Every other Tuesday, Svveat Stories brings you Svveatspiration: an inspiring series of first-person narratives from our fitness community’s unsung heroes. This week, Nike+ Run Club Toronto’s smiliest pacer, Stephen Armstrong, opens up about why he runs.
My personal mantra: Sit less. Smile more. Get outside and have fun!
At this very moment, those words are probably the best way to describe my day-to-day.
Being a runner, cyclist, avid skier and all-around athletic guy, I try to incorporate movement into everything I do. Whether it’s taking the stairs instead of an elevator, squeezing my calves for that extra burn or busting out a full ass-to-grass squat to pick up the peanut butter spoon I dropped on the ground, I just like knowing my muscles are still there and working.
And I must say, it wasn’t always this way for me. I started my real fitness journey just a few years ago, when I said goodbye the heavy weights, picked up a pair of Nikes and started running.
I was introduced to the Nike+ Run Club (NRC) by two of my now-favourite people, Paulina (NRC Toronto’s manager) and Dylan (a former NRC pacer). With big smiles on their faces, they invited me to a hardcore training session with the team where I got to trial some sweet tights and, at the end, I walked away with rubbery legs and a free Clif Bar. As a broke student, I was immediately hooked.
From there, it didn’t take long until I found myself immersed in the city’s fitness culture and social circles. I began training harder and harder week-to-week, finding new workouts and runs in the city that would allow me to test my body with each session.
Running then became a serious passion of mine. Every step brought new confidence, peace of mind and, often times, a new friend. It really is something that the more energy you put in, the more energy you get out of it. Now, in my role as a pacer for NRC, I focus my efforts on spreading the joy that fitness can bring.
I’ve never run a marathon or placed in a race, but I’ve been able to encourage hundreds of people to push past their limits and break through their barriers, and I’ve put at least a thousand smiles on people’s faces.
If you ever have that feeling that you want to start running, go outside and (as Nike says) just do it. If you need some extra inspiration, join a session with NRC and we’ll be there to pace you through. You can also catch me working at Ride Cycle Club and on Instagram @stephen.l.armstrong.
Before I go, I have to give a big thank you to James and Kimmie for always pushing me to do more with my week, and Coach Inge and Coach Britt for helping me with my stride.
Author: Stephen L. Armstrong.
Video credit: Logan Armstrong.
To join Stephen for the happiest run on Earth, visit the Nike+ Run Club page on Svveat and register for an upcoming session.