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Supporter Spotlight: Mary Dube

ICYMI: Fast and Female and Girls & Women In Motion have partnered up since April 2023 to create a women’s-only run/walk club! The club, Built To Run, has allowed us to connect with different individuals all across Scarborough, to meet twice weekly for an evening of socializing, movement, and snacks! During this time, we got the opportunity to meet an amazing individual named Mary. Mary has been at every single run club meetup since April and has been nothing but an inspiration to not only the Fast and Female staff but also to all the individuals she has met along the way. We had the opportunity to speak to Mary about how she got into running and her experience with the Built To Run Crew! 

Could you tell us about your running history?  

Short story:  I started running 15 years ago to keep healthy. 

Long story: My father was in his 70’s and very healthy. I was turning 40, we had a conversation about aging gracefully, and he recommended that I should improve my fitness. I joined a boot camp that met 3 times a week in Thomson Park in Scarborough! Met some amazing people, learned how to do a Burpee, and I’ve never looked back!

Have you always been a runner?  No. I was never really interested in sports.

How’d you get into running? I started running as my fitness increased to challenge myself.  My first race was a 10km in High Park, and I was hooked. Signed up for the 5km Zoo Run and then Toronto Women’s Half in Sunnybrook Park. Ran this with an amazing friend that was always there to support me – we had never run further than 16 km. During the race we stopped at the 16 km marker, gave each other a big hug and said, “let’s run a 5k”.    

Why do you run? I run for my health, both physical and mental.  

What is your biggest running accomplishment? In 2022, I trained for and ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon! I include the TRAINING as part of the accomplishment because it is a commitment to run this distance. First and foremost, you must believe you can do it, then put in the work and on race day celebrate your accomplishment!

How did you find out about Built to Run? I discovered Built to Run through a post on the Scarborough 5k Instagram account. I ran the Scarborough 5k in 2022 and when I saw that Built to Run was gathering to make a space for women in Scarborough to come together, I reached out to see how I could support.

Have you ever been a part of a running club before? If so, how did you think BTR went in comparison to the other clubs you have been a part of? Yes, I joined the BlackToe Run Club in 2019. I really wanted to run a marathon and felt that joining a club would help to motivate me.  Both clubs are made up of amazing people supporting one another to achieve their goals. They can be anything from getting outside and enjoying our parks and waterfront to running marathons!

List a few things that you felt were impactful from BTR 

  • Community Building – BTR brought together a group of women of all ages for the common purpose of moving their bodies.
  • Setting & Achieving Personal Goals – for many members of BTR this was their first running event.  
  • Discovering Scarborough – we have so many beautiful trails and paths in Scarborough that are easily accessible by foot or by car. 

Would you recommend BTR to others? Absolutely!

What was your favourite part of BTR? Meeting new people and working together to achieve our goals.

If you could use one word to describe the BTR club, what would it be? Empowering

If you had some advice to give to women who wanted to start running but didn’t know where to start, what would it be? You could be like me and just sign up for a race and see where it leads you, or start gradually with a run/walk routine 2-3 times a week is a great place to start. Look for groups in your community to join. Don’t be discouraged. We all start somewhere, and most important, any movement is good movement for your mind and body!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about BTR, being a part of this community or running in general? Some days running comes easy, and some days you will question your choices, but at the end of your run, you should always be proud of yourself!  The BTR team is dedicated to community building. Come alone or bring friends and join us on Monday and Thursday evenings at the UTSC soccer fields. All levels are welcome.

From Built To Run and the Fast and Female community, we just want to thank Mary so much for her continued support, her ongoing positive attitude at every single run club meetup, and her overall dedication to Built To Run – she truly is an inspiration!