by: South Shore Now
In 2010, Doug Stephens was searching for a push to get back into the running scene. Now, he’s helping others make the push across the finish line across the world as a Joints In Motion trainer.
“I happened to be driving along, listening to the radio, when an ad for Joints In Motion came on,” said Mr. Stephens, a resident of Hebbs Cross. “It was a lucky moment. I had always wanted to do a fundraising run and combine my passion for running with a worthwhile event.”
Joints In Motion is a destination marathon program where participants fundraise in support of the Arthritis Society to take part in events around the world.
Mr. Stephens and his wife, Tracy, both signed up for the 2011 event in Dublin. They followed a weekly training schedule provided by the program’s trainers and weekends were often the stage for another fundraising event. They met new people, and raised nearly $13,000.
Having completed the half-marathon in Ireland that year, Mr. Stephens took up a new challenge in 2012. He joined Joints In Motion as a trainer, helping dozens of runners make their way through a journey similar to his own. It’s an experience that brings a different set of rewards than his time as a participant.
“As a participant, you have the personal race goals and the feeling that you are raising money for a great cause, and doing something good. As a trainer, I’m now seeing people reach their own goals – keeping them motivated, staying positive, providing advice when possible. You’re helping them get to their destination.”
That next destination is Tamarindo, Costa Rica, on September 21.
After weeks of training the participants, all with goals varying from walking five kilometres to running the full marathon, Mr. Stephens will help push the group to finish their race. That means likely running more than a full marathon himself – and more – until every last member of the team crosses the line.
“It’s a different type of training than when you are a participant,” Mr. Stephens said of his trainer’s routine. “You have to be able to train with everyone – some may be stronger or faster runners than you are, others may plan on walking a full marathon. In fact, one of the toughest things for me was walking that type of distance – it uses a different set of muscles, and it’s a different mentality than running.”
Mr. Stephens encourages anyone seeking a great challenge, or perhaps to see the world, to give Joints In Motion a try.
“It’s a great, two-fold program – you learn things about yourself, and at the same time you know the difference you are making with fundraising for research and awareness,” he said. “For me, it kept me in shape and motivated to continue running, and to stay on this path.”
Each year, Joints In Motion offers several destinations around the world. For more information on the destinations, the program, or how to get involved, visit https://www.jointsinmotion.ca.
The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal health charity, empowering the more than four million Canadians with arthritis to live their lives to the fullest by combating the effects of arthritis.
Over the last 65 years, the society has invested more than $180 million in arthritis research to develop better treatments and ultimately find a cure. In Nova Scotia alone, 210,000 people are currently battling arthritis, making it one of Nova Scotia’s most common chronic conditions.