First Person: Go big or go home!

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Cheryl Bernard wears her Team World Vision jersey.

Curler Cheryl Bernard was Team Canada’s skip in the 2010 Winter Olympic games. Her team won silver, and now Cheryl is taking up another sport—marathon running for Team World Vision. This is the first in series of her reflections on her experience.

This is the year I will run my first marathon—at 47 years of age—and I am so proud that I can do it for World Vision at The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon on June 1, 2014.

I was delighted to be asked to sit as the Honorary Chair for this Golden Anniversary event. It is my hope to motivate more people to not only run, but run for a charity they support.

“Go Big or Go Home” is our motto for this journey to the finish line of the marathon, but truly I had no idea what “big” meant!

It means running and running and running. I know, obvious right? But when Alicia Pereira of World Vision and I conjured up this plan, it seemed pretty doable—in November, in Ottawa, with no snow. But then back home in Calgary the snow began to fall and it hasn’t stopped since then! And I had given little thought to the difficulties of running on ice and snow, and in wind and sleet. It’s just not nice!

I did however head to San Diego with my family for two weeks at Christmas, and that was where I started to get back into running. I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself down there. I ran some easy three-mile runs [4.8 kilometres], then a couple of six- to seven-mile runs [9.7 to 11.3 kilometres]. I had very little stiffness and my cardio was really quite good.

Then I returned to Calgary. To the snow, the ice, the cold. I spent more time the first week back shovelling our driveway than I did training. But then a chinook hit and I grabbed my snazzy new runners, mittens, ear warmers, face mask and the dog (definitely an unwilling participant in this training regimen) and headed to the Bow River pathway to go for my winter run.

It was so hard! It was windy, cold and slippery, and the dog thought we were running from something or someone the entire time—he was missing our nice leisurely walks. But the worst part was my breathing! The elevation in Calgary compared to San Diego makes a big difference. I must say I was a bit disappointed and a little bit concerned about my jumping in feet first to run this June 1st marathon.

But then I remembered the “why.” I am doing this to help raise awareness for the vulnerable children who walk six to 10 kilometres a day just to access clean drinking water. Forty-two kilometres seems like a minor commitment compared to that. It’s that thought that I will continue to focus on these next five months while I train, and I think it will make the difference.

So join #teamwv and run for something you want to support—it will make all the difference when it gets tough!

Until next month.

Follow Cheryl @TeamBernard and visit her at her website.


This article was published on February 5, 2014.

A version of this article originally appeared in Cheryl Bernard’s blog at




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