Nat Couture, 35, has always enjoyed outdoor physical activity, spending the majority of his childhood in the woods, even working in the woods through high school and university. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science, Nat left the physical labor jobs behind in favour of a more cozy desk job, but quickly found himself looking for a physical outlet to blow off some steam on weekends. He initially found adventure racing and fell in love with the sport, completing over 30 adventure races before making the transition to ultramarathons. The introduction to running began as a way to get fit for adventure racing, but soon became the main physical outlet after his first son was born, in 2010. Running was easier to schedule around family activities and gave Nat more time at home with his wife and two young boys, now 4 and 6, who often accompany Nat to his races.Nat now races 2-3 ultramarathons a year and typically looks for races that are both beautiful and challenging. He has completed some of the toughest races in the world having completed UTMB in 2013, Ultra Trail du Mont Albert in 2014, and Fatdog 120 in 2015, with aspirations of completing Hardrock and Western States. He also races frequently close to home having raced Vermont 100M(3 times), Brookvale 50k, Wascally Wabbit 50M (4 times). Nat also spends a lot of time playing in the woods nearby, running most local trail races and making regular trips around Chignecto, in Baxter State Park and on the Fundy Footpath.
Ryan O'Shea has been running marathons for the past 10 years, but it has only been in the last 3 years that things have really started to click. He has completed over 10 marathons, with wins in the last 3 Marathon by the Sea races, as well as the 2015 Legs for Literacy Marathon, and the 2016 Fredericton Marathon. He has been a finalist for RunNB male runner of the year the past two seasons.
With a wife and 2 young kids, running is the perfect sport as it gives him the flexibility to train in the early mornings and afternoons usually to and from work. You can usually see Ryan twice daily on the New Maryland highway.
Shelley Doucet, of Quispamsis NB, is a mother of two and Professor in Nursing. In 2013, Shelley and her husband were busy with two young children and demanding jobs and discovered they could save half the time if they took their dogs running each day instead of their normal walk. In addition to the time saved, Shelley discovered her love for the sport and shortly after ran her first race and became hooked. In her first year of racing, Shelley won 13 races and had the best women’s time in NB for the 5km, 10km, 10 mile, and half marathon distances. In her only attempt at the 10 mile distance, she broke the NB record by almost 6 minutes. She also broke 10 course records in 2014, most by several minutes.
In 2015, Shelley had four solid months of racing sandwiched between two unfortunate injury setbacks. Despite this, she won multiple provincial titles, broke provincial records, set course records in all but one race, and had the fastest 5km, 5 mile, 10km, 10 mile, 15km, half marathon, and marathon times for the year. The highlight of Shelley’s 2015 season was running a 2:50:51 marathon in Sugarloaf, Maine not long after returning from not running all winter due to injury. She won the female title of the Sugarloaf Marathon by 20 minutes and finished 6th overall by performing a 2 minute negative split (1:24 second half). This ended up being the fastest marathon time in Atlantic Canada for women and one of the top times in the country for 2015. Shelley was named the NB runner of the year in 2014 (shared with Paula Keating) and again in 2015. In 2016, Shelley ran the Boston Marathon with her sister and then decided she needed a change from the road and ventured out on the trails. Despite only starting trail running in June, she won and set a course record in all 6 trail races that she did this year, including outright wins, some by several minutes. The highlight of her year to date has been breaking Patty Blanchard’s half marathon course record at the Demi Marathon de L’Acadie in September, with a time of 1:19:38. The Demi Marathon has been held monthly since 1987 and therefore has been run 347 times. Shelley now holds more than 15 course records on the road and trail.Shelley’s running has made a mark on the triathlon scene as well. In her first triathlon, she competed in the Hampton Ladies Sprint and came in first place among almost 200 women, largely because of her fast run. In her second triathlon, she took on the challenge of a half ironman and came in 3rd place overall and first in her age group (among the non pro), which ranked her ahead of all other NB female competitors.