Stories of inspiration
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How one man chose to butt out and step up
At 44 years of age, school principal Robert Roy-Boudreau was a thirty-year smoker who would watch with envy as runners jogged by. In his heart, Robert was a runner, but his addiction was holding him back. So he decided to launch a personal challenge to quit smoking and get moving.
Ten days in, as his craving for nicotine was hitting Robert hard, a colleague introduced him to a workout program for novice runners that would culminate in a 10k run. On the twelfth day, when his nicotine cravings were at their peak, Robert chose not to light up, but to step up and enroll in the program.
Whenever the impulse to smoke struck him, Robert would repeat to himself the mantra, “No Robert, you cannot run and smoke at the same time.” It was that little phrase that helped him make big strides in his mission to become a tobacco-free runner. He completed his 10k run in a time of just 52 minutes and 50 seconds and then set himself a new, much bigger goal.
Robert registered for an Ultra Marathon to be held in Gaspé in June. Now six months tobacco-free, Robert is currently engaged in a demanding training program, running 67k per week, with a 29k run each Saturday.
Robert is happy, healthy and in the best shape of his life. He feels lucky to be able to do what he loves: to run, and to be a role model for his students and an inspiration to his coworkers, who now come to him for guidance and advice on how to quit smoking.
Robert made a big decision to make a drastic life change, which is never easy. His running gave him the motivation not to smoke and kept him strong at times when his nicotine cravings were at their most intense. He also benefited from the camaraderie of joining others in setting and achieving various running goals and challenges. Robert’s story proves that even the most challenging journey begins with a first step.
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