Mornings start early. By 6:45 a.m., when many are just getting up, Dave Clark is already on the roads on his way to work. Clark lives in the west end of Toronto and his work is seven kilometres away– the perfect distance to run to start the morning. In the minutes before 7:00 a.m., it’s still dark and Bloor Street, a main street usually clogged with traffic, is actually calm. “I quite like it in the mornings,” says Clark.
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Clark works in human resources at Toronto Hydro. He’s married with a three year-old son and another little one on the way. He’s also a committed runner and doesn’t want to give any of it up. Fitting in the workouts along with work and family time was becoming a bit much to handle. Prior to run-commuting, his days would look like this: Work, commute home, get in the door on time for his son’s bath and story time, go for a run, day over. He decided to run the seven kilometres to and from work, sometimes adding on segments, purely to be more time efficient.
His routine is similar to a lot of other run commuters. He runs in with a backpack, showers at the office, buys his lunches there and keeps office clothes at work. Three days out of five, he’s running to and from work for a total of 14 kilometres a day. Twice a week, he’ll run just one stretch. When need be, he extends the run to get in extra mileage. All of this is done during the time which he had already allotted for travelling. It’s getting two tasks done in the time it would take to do one.
While he’s running, he gets to notice interesting details about the city he lives in. For example, he will often see marks from the old Garrison Creek– a river which used to cut through the city but has since gone away leaving behind valleys that have since become major parks. “It’s kind of odd to think of how quickly a city can change,” he says.
The big take-home point about why he’s not taking the subway or driving in, is that he’s getting to spend time with his wife and son. Many runners parents would probably agree that there’s also something to be said for having your child see you living an active lifestyle. Clark has definitely made an impression on his three year old. “He clearly wants to be a runner. He’s very energetic, very particular,” says Clark. “He’s pretty good at foam rolling.”
Many may feel that when they become parents, they have to give up doing the things they love. Or, worse, family time becomes jeopardized. For Clark though, that’s just not the case. He’s there for story time and evening activities and he’s still able to keep up with his training group, The Black Lungs, and stay on task for races. Basically, it’s about finding a way to make all the pieces fit together.
“I have another little one on the way in April,” says Clark. “The main thing is, I want to have it all: A good career, a family life where I’m present and running.”