Red Deer cop John Babbitt is not sure running has improved his ability to catch the bad guys.
“I am not going to go that far,” he laughed when I asked the question over a recent cup of coffee at a local café.
But the 25-year police veteran, said it certainly goes along way in whatever you do – the better fit you are, the better you perform at anything.
“This job is physical at times,” said John. “A lot of my job is behind the desk because I am a supervisor. I am not on the road as much as I would like to be but I still do things out there. It’s good to be in shape. I find it easier getting through the night shifts.”
Active all his life, John was a late-in-life runner. He grew up in Wallaceburg, Ont., where his passion was playing lacrosse.
Running was never a part of the fitness equation until his wife Dionne suggested they take up the sport in 2006.
John agreed it would be something positive to do together and keep them active.
The couple began running for fun and fitness until one day Dionne told her husband that she had signed them up for Woody’s half-marathon.
John said she was going to the Collicutt Centre regularly to run and people would always ask her what she was training for.
“One day she got tired of hearing that and I came home from work and she had signed us up for Woody’s half-marathon,” said John. “That’s where it started.”
(Dionne wasn’t feeling well when I met John for coffee otherwise I would have given her a high-five.)
The couple went on to run other half-marathons in Calgary and Edmonton that year.
The following year, John flipped the switch and told Dionne, “we’re running a marathon.”
John said they like the half-marathon distance because the training is more reasonable. Dionne also has a shift job as a dispatcher and the couple has four children. These days John is happy to be outside and enjoy the spring weather.
He’s a self-admitted fair weather runner who trains on the treadmill in the winter months.
“I really, really like running,” he said. “It’s become my form of exercise. As I got older, running up and down a lacrosse floor is getting tougher sprinting with the teenagers and younger players.”
A few pounds heavier and 11 years older, John has set his sight on beating his 1:45 half-marathon personal record in Edmonton in August.
He hopes the atmosphere and the adrenaline at Woody’s next month will be that extra push. John and Dionne are both signed up for the 10K.
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