Jacqueline Neville, a St. John’s native who has lived and embraced running since she moved to Corner Brook 17 years ago, will tackle the longest run of her life when he competes in the Brothers and Associates Humber Valley Marathon scheduled for Oct. 1 in Steady Brook.
Back in January, with thoughts of her 55th birthday only months away, Neville made the decision it was time to take on another challenge.
She consulted with fellow marathon runners Jim Pike and Darren Kaulbach about her intentions to run her first marathon during a race last year in Nova Scotia. The two guys recommended some training plans she could follow and gave her some advice on how to train for it.
Her fiancé and fellow runner Gord Doman did some research to find something, but he couldn’t find anything to meet her needs when it comes to being a diabetic and working 12-hour shifts as a nutrition supervisor at the Corner Brook Long-Term Care Centre.
“I had to do a schedule that worked for me and that was trial and error, too,” she said, noting she had to use vacation days for rest and recovery periods.
Pushing the body to the limit by running long distances, battling the elements Mother Nature throws at you along the way, for anyone on any given day would be a test of a person’s mettle.
But Neville had no desire to look at diabetes as a crutch to avoid adding a marathon to the list of runs she’s completed over the past 17 years since she became a regular fixture on the Corner Brook running scene.
Neville is quick to point out every diabetic has their own unique situation that presents different challenges, but she doesn’t think it should be a hindrance for anyone who is interested in doing more than they do now when it comes to being active.
“If you want to do something, it can be done,” Neville said bluntly.
She plans on following the advice of those who have supported her in her training, and that’s to show up at the starting line injury free and reach the finish line without injury, but make sure she has fun and sets a goal for what she hopes to accomplish.
She has appreciated the support of the local running club and she wanted to show appreciation by competing in her first marathon in Corner Brook because she has concerns about the numbers for this particular race taking a downward spiral.
“If we don’t get the numbers up we’re going to lose it,” she said. “I’m going to do it and be able to say I did my first one in Corner Brook.”
Neville believes the timing couldn’t be better for her to take on the challenge. She believes her body has been put through the test with regular runs that bring longer distances with each one, so she will just try to keep to her race strategy to remain consistent at six minutes for every kilometre to hit her goal of finishing in under four hours and 15 minutes.
She’s confident she will be ready when it’s time to take the starting line.
“I’m in better shape than I was 15 years ago and I was diagnosed with diabetes 17 years ago and 40 pounds overweight at that time,” she said.