Running a marathon is no small feat, and for Duane Yeomans, Owner and Director of the Dartmouth and Halifax Campuses, training for his first marathon was a life-changing experience. Born with his feet turned in to close to 90 degrees, both of Duane’s legs were put into casts and he spent a considerable amount of time at physiotherapy to realign his feet. As a result, running wasn’t an activity that Duane enjoyed growing up. “I grew up having pain in my ankles when I ran, and I chose to blame it on a physical limitation. In actuality, the pain was probably caused by weak ankles due to lack of exercise.” After his daughter was born, Duane decided to add some cardio to his standard weight training regime and gave running another chance. “Running is something I truly enjoy now, and I have never run with a negative attitude about it. I look forward to my long runs on Saturdays because I have that alone time to think and physically push myself.”
Less than one year after graduating from Mount Alison University in March, 1992, Duane chose to start his career in education at AOLC because the way AOLC accommodates the unique needs of every student. He believes in the system and what is stands for so much he opened the Dartmouth Campus in 1995 and took over operations of the Halifax Campus in 2005. “I take the time to invest in and find out who each potential student is and what he/she is about. I’m a firm believer that the degree in which we enter the lives of our students is the degree in which we have positive influence in their lives. This approach builds genuine trust and is a spring board for changing lives.”
The idea of Duane running a marathon originated from one of his I.T. students. Running was a topic that the two regularly discussed during their weekly conversations, and one day the student suggested Duane challenge himself by entering the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax in May, 2012. “Initially I rebuffed the idea. After all, I hated running as a kid. After several conversations about it I decided to challenge myself privately and see how far I was capable of running. I reached 30 km before I ‘hit the wall’ and was forced to stop and sit on the road.” It was at that moment that Duane decided he was going to need a training plan to complete the Blue Nose Marathon.
“I praise my students’ talents every day, and I remind them to never put limitations on themselves. You really can do anything you put your positive mind to!”
Duane didn’t think twice about committing to the challenge of preparing to run a 42.2 km race even though there was only three months until the race. “I registered for the full marathon because I’m self-driven, and I don’t like to commit to things on a partial basis. I knew I could do the full marathon, and I wanted to test myself.” His small frame and self-driven mindset were two essential ingredients in his recipe for success. The third came in the form of a course offered by AOLC, Thought Patterns for a Successful CareerTM. Designed to expose students to concepts that can significantly change their lives, this course teaches students persistence and high achievement skills using humour and practical examples which was exactly what Duane needed. “I’ve always been interested in self-help courses. I love to read and I especially love to grow as a person through learning. The Thought Patterns for a Successful CareerTM course was fantastic! It is all about positive outlook and cognitively growing to succeed, and it can be a life changing course if one has an open mind for change.”
After three months of intense training, Duane completed the 2012 Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon in 4:25:11! Proud of what he was able to achieve, he turned his focus to training for a second marathon in PEI in October, 2012. With six months to train for the BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon, Duane added a new element to his training regime inspired by what he learned from the Thought Patterns for a Successful CareerTM course. “I prepared a running affirmation that I could complete a marathon in under 3 hours and 45 minutes. I would read this affirmation on my mobile phone every day. My result: 3:44:44!”
In 2013, Duane completed the Blue Nose Marathon in 3:55:10. His 10 year old daughter joined him on race day and completed the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run (4 km) in about 35 minutes. Duane is considering running the marathons held in each of Canada’s provincial capital cities, and with 2 down he has 8 marathons to complete. He isn’t formally training for any races at the moment, but he may run the 2014 Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon in May. Duane credits his students for inspiring him to step outside of his comfort zone. “I praise my students’ talents every day, and I remind them to never put limitations on themselves. You really can do anything you put your positive mind to!”