A Run With Perfection

Aged to Perfection (ATP) is a team of “masters plus” female runners that participates in the Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay each year.

They get together every Saturday morning—rain, shine or snow, all year long— to do a run, socialize, and have fun. Their route changes every week depending on the time of year and the distance they want to go.

“Each Saturday morning is a new adventure—there are stories to catch up on, trips or social events to plan and lots of laughs, celebrations and support for each other,” said ATP member Brenda Dion.

The team was started in 1996 by Jan Tulloch, who thought that it would be unique to have an entire team of women over 40 who run together for exercise and fun.

Currently, the two longest serving members are “Crazy Captain” Nancy Brady, who is a founding member, and Margaret Mundell, who joined in 1999.

“The team has had many names, some related to sponsors, but finally settled on Aged to Perfection. It seemed appropriate, as we were all getting not only older, but ‘finer’ with time,” Nancy told me.

“It continues to be an excuse to socialize while realizing the health benefits of running with a group of amazing and supportive women.”

I met the team as they were finishing up a pre-run of leg 8 of the Klondike Road Relay, a 19.8 km stretch from Emerald Lake to Annie Lake Road. They had been running for almost 2 hours but still had the energy to talk to me for the next half hour while finishing their run.

The group is tight knit—new spots don’t open up often— and runners will gladly give up participation on corporate-sponsored teams to be part of Aged to Perfection.

This year marks the 30th annual running of the Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay (www.klondikeroadrelay.com), which runs from Skagway to Whitehorse. The 176.5 km relay has 10 legs varying in distance from 9.0 to 25.6 km, run by teams comprised of 4 to 10 participants.

In addition to age and gender categories, there are also walking categories and individual categories for ultra-marathoners. Teams range from fun-loving, to corporate, to ultra-competitive.

Christine Paradis, an ATP member for a number of years, told me during our run that several ATP members have their names inscribed on the Senator’s Cup— an honour bestowed to runners who have completed each and every leg of the Road Relay over the years.

The ATP team changes slowly over time and the occasional injury forces last minute substitutions. Even if a member is injured, they still try to come out and socialize after the weekly run is over. Group members train on their own during the week, sometimes focusing on other activities like swimming, biking, and orienteering.

Each year the group adds a new and different piece of clothing with their group logo—a stylized female runner—to the team’s wardrobe. This year’s addition is an aqua-colored jacket.

I asked Shawne Marnow, who joins Aged to Perfection sometimes for their weekly runs, if she planned on becoming an official member one day. The rest of the group quickly piped up in jest. “She’s too young!” They said, “She has to be at least 50!”

At the end of each year’s relay, the group has a big celebration and then head the dance that is part of the official wrap-up party for the relay. “We figure out who will run which leg the next year that evening,” said Paradis. “we write it on a napkin or whatever we can find.”

Over the years, the group has done destination events such as Maui, Seattle, and Victoria. They are heading to Florida to run in the Disney Princess Marathon events next February to celebrate Captain Nancy’s 65th birthday.

At the end of our run together, the ATP ladies graciously invited me back for a smorgasbord of food at Mundell’s house. The spread ranged from fresh bruschetta to a rhubarb flan. Everyone brought a contribution.

A fresh cup of coffee paired perfectly with the food and it and it made for a fitting finish to the Saturday run.

Sometimes the group runs from the Bean North Café and returns to freshly baked muffins. Sometimes they end up in the downtown core or at a member’s house. Without fail, they finish their runs together.

The ATP members are justifiably proud of their group and the support they give each other is inspirational. One group member told me that her kids regularly exclaim that she is in better shape than they are.

The Aged to Perfection ladies, along with the other participants, will be gradually making their way into Whitehorse on Saturday, Sept. 8 as part of this year’s relay. Be sure to cheer them on.

Until next time, keep putting one foot in front of the other towards a happier and healthier life.

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