Chelsea Gumbley


Whitby Run to Quit Participant

Chelsea Gumbley had been smoking for 13 years, was overweight and was desperately trying to make healthier choices. “I knew I had to make a change, I had tried to quit smoking for more than 10 times and nothing seemed to stick. As scared as I was, I was willing to try anything.”

Following advice from her mother, the Whitby woman joined the Canadian Cancer Society’s Run to Quit Program which was being hosted at a Running Room store in her community. Run to Quit incorporates learning to run or walk 5 km while at the same time quitting smoking.

At first, Chelsea “hated” running but felt committed to quitting smoking and was willing to try Run to Quit. One of her biggest concerns about going smoke-free was gaining weight because it is common that people gain weight when they quit smoking. Chelsea had experienced this firsthand and didn’t want to quit and put on more pounds. She hoped that the exercise would help. Chelsea’s goal was “run until I fall in love with running”

The first few weeks of the training program were tough. “I literally cried during my first few classes. I felt frustrated that I wasn’t as fast as everyone else in the group and I struggled to run and walked at the back” Chelsea recalls. “My Run to Quit coach and group supported me through the tough times and I felt determined to keep trying to run”.

By week five Chelsea had successfully quit smoking. “Quitting smoking cleaned out my lungs and made running easier. Now, I love running and the way it makes me feel.” Chelsea quickly saw the benefits of not smoking and running which made it easy to stick with the program. She kept up her training and at the end of the clinic successfully completed her goal of running a 5 km race.

Chelsea has advice for others who may be looking to join Run to Quit but don’t think they can do it. “I am 240lbs, I smoked for 13 years and never thought I could be a runner,’ says Chelsea. “Run to Quit helped me run a 5 km race, quit smoking, and I lost 10lbs along the way. I am a runner and am going to keep it up. If I can Run to Quit, anyone can!”