Saturday, March 22, 2008

On the run - Kinesiologist Stan Chaisson & PEI In Motion

Stan Chaisson, owner of P.E.I. In Motion, works with UPEI student Katie Younker on a training program.
His business is working with people to reach their running and fitness goals. Guardian photo by Jim Day

The Guardian

Stan Chaisson, who hit the ground running early in life, has headed full stride into his young business called PEI In Motion.

The 25-year-old certified Charlottetown kinesiologist has had a passion to run dating back at least to Grade 1, when he always found himself, at or near, the front of the pack.

He grew up in Bear River, located west of Souris, in a fine-tuned fiddle family.

All of his siblings — Stephen, Bradley, Andrew and Melanie — can rosin’ up the bow with considerable skill. His mother, Doreen, may not have the Chaisson fiddle genes, but she can do a fancy step dance or two.
Stan Chaisson’s father, Peter, would commonly awaken the household by eagerly playing the fiddle.
“The alarm clock was fiddle music and it still is when I go visit,’’ said Chaisson. “My father plays every morning, pretty much.’’
Retired from his former work as a labourer in the Georgetown Shipyard, Peter is pivotal in putting on the long-running Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival each summer. Peter also likes his adult children, Stan included, to fiddle as a family.

“I can always do enough to get by,’’ said Stan Chaisson.

But he has been, for as long as he can remember, far more focused on moving his feet fast than in trying to race a bow across strings. Chaisson was a boy on the run.

“Right after school, our book bags didn’t even make it into the house before we were playing soccer on our field or in our front yard,’’ he said.

A natural athlete, Chaisson was big into high school sports, playing basketball, badminton and especially shining as a soccer player. He was named MVP and most sportsmanlike player one year for the Souris Regional High School soccer squad.

He still plays soccer today, in the men’s senior league, and has also taken a serious hand at squash.
But running — running far and running fast — has always been Chaisson’s greatest passion.
Adrenaline rushes and nervous energy before a race still have him eager to toe the starting line.
In Grade 8, he won an Atlantic cross-country running championship.

He raced across the Confederation Bridge in 1997, in the run to mark the official opening of the fixed link. Only 14 at the time, he finished in the top 50 among the thousands, including many seasoned runners, who laced up for the 13-kilometre run.

Chaisson won the provincial cross-country championship in every single one of his high school years.
Then he shot through Dalhousie University, picking up along the way in 2005 a bachelor of science in kinesiology — the study of the mechanics of motion with respect to the human anatomy. He was named Atlantic University Sport (AUS) rookie of the year for cross country in his first year at Dal.

In 2004, he received Canadian Inter-University Sport Cross-Country All-Canadian honours. The following year, he was named Atlantic champion in the 3,000 metres.

His fastest 10-kilometre race at Dalhousie — a time of 32 minutes and nine seconds — came in his fourth year.
He hasn’t slowed down much since returning to the Island to start his P.E.I. In Motion business.

He has won the Prince Edward Island half marathon the past two years running, accomplishing the feat in a mere one hour, 12 minutes and 14 seconds in 2007.

Chaisson hopes to work his way up to taking competitive runs at big marathons, like the ones in Boston and New York City.

He is certainly used to, well, running around. He has travelled throughout Canada, the United States and most recently Europe to compete in various national and international races.

He feels through his long-running running experiences and his training at Dalhousie, he has learned the skills needed to help motivate and inspire others.

Others agree.

Blair Cutcliffe, Joints in Motion co-ordinator with the Arthritis Society, P.E.I. division, is thrilled with Chaisson’s talent to work people into shape.

Chaisson is now in his second year of training people for Joints in Motion, a program designed to raise funds for the Arthritis Society by people who train to complete a marathon in one of any number of spectacular locales, such as Dublin, Ireland.

“Stanley has been fantastic,’’' said Cutcliffe.

“Stanley is quite well rounded and is able to help anyone regardless of their experience.’’

Last year, for example, Chaisson worked with a 56-year-old woman who has arthritis.

He included getting her into a pool to train, helping reduce the strain on her body. The woman went on to walk a full marathon in Athens, Greece — home to this long run that dates back some 2,500 years — in a time that was 45 minutes faster than her previous best.

Charlottetown lawyer Brian McKenna also put his faith in Chaisson to help in running his first ever marathon in 2007. He is full of praise for Chaisson’s structured and personable approach.

“Stanley is great because he is so encouraging,’’ said McKenna, who successfully completed the Prince Edward Island Marathon last year.

“He’s sincere. Even if you are just hobbling around, he makes you feel great.’’

Chaisson was named male runner of the year for 2007 by the P.E.I. RoadRunners Club, an honour awarded not only on the basis of a runner’s race times but also on his involvement in club activities and on his promotion of the sport of running in P.E.I.

His clientele range from elite athletes like Tyler Reid, a nationally ranked triathlete, to people who have never trained to run signing up for his introductory classes.

“You get all shapes and sizes,’’ he said. “It’s amazing to see how people improve by training properly.’’
Chaisson said challenging people to improve their fitness is a rewarding job.

“It’s the best feeling to see someone reach their goal and know you had something to do with it,’’ he said. "It’s awesome.’’

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