Karine Bellemare

My Way Section – Spring 2017

A regular smoker since the age of 18, Karine reached a point where she was fed up with smoking; having to step outside for a puff, smelling of cigarettes and most of all, being constantly out of breath. She found that cigarettes and the need to smoke had too much of a hold on her. Over the past few years, she started making a lot of choices for her well-being and quitting smoking was one of them. “I wanted to choose me!” she says.

Karine loves challenges! Mother of a 7-year-old girl, Karine wants to be a model for her daughter and show her that you can achieve anything when you’re really determined. After making many attempts to quit, she signed up for Run to Quit in January 2017. “I always dreamed of running, but I was afraid of what others would think.” When she was younger, some of the aftereffects of physical exertion had become obstacles for her, but Karine decided to overcome this fear so that she could start exercising and take better care of her health.

Running helped her take her mind off smoking and control the urge to light up. To motivate herself further, she registered for a 5-km race with a friend. Having a goal encouraged her to persist and get outside to run even if it required a lot of effort, especially in her first days of training. “I’m not an Olympic athlete, but I run at my own pace. After running, I feel good and I breathe so much better!” she says.

After her first 5-km race, she mentioned how “it was an incredible moment. I was really proud when I crossed the finish line. My mother and my daughter were waiting for me at the end. They encouraged me throughout the race. The nicest thing about it is that my daughter also wants to take part in a race after seeing me doing one.”

Since January 2017, Karine is officially a non-smoker. She’s proud of her victory over cigarettes and pats herself on the back for her perseverance that got her there. After her first Run to Quit experience, she participated in other events. She now wishes to slowly increase her running speed, always at her own pace. Karine is determined to take part in many more races and maybe one day … run 10 km!