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Dr. Jocelyn Foran Gives Kids at Port Williams Elementary A Running Start

When she realized her local elementary school didn’t have a Kids’ Run Club, Dr. Jocelyn Foran took the lead.

“There is no greater stress reliever than a good run,” says Dr. Jocelyn Foran, an anaesthesiologist at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, N.S. “Running has been like a good friend to me; I’ve always loved it.”

When Dr. Foran learned that her sons’ school, Port Williams Elementary School, didn’t have its own Kids’ Run Club (KRC), and that the school’s gym teacher couldn’t offer the program, she decided to take it on herself.

“I thought, this is important; I’ll take the time off work and make this happen,” she says.

Dr. Foran wrapped up her third year of coaching in June. About 90 students from grades two to five participated this year, with the season culminating in a trip to the DNS Youth Run at the Blue Nose Marathon.

It’s all part of Dr. Foran’s larger goal: to help Nova Scotians lead healthier, more active lives.

“I see how many of my patients struggle because of lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise and poor diet,” she says. “It is our role as physicians to get the word out to a new generation of Nova Scotians about the value of physical activity.”

Being involved with the KRC enables Dr. Foran to help kids build healthy habits from an early age. In addition to coaching, she teaches the kids about good nutrition, providing healthy snacks each week.

“Lots of kids shy away from fruit and vegetables,” she says, “but when they’re snacking after a run, there’s a certain appeal.”

Her efforts have a positive effect outside the school, too.

“We talk about adults being role models for kids, but in this case, the kids are role models for their parents,” she says. “I love hearing parents say their kids ‘dragged’ them out for a run.”

“I think it’s important that physicians act as role models. We need to demonstrate that physical activity is important, and that you can incorporate it into your day. You need to make it a priority.”

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