The rhythm of his feet hitting the pavement, mixed with the steady beat of his heart is the soundtrack of musician Steve Monteith life. However, It wasn’t always this way for the 48 year old marathon runner. In fact, it wasn’t until his late 30’s that Steve discovered running as a passion. After facing severe anxiety and serious physical ailments, running has helped Steve push past the pain and get his life back on track.
During his late teens and into his early 30’s Steve was the lead guitar player for his band Star Collector and while the life of a rock star does come with its perks, it wasn’t all glitz and glamour for Steve. After 12 years on the road, the rock and roll culture began to take a toll on Steve’s mental and physical health. Steve began to suffer from severe anxiety, suffering from negative thoughts and struggling daily with bringing energy and an entertaining presence for the band. One day feeling exhausted from the unbalanced lifestyle Steve finally ran out of gas.
“Life on the road means driving all the time, staying up late, eating bar food, smoking, drinking the free booze for the band and waking up to do it again”
It was then that Steve decided to quit smoking cold turkey and his wife encouraged him to go on runs with her. “It was a slow process” he says “At first I could barely make it around the block without passing out, however I started getting used to the routine. I began to feel a real sense of calm and accomplishment after every run”. The anxiety and negative thoughts became silent by the sound of his footfalls and laboured breath. Running casually became a way to cope with his stress but soon enough, Steve got hooked on the runner’s high.
At 41 Steve decided to train for his first half marathon. “The first one was terrible” he says “It was so painful that I ended up limping for the majority of it”. Although it was challenging, Steve refused to give up, sharing, “even though it was awful I was inspired because I knew I could do better”. It wasn’t long before he did his second marathon and he now has 12 marathons under his belt. Running gave him a sense of accomplishment and energy that carried over into the rest of his life. “I found that I just felt better” says Steve, “I was sleeping and eating better. I had more energy during the day. Overall I felt more creative, stimulated and inspired about life in general.”
Steve, who doesn’t consider himself to be a very outgoing person, challenged himself to lead marathon clinics. Finding a place for himself in the supportive community of his fellow runners it was there that he found more inspiration. “Crossing the finish line is awesome” he says “but supporting others reach their goals has been equally rewarding”.
“RunGo has been very helpful because now that I’m not able to run the routes, I’ve done before, finding new routes keeps it interesting on my road to recovery”
Steve was recently diagnosed with myelitis, an ailment which involves lesions on the spinal cord and running is what allows him handle the repercussions. “Running has taught me mental toughness and how to cope with tough situations” he says. Even through his illness, his eagerness for running adventures has not changed. However, easing back into running has been challenging. “RunGo has been extremely helpful in my recovery” Steve shares. Using RunGo, Steve has been able to discover new local routes and places to run that fit with his recovery training program. As previous running routes proved to be too challenging, finding new routes shared by the local run community helped him source different terrain.
Even as Steve encounters more obstacles in his path he is able to find strength to move forward as he continues his run journey without looking back.
WestVanRun Photos by Shannon Banal