Monday, November 30, 2009

5 More Sleeps to the Reggae Marathon in Negril

I can't believe we are now at the short strokes!
I planned to spend today (Monday) on business.  It has not gone as planned.
After getting back to my office after a successful presentation to a new client this morning I expected to spend the balance of the day cleaning up loose ends.  But just like an excited child, I got distracted by the race in Negril on Saturday.  So instead of concentrating on business, I decided to organize my running gear.
And I have enough of it!
With the temperature in Negril expected to be in the low 30's (Celsius) by the time the sun breaks, hydration is my major concern.  And although I am probably overdoing it, I plan to carry my own water supply along with special gels created for high heat situations.  At the start I will look like I am heading out across the Sahara!
Better safe than sorry. 
Other 'stuff': 
  • Special Thorlo cushion socks. 
  • Wrist bands
  • Special Running Room cap
  • Extra pair of running shoes
  • Recovery drink mix for after the run
  • Aspirin and other pain killers (not expecting to be in pain, but you never know...)
  • Laptop and power adaptors so I can do updates from Negril
Have I missed anything?  No worries...I have all day Tuesday to think about.
With the butterflies in my stomach already fluttering, those 5 sleeps will fly by very quickly.
Until next time from Jamaica...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

$10 makes all the difference in the world

$10 makes all the difference in the world

Standing in the grocery line on Tuesday found Sally commiserating with a lady about buying food on a budget.  The conversation turned to kids living at home.  The lady shared her story with Sally about how here son had moved back home recently.  He was 40 years old and due to complications from diabetes, he was unable to work. 

Sally shared our story of how diabetes affected us.  She also continued with my running in the Reggae Marathon on December 5 in Negril to raise $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association. 

What happened next is stunning.

The lady, a stranger to Sally pulled out a $10 bill and gave it to her for the CDA. 

Chance meeting, two strangers in the grocery checkout line sharing personal stories.  Connecting.

I don't know who you are, but that $10 bill means more to me than breathing.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Thank you.

Below is the donation form.  If you have not donated yet, please click on it to download it.  Fill it in and send it directly to the following address:

Canadian Diabetes Association
4 - 556 Bryne Drive
Barrie, Ontario, L4N 9P6

Until next time...from Negril

Monday, November 23, 2009

Customer service that had me free and laughing!

Good things do happen to good people. Read the full story about a positive customer service experience posted on 'Free and Laughing', a blog published by Marguerite Orane. Customer service that had me free and laughing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giving is the right thing to do!

Givers Gain.

That is the motto of  Business Network International (BNI).  I belong to the Georgian Bay Chapter based in Collingwood.  I use it with respect to illustrate the positive and inspiring things we have Reggae Marathon December experienced throughout 2009.  Especially in working toward the goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association by running in the Reggae Marathon on December 5 in Negril, Jamaica.

 So far we have raised just over $3,800.  Sally and I are blown away by the generous donations so far.

With two weeks to go, the final push is on:  training peaks this weekend with a long slow distance (LSD) run on Sunday with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners.  And we are looking for ways to raise the final $6,200.  You can reach me directly at with suggestions.

Through all of this we have learned what "Givers Gain" really means. People give because it is the right thing to do.

Family, friends, business associates, on-line friends and total strangers have given to the CDA to continue education and research into Diabetes.  We have been moved by the generosity of all our donors.  Large or doesn't matter.  Each one counts.

I have been given advice on training and nutrition.  Some unsolicited.  All valuable.  I have been to a chiropractor, undergone hypnotherapy, had a pedicure, bought better shoes. 

I am eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking less alcohol, reducing salty snacks. As Sally says, "gotta take care of that 50+ body". 

I am running smarter and including rest days. To all the members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners:  Thank you!

But the biggest lesson?  Its not all about me.

I started this whole thing because I wanted to finish a marathon.  "Me, me, me!"  Everything changed when I decided to dedicate the attempt to raising money for the CDA.  That simple decision kept me sane through the challenges of 2009.  It unleashed kindness, generosity and support.  We knew it was there...just needed a hand to be released.

Givers Gain.  It feels good!

Until next time...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a blast playing paintball while raising $'s for the CDA

To say we had 'a blast' on November 14 would be an understatement. 

A small but determined group gathered at Wasaga Paintball last Saturday to play paintball and to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.  We had a glorious day:  sunny with the temperature in the mid teens. 

It was a weekend event:  a full afternoon of paintball followed by a banquet dinner at Beverly-on-Main and an 'afterparty' back at Saga Resort where the entire group stayed.  Sally and I didn't make the afterglow.  No, not because the young people tired out the 'old man'...I had a long run planned for Sunday morning and would not have been able to participate fully.

If only I had known what I was in for...

Thanks to the very generous donation from Strongbar the top and hat, very 'slimming'...the entire weekend resulted in us raising over $1,100 for the CDA. Getting shot by the 'kids' was worth it!                             

This is a 'Before' picture...I have no idea what's coming. 

"Hey, is this really necessary?"

Absolutely it turns out. Wish I had worn some padding underneath. Wouldn't have stopped the 'sting' of being hit and put out of the game, but it would have reduced the welts: at least 20...I stopped counting.
Wasaga Paintball is NOT your average paintball experience.  They have over 70 acres of outdoor playing fields.  More than 12 different themed areas.  From the 'Wild West' (our favourite) to 'Black Hawk Down".  Running, shooting and tripping all part of the game. 

And with the gang all assembled, our safety briefing completed, and the adrenelin pumping, our referee for the day took out us out onto the playing field.  

Four glorious hours of scampering up and down the rugged terrain, hiding behind tree stumps, defending our positions, attacking all the time.  Whew, what a workout!

