When Florence laces up for a run, she’s just like anyone else who loves staying active. There’s one difference however, as the woman flying past at a rapid pace is 80 years-young
Florence Barron smiles. “I’m proud that I’m as active as I am, either in volunteering my time at The Penitentiary library or at the Red Cross. But I’m also proud of my running and I don’t mind one bit the attention it brings,” she begins.
The main reason why Barron doesn’t shy away from the limelight is because she hopes her story inspires others to stay active.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cape to Cabot or the Tely 10, I beat all my records,” she says, adding that just ‘running a race’ is never enough. “You have to have a goal,” she shares.
How does the now 80 year-old do it? “I don’t know what the secret is. I always say, it’s the genes. I’m born with this desire and passion to run, skate, ski; something. It gives me such a good feeling, such a high. I crave it. I’ve always been positive about life, but being active makes things so much better.”
Barron, who’s a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, says she owes part of her love of a healthy lifestyle to the fact that she spent 30 years of her life in Labrador.
“Living in Labrador, I was always active. I had five children and raising them there we were always doing something outdoors. I would take the kids everywhere because I love doing that and I wanted us to have something fun to do together.”
‘Anything to be active’
The first time she ran the Tely 10 she was 59. While training for that year’s race was her first experience with running, she was no stranger to being active. “I just never stop. And I don’t want to,” she says with a laugh.
Barron trains with the Running Room, dedicating five days a week to her passion. She also skis, skates, swims and does yoga, just for good measure.
“Anything to be active. I do something active every day, I love it.”
While her running mates at the Running Room are younger than she is, everyone encourages one another.
“When I’m with the group, they are younger than me but they are a good group. The younger people say; you are so inspirational, but I think we inspire each other. We also encourage and support each other.”
Barron’s husband passed away seven years ago. Running helped her deal with his illness, she says quietly.
“When my husband was sick, he had Alzheimer’s, running was certainly therapy for me. It was my way of coping. It was difficult. I would go run or swim. It always helped me deal with everything.”
How often are people shocked when they hear her age? Always, she laughs.“People can’t believe it. They want to know what I do and what I eat.”
She says the only advice she can offer is; move! “There’s no tricks. I just keep active. I just do my own thing.”
Barron has passed the active gene onto her kids, she says proudly. She just came back from visiting three of her daughters in Calgary and says ‘we didn’t stop.’
“We went hiking and walking and we did not stop having fun. They know what I’m like. We kept moving.”
What’s the best thing about her life these days? “Running is up there. It has given me the ability to stay happy. I’m never down. Running keeps me up.”
Barron also says she loves it when she’s ‘fussed over.’ “I don’t shy away from the attention. When someone makes a big deal, I’m very proud, and my kids are always bragging about me. That makes me as happy as keeping moving does.”