Steve’s StoryPosted May 17, 2019 by Diana Sterenberg
On any given day at Chalmers Community Centre, you are likely to meet Steve coming through our door with a broad smile and a hello for anyone within earshot; often accompanied by his young son Nick.
What follows is a small part of Steve’s story as he told it to me.
Six years ago Steve arrived in Guelph from Brampton seeking a new home and a new beginning as a single father to his young Nick. Steve shared that this decision came after many life losses and recalls that it was a life-saver for both he and Nick. Steve was re evaluating his life at that time and says he knew that Nick was in need of special services that could be met in Guelph. He recalls that he had made an application to Guelph and with the help of a support worker from Two Rivers Neighborhood Group, nine months later he secured housing. He tells how Independent Living gave him a safe place to raise Nick and he expresses gratitude for his family centered housing and the resources and friendship he has found here in Guelph. Steve says he was glad to have found work in Guelph, employed by both the Tribune/Mercury and St. Andrew’s Church, and that Nick likes going to school at John F. Ross where he will graduate one year from now.
During the 1980s Steve recalls competing as a long distance runner and regretted not having time to run after those years. Upon arrival in Guelph, one of the people he made friends with was a long distance runner. She invited Steve to the “Turkey Trot” run last year at Thanksgiving. Without any training and 58 years of age, Steve says he took on the challenge. Laughingly now, he says he didn’t embarrass himself….and did okay!!
After that run Nick became interested in the Special Olympics and entered the Bacci Ball Event at the University of Guelph; Steve went along to cheer him on. Steve says that the moment he stepped on the track, he told himself “I have to get back to running.”
He says that felt great! Since then, this past New year he ran in the Ontario Masters Assoc. age 30 plus. In early January he says he attended mini meets at York University, but missed the first run because he couldn’t afford the membership and meet fee. After that disappointment, Steve says he saved up and made the second meet late in January. With no training, he entered the 60 meter hurdles, 60 meter sprints, long jump and 200 meter run. He says he felt so excited and energetic, he was up at 5 o’clock the morning of the big run at York University. He says he took the bus to the track and did it all and had great fun….and came in third!
Steve says he wanted to enter the Indoor Pentathlon; a shoulder injury got in the way and so he listened to his body. In mid February past, he says he was back again for the 60 meter sprint and the 200 meter run. Nick was there, cheering him on; Steve pulled a hamstring on the last 200, but he scored, even with the hamstring injury. Steve says he always reminds himself to listen to his body. In April, he entered the Indoor Ontario Championship and will choose the Indoor Mile and Steeple Chase. This is the only place this event is run in Canada. Steve says he is aware that most runners are very young…he is first in his age group. Steve is remarkably resourceful. With little space to train, he runs in his apartment hallway! Nick jogs too.
Now he is entering outdoor events; this summer in downtown Toronto and the CIBC Run for Cancer in September. Next year, Steve says he wants to enter the World Championship event in Toronto and is really excited about this race. At age 60 he says this race is something he has dreamed about since he was 28; it’s a once in a lifetime really exciting race. Ontario Outdoor Championship….8 weeks to go!! Steve remarks that he is back on track, allowing himself to have fun and to have his dream; to be planning Nick’s future doing well and grateful for all the the support and friendship he has received.
Steves’ Gratitude List: Victor Davis Memorial Court: Two Rivers Neighbourhood Group: Chalmers Community Centre: Hope House: WelcomeIn Drop in Centre.
I believe Steve to be a warm, kind human being. He is a courageous man, a loving father, an athlete, a good friend and a proud citizen of Guelph.
– Earlla Vickers