Stories on the Run: PJ Duncan

Stories on the Run: PJ Duncan

In 2008, I was about 230 pounds and smoked somewhere around 40 cigarettes a day.

My days would consist of smoking, working, eating, and napping. It was terrible! After a surgery on my shoulder, I was told to get a personal trainer to help rebuild my shoulder. My plan was to work with a personal trainer until I regained my shoulder strength and mobility. However, my trainer, who was also a friend and neighbour, had different plans for me. He told me he was going to get me into running. I just laughed at him; I was a fat, out of shape, a smoker, and definitely not a runner!

I’d never been a runner, even in high school when we had to do the milk run, I’d walk it and smoke! But who was I to argue, off we went for an 800-metre run – and it sucked. Every step was terrible and I walked most of it. But something was different now, maybe it was that I had a great trainer who was motivating and supporting me. I worked and worked at that 800 metres until one day, I got it! I’ve never been more proud of myself. I celebrated with a Slurpee and some cigarettes.

I was living in New Zealand at the time and I had planned a trip back to Vancouver to visit friends and meet my new niece and nephew. A friend told me that she’d started running and I would be in town to watch her finish the Vancouver Half Marathon in May 2009. I explained that I was also a runner now, so I’d run it with her! It seemed to make perfect sense to me that I could go from running 800 meters to running over 21,000 meters in a little over 5 months.

PJ Duncan

I followed a training program, but I ran way too fast and spent lots of time in physiotherapy. I lost about 30 pounds, I quit smoking, got plantar fasciitis, and ran my first half marathon. All within 5 months!

Fast forward to today, I have instructed many Learn to Run programs as well as a few half- and full marathon programs. I’ve run several half marathons, 2 marathons, countless 5 and 10 km events, a half ironman, and the Hood 2 Coast, which is a 320-kilometre relay through Oregon. The key to achieving all of these goals is training and setting smart goals. Training with like-minded, supportive people following established plans that work. It has got me to where I am today and it’s going to take me to where I want to be tomorrow.

Over the last year, I’ve put some weight back on, I let my training slip, and I wasn’t running as much. I’m back on track and am so excited to be on board with Kintec to help people achieve their goals. One of the things that I find most motivating is to see people hit milestones that they didn’t think were possible, and then reach levels they never knew they could. Running is an incredibly empowering thing, and I look forward to working with all of the clinic participants.

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PJ Duncan
White Rock Run Clinic Instructor

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