Masters athlete of the year went from endurance swimming to running
© Submitted photo
Mike Gaudet won the masters award. From left are Sport P.E.I. director Paul Jenkins, Gaudet and ADL rep Gail Ellis.
Michael Gaudet was 11 years old when he was inspired to get involved in sports.
It came in 1964 when the Flying Dutchman, Herman Willemse, got out of the water in Borden after swimming across the Northumberland Strait from Cape Tormentine, N.B.
“That seed was planted and swimming played a large role for years,” Gaudet said.
He was a Red Cross instructor in the 1960s and a National Park surfguard in the 1970s.
“I could not get the Northumberland Strait swim out of my mind and dreamed of concurring it,” Gaudet said.
He did that and then some, swimming 32 kilometres to Summerside on Aug. 2, 1986. “It took three years and five attempts, but as my wife Faye says, ‘I’m stubborn with a smile,’” Gaudet said.
His focus later changed to running, as he said, when he got tired of getting cold. “The goal was just to stay in the physical shape swimming provided,” Gaudet said. “When starting out in running I never thought of a marathon as a goal, but slowly through time the distance became doable.”
Gaudet recently received the Sport P.E.I. masters award. Stick curling’s Ruth Stavert and cross-country skiing’s Paul Wright were the finalists.
At the 2013 BMO P.E.I. Marathon, Gaudet ran a personal best of 3:14:30, winning the 60 to 69 division and placing 15th overall. He also turned in strong results at the Wascally Wabbit 80km trail run (9:47:31), the Age of Sails Marathon in Port Greville, N.S., (first overall in 3:32:54) and the Maritime Race Weekend at Fisherman’s Cove, N.S., (10th overall in 3:32:17).
“What makes distance running such a draw is not the finish line, but the journey it takes to get to the start,” Gaudet said. “By putting in your mind and mantra your best is yet to come, you and you alone get to set the bar in describing that best.”
Gaudet, who turns 61 this month, said he has plenty of personal best in his sight for the future.
“I don’t call it training any more, I just call it running,” he said.
He is more than halfway through his goal of running each day for a year – a goal he dedicated to two friends. And 1,000 straight days of running will occur on his father’s birthday on Aug. 12, 2016.
“Long distance runners need to set long-distance goals,” he said.