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Carol Blevins

For most novice runners, the decision to participate in a 10-kilometre race is often associated with a significant amount of preparation and training. This was not the case with Carol Blevins.

As a hairdresser, Carol gets to hear the stories and interesting activities of the wide array of people that sit in her chair. On a lazy Saturday morning in 2001, Carol was chatting with a friend who had stopped by for an impromptu cut. When the topic of plans for the rest of the weekend came up, Carol was told of her friend’s final training run in the afternoon before participating in the Times Colonist 10k event the following day.

Carol was curious and intrigued, and made a snap decision to enter the race on a whim. Shocked and surprised, her friend made it very clear that she would not be waiting for Carol to keep the pace that she had been building up to for the past six months.

Undeterred and excited, Carol ran upstairs to raid her daughter’s closet, as she didn’t even own a pair of runners. She eventually found some that were a size too small, and got prepared to enter the race for the first time.

With sound of the gun, Carol’s speed walking didn’t have her too far behind for the first kilometre, even though her heels hurt because of the ill-fitting shoes. In fact, Carol began to get more comfortable, and after the second kilometre, she decided to attempt to run the rest of the way. The longer she went, the less she felt the pain, and by the end, she had finished the distance side by side with her friend.

That was her initial 10k experience, and now 11 years later at the age of 65, Carol is still running – this time with her own pair of cross-trainers.

Carol immediately saw her new passion as a way to be charitable within the community. In that first official race as a participant, she raised over $300. By the next year, she had more than doubled her fundraising and was recognized as the runner with the most pledges for a single participant.

Having had a father and a brother who suffered heart attacks before the age of 60, Carol decided early on that she was going to designate all of the money she raised to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon.

Every year, Carol has increased her totals with the help of family, friends and of course her clients. Whether it is putting her pledge sheet up at her home salon, or having people approach her because of the time of year, Carol has made a personal commitment to continually give more to an organization she sees as having a real impact in the lives of people.

After raising $3,600 last year, Carol has some catching up to do to continue her trend of increasing donations. When asked how she planned on beating her total over the final month before the race, Carol responded without hesitation: “The threat of a bad haircut is always a great motivator.”

The 2012 TC10K, which takes place on Sunday April 29, welcomes individuals, corporate teams and school teams to enter the race in the name of health, community spirit, and support for worthy charitable organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Funds raised for the Heart and Stroke Foundation will support lifesaving research, advocacy and health promotion initiatives.

To sign up to participate in the race, visit the TC10K website. To make a difference in the lives of 1-in-3 Canadians when you run, register to collect pledges and fundraise for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.