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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

Most Read