Dianna Head took years off from running. Now she wants to run a marathon

When Dianna Head’s boss offered to pay for his employees to sign up for an event of their choosing at the 2018 Saskatchewan Marathon, Head jumped at the chance.

Head, who works at Braid Flooring, used to run regularly. But by the time she signed up for her five-kilometre race, those days were about six years and one child behind her.

Still, she figured a five-kilometre race couldn’t be that hard. She didn’t train beforehand and went to a party the night before.

The run was not as easy as she’d expected.

“It was painful,” Head recalls. “Everything hurt.”

After that, Head almost gave up running for good. But — about a year later — her co-worker, Tarrant Cross Child, started leading a beginner run clinic at Brainsport and her boss, Christian Braid, offered to pay for his employees to take part.

Cross Child told Head this could be a way for her to get back into running in a healthy and sustainable way. Head signed up.

She still remembers showing up for the first day of the clinic in August 2019 and feeling she was more out of shape than the other participants. “I was terrified,” she said.

Dianna Head (left) and Tarrant Cross Child pictured after a run.

Head began doing run-walks and gradually increased the time she was running. A month after joining the clinic, she ran the River Run five-kilometre race and felt good doing it. Head was excited about running and looking forward to registering for more races, but then she needed to undergo a full hysterectomy and her running momentum came to an abrupt halt.

Head’s health-care team gave her the green light to run again in April 2020 and Head remembered the lessons she’d learned from the previous two years about the importance of slowly working up to big goals. Instead of dashing out to run five kilometres, she walked, did run-walks and gradually increased the length of time she was spending on her feet.

Head ran her first 10-kilometre in August and did another one in September — five minutes faster than the first. She signed up for Brainsport’s December run streak and ran at least one mile (1.6 kilometres) each day, logging more kilometres in a month than she ever had before.

Head credits Cross Child’s beginner running clinic with giving her the tools she needs to be a lifelong runner. While the first runs she did with the clinic were terrifying, they later became something fun and a way for her to clear her head.

“It’s been an interesting change of mindset. I used to be so scared to do it and now I run at least three times a week,” she says.

Head hopes her story can inspire others to start running, even if they haven’t run before or if they’ve been away from the sport for a long time. “Just start slow and steady and be consistent instead of thinking you can just do it all right away,” she says.

Head is now looking forward to running another 10-kilometre at the virtual Saskatchewan Marathon. She hopes to run her first half marathon this fall and eventually wants to run a marathon. She’s giving herself lots of time to build up to the longer distance — her debut over 42.2 kilometres is scheduled for 2027.

“The reason for that year is because that’s the year I turn 40,” she says. “I’m going to celebrate my 40th birthday with a marathon.”

Do you know someone in Saskatchewan with an inspiring running story? Email Brainsport Times editor Andrea Hill at