often find myself speaking with people who are running their first long distance – I tell them they will love it (and remind myself the same thing).
5. RV: Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a parent, coach, or mentor about running? OR got your own advice? Share it with us!
omg. best advice ever (from the coach at a Running Room Marathon clinic): DONT use a marathon to try out new gear… I ignored this, to my own peril; things rub, bruise, bounce and blister in ways that will blow your mind with their randomness. Best to get that stuff worked out in advance. Also, enjoy it… really be grateful. So much about the inherent qualities of running are indicators of massive strength and joy in so many ways. Take a moment to breathe it in.