Streaking to stay young

No matter what the weather, Paul Cowley keeps on running. Bone-chilling temperatures. Knee-deep snow. Ice-laden trails. My co-worker has weathered whatever conditions Mother Nature threw his way.

No matter what the weather, Paul Cowley keeps on running.

Bone-chilling temperatures. Knee-deep snow. Ice-laden trails.

My co-worker has weathered whatever conditions Mother Nature threw his way.

Paul is nearing the finish line of his third daily running streak hosted by Runner’s World magazine.

The challenge is to run one mile every day starting on American Thanksgiving (Nov.26) and ending on New Year’s Day for a total of 37 days of consecutive running.

The “on again, off again” runner started the streak in 2013 after a co-worker suggested he give it a go.

With a marathon and two half-marathons under his belt, Paul tells me he is not one of those people who lives to run.

“It takes a lot of willpower for me to run,” he says. “It’s not something I immediately consider a fun activity. Hockey, I think is loads of fun. Running is not in the same category.”

So why do a running streak in the dead of winter?

“Partly to challenge myself and largely as a way to stay in shape because I have a very sedentary job,” he says.

“I have read a lot about health. It’s clear that keeping moving is really the fountain of youth.”

The most memorable runs were always the coldest because they were the ones that took the most willpower.

His annual streaking started in the winter of 2013, the year when most of the province was hammered with record snowfalls.

“That first year was super cold and super snowy,” he remembers. “Even by Central Alberta standards it was a brutal stretch. The coldest day I ran -36C without the windchill. It was a terrible winter. It was snowing all the time.”

Yet the veteran reporter and father of two kept streaking.

Once he started running outdoors, Paul was determined to keep the entire streak alive outside. Not once did the 50-year-old step onto the track at the Collicutt Centre.

“That became the challenge,” he said. “The fun part became forcing myself to go out. No matter what the weather was like. No matter how deep the snow was. No matter how cold it was. I was running at least one mile.”

Squeezing in the runs particularly after a long day at work, a bad night’s rest or a night out on the town proved to be the real test.

There were times when Paul got his run in just before the clock hit midnight.

“I remember the first year, one of the coldest runs I did was after spending all night at a friend’s house party,” he said. “I ran at 20 to 12. It was minus 35 or something. I knew I had to get my mile in. I was determined to get a mile in. It was so cold. “

But it is getting easier.

He’s wrestled some IT band issues over the years and so far he’s winning the battle.

“That first year became a point of personal pride,” he said. “I think turning 50 has made me think a lot about how the next 20 or 30 years are going to be. That’s the only way to stay young is to keep moving.”

He said a running streak can be for anyone – young or old or those coming off injuries.

The key, he says, is not to be a slave to your Garmin and to keep it fun.

“The challenge becomes getting out instead of trying to beat your previous fastest mile or whatever,” he said. “For the running streak as long as you get out, you have met your challenge.”


• • • •


Next up in #RWR I will share my 12 running resolutions for 2016. Do you have a resolution? You could be featured in my next column.

Send your column ideas, photos and stories to Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read