Today Vancouver is quite busy with the excitement of the 2015 Vancouver Marathon. One Canadian celebrity who is in attendance running the marathon is Being Erica‘s Erin Karpluk. Karpluk recently got into running by training for the triathlon. She says she caught the bug for running and decided to run the full marathon. Today she runs for World Vision– a charity which she feels strongly about. This will be her first time doing the full marathon and seeing as Karpluk lived in Vancouver for ten years, she says it’s the perfect place to make her debut. Believe it or not, Karpluk is trained by Paul Regensburg, the same coach who trained Simon Whitfield. The two are old friends. Canadian Running caught up with her yesterday to talk about training and why she’s running for charity.
CR: Have you been a runner for a long time or is this new?
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K: It’s new. I mean I grew up doing the Terry fox and track and field a little bit but I was more of a skier, hockey player, basketball and team sport kind of person and then last year a friend (Paul Regensburg) approached me to do a triathlon for charity. He said you could do a leg of an Olympic sized triathlon or you could do a full sprint and of course I said I want to do the full sprint.
CR: Tell us about training with Paul Regensburg.
K: He approached me a couple years ago but I was doing Being Erica and then last year I was doing Rookie Blue but I had a hiatus right when the triathlon was. I kind of got the bug but more for running, so I said I want to do a half-marathon. Then World Vision approached me to do a leg of a full marathon and I said “You know what, I’m on a roll here!” so he started training me in February so I’ve been training really hard for three months.
CR: How has that gone?
K: I wouldn’t say I’m a natural runner but it has been such a cool process to see how your body can adapt and how resilient it is. I’m 36 and I’m in the best shape of my life right now. It was daunting at first, but people do it. People run marathons. The farthest I’ve done is 32K so this will be 42 and Paul has had me lean out of my carbs and then I’ve been carb overloading which has been the best part of my training so far– eating my face off.
Training for this changed my idea of running. There were parts of my training when I was like I hate running. It’s really lonely in the canyons. I wasn’t part of a running team. Running by myself in the California canyons is 80 percent fun but I have a hard time gearing myself up athletically by myself. If I’m in a class or with a group of people, it’s easier. It’s a lot of prep and organization. It’s so cool. I’ve never been so excited to do something.
I love running but I’m not a natural runner so when I’m in a runner’s high and listening to my music and feeling like I should be in the Olympics and someone just blows past me looking like they’re doing no work at all, I’m like “Oh yeah, I guess I’m not really a runner.”
CR: Now, you’re Canadian too. I hear you know Vancouver really well.
K: I lived in Vancouver for ten years. I loved Stanley Park and English Bay and Kitsilano. When I ran I’d be listening to music and daydreaming and I’d be experiencing the runner high a little bit but nothing like this. That runner’s high really helps when mentally you hit a wall. The nutrition helps and also running for a charity that I really believe in and having support from fans and friends and family really pushes me through.
CR: So you lived here for ten years. Was it a natural fit coming back here to do your first marathon?
K: I couldn’t ask for it to be better. The end of the marathon is where I lived. I call it my jam because I know every nook and cranny. When we flew over it I got kind of emotional. I couldn’t ask for a better place to do it. It’s clean and the air is fresh.
CR: Tell us about your relationship with World Vision.
K: We kind of started flirting through social media. It was 2011 towards the end of Being Erica. They always seemed first to respond to big disasters and they cover a big range of things. From dealing with sexual trafficking to getting a tilapia farm for people in Honduras. And they work locally to overseas too. I knew very little about them. They approached me and said would you be interested in learning a little more about our gift catalogue. I said absolutely and went with them to Honduras. We went to a school where I played soccer with a bunch of girls. Their uniforms and soccer balls were provided by World Vision and two years before that they didn’t have a team. It was all boys teams. The smiles on the girls faces and their competitive spirit and the fact that they were allowed to do that was amazing.
There were also farming projects. There was one with a chicken farm where a family is given 200 chickens and x amount of years later this family now has a huge amount of chickens. Same with tilpa farms. It’s not a bandaid solution. They don’t just go in there and say “Oh you need food, here is food.” They go in and give the education and resources on how to sustain these things. Project managers are there to check in but it liberates the family. They are teaching them to grow vegetables, sustain their family and sell things at markets. There nothing forced about this.
CR: Is there a specific World Vision campaign that you are running for?
K: Yes. This is a separate campaign which is no child for sale and giving equal rights to children. They are specifically focused on children in Southeast Asia. This is more geared at child trafficking and sexual exploitation so it’s a matter of doing their best to prevent that. Part of that is sponsorship to give more freedom to them financially so that they are not sucked away. And also helping the children who have been sent off, showing them how to readjust when they are brought back. So it’s cool to see kids here running for that cause.
CR: Do you have plans to continue running after this?
K: I do. I would, at some point in my life, like to do a 70.3. As any athlete knows, it’s a full time job. But that’s a fantasy I have. I will keep up in the running but not as diligently. Right now I don’t have any races planned.