Each year before Christmas, Brainsport presents the Ric Hanna Award to a person who enhances the Saskatoon running community.
This year’s award winner is Harvey Mathies, who’s been working at Brainsport for nearly a decade.
Mathies received the award Saturday during Brainsport’s free run club. He spoke with the Brainsport Times about how he became involved in the city’s running community.
Harvey Mathies didn’t start running until his late 40s when his kids went off to university and his life calmed down.
Now, at age 67, Mathies is a regular fixture pounding Saskatoon’s Meewasin trails and loves participating in ultramarathon trail races.
“Anyone who is healthy enough to get out and exercise and keep active is just so fortunate and it’s just something that shouldn’t be wasted,” Mathies says.
“Running just puts you in contact with a whole world of positive people and when you’re running, when you’re in good shape, you just feel better.”
Mathies started working at Brainsport in 2010 after he retired from his job as general manager at a Co-op. He says joining the staff at the running store was a “perfect fit,” in part because of how much he enjoys taking part in the store’s free running clubs — and his energy is contagious.
“Harv is one of the most enthusiastic run leaders I ever met,” says Brainsport Owner Brian Michasiw.
When Mathies joined the Brainsport staff, the store offered run clubs on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Mathies thought there was a gap, particularly for parents of young children or busy professionals who might struggle to make those times. He was instrumental in launching two new run clubs on Thursdays within the last two years: one that starts at the store at 10 a.m. and one that starts downtown at the Delta Bessborough clock tower at 12:08 p.m.
The morning groups are popular with parents who are able to get in a run between taking kids to school and picking them up for lunch and retirees. People working downtown or staying in downtown hotels often join in for the lunch runs.
Mathies says he’s glad to play a role in helping people stay active and he loves that he’s able to fit himself and meet so many people while doing it.
“I just love being involved with people that have a similar desire to get out and run, to have fun seeing new things,” he says.
“It just makes me feel so good and fulfilled when I can be running with people.”
The Ric Hanna Award was established in 2007 in honour of the late Ric Hanna, one of Saskatchewan’s greatest road racers and a founding member of the Brainsport Run Club. Hanna died in 2016 following a battle with Huntington’s Disease.