Family Of Eight Runs For Health

The Chicoine Family’s Cross-Country Marathon

My family of eight, as one recent article stated, is running around this year. A family foot relay run around the North American continent. Vancouver, BC to St. John’s, Nfld. down the eastern seaboard to Washington, DC veering west again to San Diego, CA and then north to complete our circle where we started in Vancouver.

It’s an ambitious project but we’re having lots of fun and working on building public awareness of how important physical activity is to individual health and wellness. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that this generation of children will be the first that won’t outlive their parents because of lifestyle choices. Degenerative diseases are occurring much earlier in life amongst the North American population including children; physical activity and diet are the two most determining factors.

As a mom of six young adults, I find this scary and Ed, my partner, has encountered plenty of degenerative disease in clients of his Chiropractic Wellness Clinic where many problems could have been prevented by simply transforming a few lifestyle habits.

The seed for our journey was planted in 1980. Ed saw Terry Fox running—hopping on Highway 69 and was so in awe, he was inspired to “someday” run across Canada. Since he isn’t getting any younger, he decided it had to be this year. At Christmas, he announced the project to our six children (ages 17 to 26) and one by one, they put their lives on hold to join him. The adventure took on new life and distance. As the 54-year-old mom, it was not something I thought I would be up to, I like my comfortable house, but…

Before we had kids, Ed ran and I cycled with him. Now, into my menopausal years, it’s just as important to stay active. I’m along too, cycling again and together we are getting to know the country at 10K an hour on top of growing fit. I feel great, looking better every day and it’s hard to be in an RV with all our kids! Yoga has always been my thing to maintain sanity. While my children were little, a weekly class focused on me, helped to tone muscles, calm chatter in my head and made it easier to smile. Faster physical activity was a family affair, hiking, swimming, skiing, soccer and just playing together. The kids needed to be physically active daily; if they weren’t, we’d all go crazy.

I believe this healthy life pattern created the possibility for “the kids” to join their father in his dream-goal. You don’t have to be crazy like us and run 90 to 140K per day to be physically fit. We are doing this to draw attention to the fact that just turning the TV off for a while and doing something physically active together will do wonders for family, and health.

Have a Healthy, Happy, Active and Yummy Summer.


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Gaye Chicoine is an adventurer, photographer by trade, writer by circumstance, mom to 6 great young adults and partner to husband Ed. She loves to cook with local, seasonal and traditional foods and writes a recipe column in her weekly local paper.

In 1997, she and Ed packed up their young children and drove from Canada to the bottom of South America and back on a 3-year journey. This year her grown family is on a new adventure of running around the North American continent. She's almost afraid to wonder what's next! Check them out at