Angela MacLean – Runner

When my family began to drive around North Cowichan in March 2020, it didn’t take us long before we would see someone running. When I commented on this, my husband who is not a runner, remarked that “If you wander through the forest long enough you will see a bear!” On one particular drive we saw this solitary soul in the distance, moving along and it was a pleasant surprise when I realized it was Ceevacs marathoner, Angela MacLean running with that familiar graceful but lively stride. After that we would see her again and again running the roads of Chemainus, and Duncan; miles from home. Angela seemed to be everywhere!

In July, my run partner, Janis and I were driving along Somenos Road when I saw Angela again, running in the distance. I asked Janis to stop and we talked briefly with Angela about running and how it was affecting her marriage. Angela had been married one year earlier on July 6, 2019. I asked what she thought about my writing an article for Ceevacs Connect and she was enthusiastic. But, when I messaged her later, Angela responded with this short note.

“I loved the idea (of an article for Ceevacs Connect) when you brought it up for sure! (When we were engaged, my husband couldn’t believe I was planning to go for a morning run on our wedding day, but I run 7 days per week so…) But after thinking about it, I realized that getting married hasn’t affected me as a runner. When I first met my husband I kind of warned him that I do run every day, no matter what, even on holidays…and he’s always been Ok with that. I don’t think that will ever change, unless I get some type of life-altering injury.

“Oh yah?” Angela continues to boggle my mind with the next few comments. “My husband, Elliott said I should write about how moving here from Alberta has changed me as a runner…but it hasn’t other than the fact that it’s way more beautiful here, and I do complain about the hills from time to time But, before March 2020, I was training for Boston and possibly ready to PR (Personal Record) even though it would have been my 30th full marathon…. and thought, maybe all these hills aren’t so bad after all… At any rate, I don’t think I have a very compelling story to tell. I wish I did! I’m sorry!”

At the same time, I had become pre-occupied developing questions for Angela when I received her reply. Now, Angela had really begun to interest me. Why was Angela running in Duncan when she lives in Ladysmith? Running 7 days a week? Thirty marathons? What about injuries? I thought she had plenty to say that might inspire others and replied. “Well you’ve actually begun quite a nice story here. I wonder if I can use some of your messages to pass on to others.” I left her with my questions to ponder. I was looking forward to some motivating and informative answers. By the beginning of August, I was about to give up, when Angela messaged me back in mid-August.

“Sorry I didn’t respond to you sooner. I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY I’ve been running 7 days a week, because the “why” has changed a lot for me. Back in 2009 I broke 1:50 for the first time in a half marathon. I realized that this meant I had a chance to qualify for Boston. I saw a book called “Run Less, Run Faster” with a specific training program to achieve a BQ (Boston Qualifier). The idea was to run only 3 days per week, then cross train the other 4 days, in order to prevent injury. However, the 3 days of running were all speed work. Even the long run was fast! When I look back at my training log from that year, I cannot believe I did my long runs at such a ridiculous pace!

Then, I ended up with a horrible case of ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) leading up to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which was to be my first attempt to BQ. Due to the injury, as well as a very warm day, I ran a 4-hour marathon which missed my BQ by 15 minutes. The race was in September 2009. Once I recovered from the ITBS, I started bringing up my mileage and running every day, with no speed work. I ran the California International Marathon in December that year with a 3:51, then the next month I ran the Phoenix Marathon in 3:44, my first Boston Qualifier!

In 2011, when I trained for my first Boston, I did not take a day off running for the entire 4 months of my training until three days before the race. I maxed out at 120 km per week (tricky while working full time), only doing speed work once every 2 weeks, with some other marathons to use as fast-ish training runs. In that 2011 Boston, I ran a 3:34 which is STILL my PR, felt great the whole time and recovered very quickly. Ever since then, I have found that running every day, with little to no speed work, has produced races I am proud of, and kept me from getting injured EXCEPT when I haven’t followed the 10% rule (very preventable). I have even done a couple of 1:35 half marathons, using this training principle.

Running every day of the week is not a conventional way of training. My own family doctor told me that “people expect way too much from their bodies”. But I couldn’t disagree more. People underestimate their bodies ALL THE TIME. The human body is DESIGNED TO RUN! Even back in 2013/14 when I was recovering from surgeries related to the onset of Crohn’s disease, and thought I might never be able to run farther than 5k again, I gradually increased my mileage as much as my body would allow, and eventually at my next marathon which was Houston in 2015, was able to comfortably qualify for Boston and even ran a negative split. The human body is amazing!! By running every day, I am only training my body to do what it was meant to do. Because of this, although I have no talent for running, I have run 29 marathons and qualified for Boston and have typically recovered very quickly from my races.

I am very seldom not training for a marathon, which is why I just keep running every day, all year long. I’m 45 with a lot of miles in my legs and I feel great; maybe my “luck” will run out some day, but until then, as long as I am very careful about my speed work and change my shoes frequently, I should be able to keep from getting injured.

Since March 2020, running has changed a great deal for me, in terms of motivation, because there are no races. I have been running a lot more from my house in Ladysmith, which is extremely hilly, so not super motivating. My favourite places to run are Chemainus and Cherry Point, but for the first time in 20 years, I have been finding it challenging to run alone. I look forward to running with the Ceevacs even more than I did before. I’ve done some virtual races but really dislike the whole premise, so I run every day generally to prevent gaining weight. I try to find new ways to motivate myself and try to remember what I did for each of my 29 marathons, although some of them were done for fun or to pace a friend. Well, there’s the long answer to your questions!!!”

Angela sent me some of her favourite photos with her email signature that unwittingly told me she was a Runner, Music Teacher and “Dog lover”. I thought, Hmmm… “Angela has a dog?” Well, now I had to know about her dog; Half of the Ceevacs runners have dogs! If they aren’t talking about running, they are telling you their latest crazy dog story. As it turns out Angela has 2 dogs according to Facebook! But we will have to hear that story another time.

It took a bit of cajoling, but I’m happy that Angela’s story has prompted me to look at things a little differently when it comes to my own running and training. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the 10% Run Rule that Angela referred to, here’s the short of it from Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World.

“Be the Tortoise, not the Hare.
Increase your weekly and monthly running totals gradually.
Use the 10-Percent rule as a general guideline but realize that it might be too aggressive for you – especially if you are injury prone.”

Angela MacLean and Ellen Candlish


1. Wedding Day July 6th, 2019 in Sooke BC (top)
2. Canada Day 15 km race in Edmonton (top)
3. 1080 Day 10k run in Edmonton
4. Boston Marathon 2017 in finishers cape
5. Angela and Elliott after Boston Marathon 2017 finish
6. Colour Run – Where you get sprayed with paint at various points throughout the race. It was SOOO MUCH FUN!!!!
7. K-100 relay race in Kananaskis
8. Email signature

Thank you, Angela for sharing your story, photos and your time. Ellen