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Athlete of the Week

AnnLiz Simpson from Ontario

April 15th, 2020
AnnLiz reached 1000 KM in less than 4 months. See how she did it!

MOVEMENT IS MY MEDICINE. I am a Doctor of Chiropractic, and this is something I try to inject into my daily practice with my patients!

How did you hear about A Great Canadian Running Challenge?

I was listening to Morning North CBC one day and I heard an interview with the organizer of this Challenge! It sounded like something I could do! (I had never actually counted the annual KMs I ran)

Did you walk, jog or run this challenge?

Running outside is my primary form of exercise. The odd time I would do some treadmill workouts, after strength training or if the weather was just too cold to be outside.

If you are a runner, tell us when you began to run and what motivated you to start running.

I started running in 1998 when all of a sudden, I became a single mom of three boys, under the age of 5 (with my oldest son having Down Syndrome). I was a self-employed health care professional, facing the parenting challenge… solo! I ran to clear my head and to give me the strength to get through the day.

I remember my best friend, who was also my doctor, saying to me: Remember the airplane demonstration? Then, I would hear: Mom! Put the oxygen mask on yourself so that you can then help your children!

These words stuck with me. If I wasn’t healthy, physically and mentally, then there would be no one there to take care of my boys! I also wanted to instill in them a lifestyle of keeping physically and mentally healthy (especially with my oldest son, as Down Syndrome individuals tend to have weight issues that can further exacerbate any heart conditions). Keeping him physically active also leads to greater inclusion, especially on the downhill ski slopes! To hear them talk today of their workouts, balanced with their workday/university studies, gives me such great joy! It is a way of life for them. I feel that I did my job as a mom!

How often do you walk, jog or run?

I run daily! My distances vary from day to day.

What was your greatest obstacle while aiming to reach 100KMs?

I didn’t find any obstacles to reaching this goal. I have a cut-off temperature of -28 degrees Celsius for outdoor running, and I think there were only two times that I had to go inside to the gym to run on the treadmill. If this had been last year, it would have been a different story with the extended periods of -35 degrees Celsius or the unbelievable dumps of snow that had fallen overnight!

How do you stay motivated and find the time to walk and run?

Reading stories of the other challengers certainly boosted my motivation!

I am also motivated to run as it empowers me. I know that I am a much better person when I can be outside and engage in regular physical activity. Something that I find helps, especially in the colder weather, is to go to bed half-dressed for your run. That way, you wake up (5:00 alarm) and are already in a warm baselayer. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t get out the door! Putting your running clothes into the dryer just before you jump into them also helps!

Raising three boys, very active ones, with swimming or piano lessons after school as well as school sports (basketball, football and soccer), I needed to have the ENERGY to keep pace with them. Winter weekends from December-April, they downhill ski raced competitively, and we would be on the ski hill every Saturday and Sunday all day.

That was probably my greatest motivation to run, as it was my time, my time to clear my head and my time to feel the stronger-my time to solve the world’s problems-my time to listen to my music-my time to BE!

What advice would you give someone to stay focused on reaching 1000 KM in 2020?

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are or how far you go, just getting your foot out the door to run, walk, or hike is the first step. The KMs will add up! You will feel so much better for having done it!


Great work AnnLiz and thank you for sharing a part of your story with us! We wish you the best of luck in reaching your 2020 goals!

You can follow AnnLiz’s progress on the new Leaderboard, and cheer her on as she reaches 3500 KMs in 2020!


7 thoughts on “AnnLiz Simpson”

  1. Well done. I am in awe of moms, single or with a partner who can care for the family, work outside the home and still find time to take care of themselves. Way to go AnnLiz! I like your idea of throwing clothes in the dryer before heading out. I’m a kind of a wuss so any motivation helps.

  2. Eleanor Sawatzky

    Ann Liz now I understand a lot better just how the boys get all their energy.. You are a fantastic Mom to these 3 now men..You as a family clearly have goals to reach and that is exactly what you are all doing.. Keep up the great work and make everyone proud..
    Take Care

  3. Carter Simpson

    Congratulations Mom Awesome Running First Place Gold Medal I am really Proud of my Best Mom Forever had my Life your Best Son Forever had your Life Carter Simpson

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