Break time!  Sweating bullets!  Needed to re-load the paint balls, charge up the CO2 in the markers and grab a drink.  Thanks to the local Water Depot in Wasaga Beach for the generous donation of water...don't know what we would have done without it.

No 'After' pictures thankfully.  That would not have been pretty.  Thanks Sally for the great pictures.

I learned a few things last Saturday:
  1. Never stand still in war
  2. Always have a plan before you start
  3. Throw out the plan and improvise quickly once underway
  4. Survival is the only thing that matters
  5. It hurts when you get shot!
  6. Kids like shooting at their Dad
More importantly I learned that young people care.  The guys and girls who took part gave up their weekend to help raise money for a cause.  I am proud of each of them for their support.  "I'll remember you at mile 25 of the Reggae Marathon on December 5"

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Coming to Jamaica to Run"

This article, "COMING TO JAMAICA TO RUN" appeared in 'Hospitality Jamaica', the Tourism Supplement off the Jamaica Gleanor.  I received it from Diane Ellis of the Reggae Marathon who has given great support. It is reproduced in its entirety:

Marketing consultant Christ Morales has a passion for running. A Jamaican / Canadian Morales will be among the hundreds who will gather at the Long Bay Beach Park in Negril in the early hours of December 5, in the light of bottle torches and to the sound of Reggae music as they await the starter’s orders for the ninth renewal of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K.

Morales’ objective is not only to visit Jamaica for its beauty and warmth but primarily to challenge himself to successfully complete the Reggae Marathon in memory of his father who “passed away of complications brought on by his years long battle with diabetes.” He has therefore “decided to dedicate my running to raising money for Diabetes Research in Canada. My goal in 2009 is to raise $10,000.” It will be his first trip back to Jamaica for this purpose.

Like Morales there are many others who will be taking the trip for a similar reason. Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing niches in the industry and despite the recession which, globally, is proving to be a greater challenge than many anticipated, there are those who are committed to going wherever the opportunity presents itself and their passion takes them to improve their fitness or as in Morales’ case “to raise money for a good cause.”

In addition to the local entrants, 2009 will see participants in the Reggae Marathon event coming to the island from countries as diverse as Finland, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and France. Some, like the Arthritis Foundation - USA chapter will also be running to raise funds. The Yellow Bird Runners, Sisters in Motion and the Running Girlz, the all female running club from Burlington, Ontario, Canada have also registered to participate.

This continues to be good news for Jamaica. According to Tanya Miller President of the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, organizers of the event, as since its inception “Reggae Marathon has managed to make an important economic impact contributing over US$5.5 million to the accommodation sub-sector alone. We are awaiting the results concerning the food, drink, entertainment and other sub-sectors”, Miller added.

The Reggae Marathon event is also an example of community tourism at work as the entire area - from Negril to Green Island, has caught the vision and embraced the concept and all are working together to welcome the visitors and ensure that each year’s staging of the event is successful.

According to race director Alfred “Frano” Francis “the entire Negril community, from the many volunteers to the hoteliers, has come together to partner with us to present the main event as well as others like the award winning JHTA World’s Best Pasta Party at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex and the Village Bash in the Negril town square on December 4, as well as the Awards and Finish Line victory party on the Negril West End after the race on December 5.”

Further information and updates can be accessed at
Negril here we come...:)

42: Marathon distance and humidex in Negril

What have I done?

I started this madness because I wanted to finish a marathon. Now I have to finish 2 on December 5th in Negril!


I'm getting through it by staying focused on three things: motivation, inspiration and passion. And a ton of growing support from family, friends, business associates and total strangers! Plus, donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association continue to climb. Thank you.

And after much of the year endlessly thinking about and planning for the run in December, I am now only '23 sleeps' away from the start of the race at 5:15 am on Saturday, December 5:
  • Picked up my 'Race shoes' at the Running Room Outlet store in Toronto yesterday. Staying with what has gotten me to this point: Adidas Supernova's. Bought the 'Orange' pair this time. A bit of vanity here: wanted to have the shoes match the Team Diabetes singlet given to me by Dave Foster from Wasaga Beach.
  • Also picked up a new running hat and gel belt. Nutrition important; minimizing the impact of the sun critical.
  • Air tickets booked (Westjet of course to Montego Bay on Dec 2) and confirmed hotel in Negril 300 metres from the start/finish (Foote Prints on the Beach)
  • And I continue training with the best group of runners I have ever met in the Wasaga Beach Road Runners. Mike, Eric, Pete, Jim and all the rest: thank you for keeping me me moving with the emails and Sunday morning training runs.

All good on the motivation front.

And then I had a massive inspiration boost: a very, very generous corporate donation to the Canadian Diabetes Association from Gord West and his entire team at Strongbar Industries.( WOW!

I can't even begin to put into words how that felt. Gord and I have been friends since our family came to Canada in 1972. He and his friends Garth, Greg and Brent accepted me, the funny talking Jamaican with the frizzy hair unconditionally. We have been friends ever since.

Inspiration comes in many ways. At mile 23 on Saturday morning around December 5 around 9 am your generous support will keep me going. And yes, I will have pictures at the finish line.

Through all of this this though, one individual has kept-the-faith. Has kept the passion burning. She has kept me running with her line, "Run Christopher, run". Without her passionate support...often at great personal sacrifice...remember the story of her driving me to the start of the Toronto 1/2 Marathon?...I would not have made it through this year.

Thank you so very much, Sally. I love you very much.

Sally's deep passion has kept me motivated and inspired to keep going when things looked dark and crappy this past winter. "We're we are almost at this finish line".

42 x 2 on December 2. Bring it on!

Until next time...