A Road Less Travelled: A Runner and an Advocate

A Runner’s Journey 
By Bruce Kidd
424 pages, $29.95 CAD, University of Toronto Press

Like many Canadians, to me Bruce Kidd is a legend. My story with Bruce dates back to 1996 when I started running with the University of Toronto’s Junior Development Track and Field Program. First as a high school student, later transitioning to my undergraduate studies in 2000 I have fond memories  seeing Bruce walking the halls of the Clara Benson building, where the indoor track is housed, with Liz Hoffman. These two people were such a duo changing sport for the better across the university and internationally. Aspirationally, I want to do similar work to Bruce and Liz. 

I learned so much more about Kidd reading, A Runner’s Journey. And yes, as a fellow middle distance runner I was curious about the training he did to find success on the track but more than that I wanted to get to know him through this memoir. Kidd literally changed the world through all the advocacy work he’s done and continues to do. From women’s sport to sport for development to physical buildings I use and work out of at the University, Kidd makes the world a better place. 

Post-pandemic I think we all have an appreciation for the importance of physical activity in childrens’ lives, and even in our own lives. We think more clearly, we sleep better, we make better eating choices, so we perform better at work and/or school. Yet, there are more and more cutbacks to physical education from the aspect of time, money and where it is in childrens’ lives. As people go back to the office finding the time and space in their schedules to be active, despite knowing the benefits. Kidd weaves a narrative of how he continues to manage his own physical activity to help him be the best advocate. 

While Kidd benefited from a sports system that privileged high performance he immediately saw this program’s narrow focus shortcomings neglecting the social purpose. I’d go even further to argue that sport for development is needed alongside high performance sport, because without everyone in the system, the high performers do not have competitors to reach the pinnacle of their performance. Then layer on the social, economical, physical, emotional, and health benefits of sport for development. 

Kidd took a road less travelled. For most athletes, when they leave sport they are left confused as to what to do next. Kidd was so wrapped up in first his studies and advocacy work, and later as a leader and professor at the University of Toronto, that he had a natural place to land. And I think Kidd would also argue that his drive for excellence academically and professionally drove him for excellence on the track too. 

I cannot wait to sit down with Bruce Kidd to learn more about his and your Runner’s Journey on Tuesday February 21st at 7pm EST. To register for the event: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sashas-stories-episode-2-with-bruce-kidd-tickets-529800737267 

Have a question for Bruce Kidd about A Runner’s Journey? To submit questions in advance of Sasha’s Stories please use this link: https://forms.gle/K5MGYMuBcZ1ifWyr7   

If you have not ordered your copy of Bruce Kidd’s A Runner’s Journey you can get a copy here: https://utorontopress.com/9781487541040/a-runner-and-x2019s-journey/