Back-of-the-pack runner looking forward to inspiring others

It was a cold and blustery morning in February of 2010 when Mike McGuire went for his first group run.

The radio host had been asked to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, which prepares athletes for road races while fundraising to support blood cancer research.

McGuire, who lived in Edmonton at the time, was supposed to participate and endorse the program on the air. He said the idea seemed “laughable at first.”

“I’ve always been a bigger person,” he said. “I’m definitely not someone who people look at and go, ‘Oh yeah, he obviously runs.'”

When McGuire started running with his Team in Training teammates he weighed more than 300 pounds — as much as three other participants combined. He couldn’t make it more than 50 meters without feeling like he couldn’t go on.

Yet McGuire enjoyed the challenge running posed and the friendships he formed through Team in Training. He didn’t give up and, in the last nine years, has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.

McGuire moved to Saskatoon roughly a year ago, where he is now a host on C95, Rock 102 and 650 CKOM as well as the in-game announcer for the Saskatchewan Rush.

After taking a break from running, he decided wanted to stay active in the city with other “back-of-the-pack” runners like himself, so he approached Brainsport and asked if the store would launch a running academy for beginner runners. Brainsport enthusiastically agreed and the McGuire Back-of-the-Pack Learn-to-Run clinic kicks off Sept. 24.

McGuire is looking forward to participating in the clinic as well as promoting it on the air.

“Experienced runners are awesome to be around, but I think I offer a unique perspective to the person who wants to be a part of something like this,” he said. “This is a chance for people to challenge themselves realistically — and get realistic — by fulfilling results.”

Harvey Weber, the Brainsport employee who will be coaching the clinic, says he hopes the program will attract people who might not think of themselves as runners.

“Running in a group can be a very motivating and a strong social activity,” Weber says. “Running with people that have similar interests or backgrounds can hook you into running more easily.”

The McGuire Back-of-the-Pack Learn-to-Run runs clinic will be held on Tuesday evenings for eight weeks until Nov. 12 to prepare runners for a five-kilometer race at the Gingerbread Run, which takes place in mid-November.