Running 42 for 42

 Matt Whitman and Rene Saulnier

Published in: Weekly News
Written by: Joanne Oostveen

Three men, three different lives, but one goal.

Rene Saulnier, Darren Kaulback and Matt Whitman have decided to celebrate turning 42 this year by running 42 kilometers at the Maritime Race Weekend on Sept. 15.

“When I hit 40 in 2010, I was at my heaviest,” said Saulnier.”I had high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes was right around the corner, as my doctor put it.”

But finding a buddy to run with kept Saulnier on his toes, in his sneakers and out running the roads. To him, the support was invaluable.

“I met Matt at my church and running with him has kept me going. He originally had the idea of running a full marathon, 42 kilometers this year to celebrate his birthday.”

Then, as runners often do, their group multiplied.

“But then we met Darren at two different races, a 5K and 10K, and got to know him and he joined us for runs at Sunnyside Mall at our usual spot. It just happens that all three of us were turning 42 and we decided to do the full at the Maritime Race Weekend,” said Saulnier.

“Most winters I slack off, stay inside and stay warm,” said Whitman. “I put on some pounds and then start again in the spring. This year my buddies and I ran all winter.”

Whitman said he agrees with Saulnier that finding some good running friends helps to keep you accountable.

Darren Kaulback runs in last summer’s Natal Day race.
The third runner to join their trio was Darren Kaulback.

“I met Rene and Matt at a race last fall. We finished in 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the race,” said Kaulback.

Stacy Chesnutt, a marathoner and co-race director of the Maritime Race Weekend, says these three guys running 42K for their 42nd birthdays is brilliant.

“I may even have to borrow that one,” she says. “I hardly need an excuse to run another marathon, but they have inspired even me with this goal.”

Each person has had some challenges along the way and some stories to back up their journey.

And no one knows who will be the first of the trio to cross the finish line on race day. Or at least they are not saying so out loud.

“I remember Matt texting me his time when I got back to my car when we first started to run together,” said Saulnier. ” I was cut like a barrel and 50 pounds overweight then. That was my motivation to kick his butt and we’ve been competitive with each other ever since. It will be a great marathon.”