An amazing running resume

Carol Ferris of Eastern Passage has run 30 full marathons and 275 road races.

Published in: Weekly News
Written by: Joanne Oostveen
Photo by: Gail Kanasevich

When 51-year-old Carol Ferris laces up her sneakers to go for a run she doesn’t even think about complaining about the rain, fog or sometimes hilly routes near her Eastern Passage home, because this runner has plodded through much worse.

From coast to coast and across Bosnia and even Afghanistan, Ferris has chalked up an amazing running resume.

“I have run 30 full marathons and 275 road races overall,” said Ferris, who has been in the military since her early 20s.

But back when she first started running in Sydney Mines in 1974, the sport was simpler. There were no computer chips, no GPS watches and no dry fit clothing. There was a guy at the starting line with a stop watch and maybe a starting pistol to get you moving.

As a young teen she knew she loved the sport and she stood out in a field of mostly sweaty male bodies. There were times she challenged the men she raced against and many times she beat them.

“I ran my first race at the Ben Buffett in New Waterford and continued to race in every run in every little Cape Breton community from spring until the fall,” she said. “I adapted to it right away and really enjoyed it.”

It was after Ferris joined the military that her running career took a different turn. She was posted all across the country and had to learn to adapt to each new city, new faces and new experiences.

“Racing became a constant. The military promotes physical fitness so I just kept it up. There were races in Ottawa, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg and Edmonton.”

Ferris didn’t stop, even when serving three tours to Bosnia and two to Afghanistan.

“It was dangerous at times to keep up the training, but I didn’t stop. I would run around the airfield at 4:30 in the morning. It was often extremely hot and I could hear incoming rockets,” she said.

Being caught in a sandstorm in Afghanistan sticks out in Ferris’ mind as being one of the most challenging runs she has ever had.

“When I set out to run it was a beautiful, clear and sunny day. But I remember looking up and saw a wall of sand sweeping across the sky. There was nothing I could do. I was by myself and was blinded by the sandstorm. I had to lie down on the ground and wait for someone to find me for it to pass. Thankfully I saw the headlights of a vehicle coming towards me and I knew then I would be okay.”

Running also kept Ferris busy in Afghanistan with something besides work.

“When you are there you are there to work. But they did have a running challenge that I took part in. There was a competition to run across Afghanistan. You would move a pin across a map to indicate how far you had run. The goal was to do 1,200 kilometers while in theater. I ended up doing 1,750 kilometers in four months.”

Ferris will be running in the full marathon this Sept. 15 at the Maritime Race Weekend at Fisherman’s Cove.