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.

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Photos courtesy Nike Toronto

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.

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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.

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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.

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