Nick Walker didn’t start running with a goal in mind.
He wanted to gain more fitness for soccer and have a little fun doing it.
At first, Walker pushed through the runs. But the more he ran, the more comfortable he felt.
“Running isn’t easy. It never really gets easy – you just get better,” said Walker, who is also co-owner of Frontrunners, a chain of Island running stores, and considered on the region’s top competitive runners.
Since those early running days more than 20 years ago, Walker, 32, has run competitively at local, provincial, national and international levels. Last fall, he won the GoodLife Victoria Marathon 8K road race and is a past winner of the Sooke River 10K.
On Jan. 21, Walker is the guest speaker at Sooke Trail and Road Runners’ Let’s Talk Running series at Edward Milne Community School, beginning at 7 p.m. His talk will centre on how running shaped his life, goal-setting and motivation. There will also be a Q&A.
Walker, who has run everything from a 3K race to ultramarathons (more than 50K), said Greater Victoria has the ideal running climate and the region is a hotbed for the sport in Canada.
He said springtime is one of the best times to begin a running program with many local races held including the ever-popular TC-10K in April and the Island Race Series.
“It’s really motivating when you go to these events because you see so many people that are just like you,” Walker said.
“With new runners I always say don’t worry about where you’re going just worry about each run as it comes.”
Sooke Trail and Road Runners, also known as STARR, is one of two running groups in Sooke.
The Jan. 21 seminar is designed to encourage running in Sooke, said president Mark Ziegler.
“We’re not trying to recruit new members or anything. It’s just to let people what’s going on locally, and get a boost in their running enthusiasm,” he said
“There is a strong running community in Sooke, but it’s kind of scattered.”
For both Ziegler and Walker, running provides different outlets, but they agree on one thing: running is about friendships and camaraderie.
“I’m not one to go out and run by myself,” Walker said. “I like to run with friends or running groups. They also become your support network.”