Langford resident Shannon Radford ties up her shoes outside the Frontrunners store on Goldstream Avenue

Competing in running events provides confidence boost

Supportive community helps Langford runner fall in love with sport

For many people who are becoming more active, running plays an important part of the transition to a healthier lifestyle.

When Shannon Radford decided to begin hitting the road to improve her fitness level, she had no idea of how it would change her life. As she moved from casual running with her husband, Barry, to competing in the Island Race Series, which wraps up this Sunday with the Sooke 10K, the Langford resident has gained more than simply just better health.

The encouragement and tips offered from veteran runners has boosted her confidence and helped give her a “can-do” attitude, such that her plan is to run 20 races this year, including six half-marathons.

“It definitely has turned my life around,” she said. “I had someone tell me that if you want to learn a lot and get better, try to do the Island Race Series.”

Radford, a married 38-year-old mother of two, is among a number of West Shore-based runners expected to take part in Sooke, the seventh event on the annual Series that includes races from Colwood to Courtenay.

It was after she completed a half-marathon in Iceland last summer – Barry ran the full marathon – that she started looking more seriously at running. Working at Frontrunners in Langford since last fall has kept the activity front of mind as well, in terms of products and coming into contact with people for whom running is a vital part of their lifestyle.

“I just feel so lucky to be part of this group,” she said. “My running style has changed and people are just so supportive. I’m kind of overwhelmed by the support of the running community.”

Sunday’s race begins and ends at Edward Milne secondary, 6218 Sooke Rd. Start time is 11 a.m., but a 10:30 start is offered for walkers and slower runners. Sooke 10K race director Ken Chew said Tuesday that about 420 people have registered for the race and more were expected later this week. The online deadline for signups is 6 p.m. today (April 1) at ($30 adults, $25 students), while race-day registration is $40.

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