Category Archives: media

Run4Dreams in Victoria Sports News

I’m very excited to see that the results of Run4Dreams 2017 have been featured in Victoria Sports News.

Not only that, but our friends at Victoria Sports News also have a special promotional coupon code for 15% off registration for the 2018 Run4Dreams.

Below is a screenshot of the article.

When you click on the picture, it will take you straight to the Victoria Sports News article.

As a runner, you may be wondering: Why should I take part in Run4Dreams?

Here are all the reasons to take part in Run4Dreams:

  1. 100% of the net proceeds will be donated to Help Fill a Dream Foundation
  2. It allows you to take part in a 5k race on your own time and at your own convenience
  3. You automatically get entered to win awesome draw prizes
  4. The official Run4Dreams endur athletic socks are free with your registration (1 pair per person)
  5. You become part of a mission to make the world a better place.
  6. It enables you to be part of a supportive online community of runners and walkers of all levels
  7. Registration fees are reasonably priced (about the price of a beer and burger)
  8. You will be inspired by other Run4Dreams participants
  9. There are cash prizes for fastest time as well as most creative run.

This is definitely one of the easiest ways in which you can make a difference in the community. The goal of Run4Dreams is to make things better and to raise money for a great charity.

I’m so incredibly grateful for the Run4Dreams participants and draw prize sponsors who came on board in 2017. I’m also really grateful that I met the folks at Q Academy who are working with me to help me grow Run4Dreams in 2018. Last, but not least, I want to thank Chris Kelsall of VIctoria Sports News for featuring the Run4Dreams story.

Join us in making the world a better place 🙂

MEDIA RELEASE: Running 60k to Help Fill A Dream

VICTORIA, BC- On July 26, Jerry Hughes and his coach, Yana Hempler, will be running 60k from Duncan to Victoria in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream. Hughes and his siblings were born with a rare disease called Gardner’s Syndrome. This disease took his father’s life at an early age of 33, since it was not diagnosed early enough. Gardner’s Syndrome is both a rare and aggressive genetic disorder, which means that if it’s not detected early, the prognosis is not good, with the average life expectancy of 35-45 years old.


Jerry’s fitness journey began about 2 years ago. He started with bootcamp, then went on to Fight 4 The Cause, which transformed his life both physically and mentally.

Shortly thereafter, he entered the TC 10k and then Oak Bay half, completing the two distances in 44:43 and 1:40:43, respectively. “These are not typical times for first time 10k and half marathon runners,” said coach Yana Hempler.

“At that point, I realized that I had some natural ability as a runner, but needed help, so I got Yana Hempler to coach me. I have done a series of runs since then and I keep on getting better. Now, I’m doing marathons and ultra marathons as well as many other races. I’m doing it to show my sons, who have a 50% chance of getting my disease, to not let the illness define their life but that they should carve their own path regardless of the circumstances,” said Hughes.

Jerry Hughes is using running to work for a charity that’s close to his heart, Help Fill a Dream Foundation. His disorder is so rare that he and his siblings went on a dream vacation to Disney Land when they were teenagers.

“I’m extremely proud of the progress that Jerry has made since we started working together. He improved his TC 10k time by 5 minutes and took over 12 minutes off his half marathon time. I’m excited to be a part of his journey because I know that he is going places. He never gives up until he achieves his goals, never makes excuses and that’s admirable,” said Yana Hempler when asked about what it’s like to work with Hughes.

Jerry’s goal is to inspire other people who have rare disorders to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.”The mind is a powerful tool and you can do anything you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Carve your own path and you will inspire the world,” stated Jerry Hughes. 


Those interested in making a donation or sponsoring the run can do so through Canada Helps or contact Jerry Hughes at jhugh30 (at) hotmail (dot) com

For media relations contact Yana Hempler at yhempler (at) gmail (dot) com


My Top 10 Moments of 2013

Since this is the time for “best of 2013” lists, I’ve decided to come up with my own list. 🙂

Some of the things on the list are fitness related, while others-not so much. However, all of them relate to achieving goals that were set anywhere between 1-3 years ago and I’m extremely happy to have been able to achieve. 

Three years ago, if I told someone I was going to run a marathon, I’m sure they would just laugh at me because honestly,  I couldn’t run one block (about 400m) without feeling like I just ran 100km.

The marathon has always been a distant goal of mine (no pun intended), even when I was younger, but I never thought that 1.I could finish one 2. that I could finish in the top 10% of all finishers and 3. that I would qualify for Boston on my first try. 

I feel that 2013 has truly been amazing! Honestly, I could not have predicted or asked for a better year (apart from winning the lottery, which would have allowed me to afford all the race entries and travel to all the marathons on my bucket list…haha).

Seriously though, I have to do a ton of work in 2014 to match what happened in 2013. I’m ready for that challenge.

Overall, I feel extremely thankful and fortunate for the opportunities that I’ve had in 2013 and for the people that came into my life. I’m so happy to have experienced these top 10 moments this past year.

1. Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013. Starting in Port Hardy and finishing in Victoria, it was 500km of running for great local charities, including the Mustard Seed Food Bank, Recreation Integration Victoria and BC SPCA. We met a lot of awesome people along the way and it was fun.


A huge thank you to everyone who supported this endeavor:  sponsors, media and event co-ordinator/good friend Ian Simpson.  I enjoyed every kilometer of the run from start to finish and would gladly do something like this again if the opportunity arose.


2. Receiving my Bachelor of Commerce Degree. Having been in school for more than half my life, the fact that I finished it was a huge relief.  School work is a lot like marathon training because you get out exactly what you put in.

Also, just because I’m finished school, does not mean that I’m finished learning. Learning is a lifelong pursuit and now it’s time to go out there, learn more, embrace new challenges, do more, make a difference in other people’s lives, set bigger goals and reach the full potential.

3. Getting fully certified as a personal trainer. I’ve always had the passion for fitness and there is nothing more rewarding than helping clients achieve their fitness goals. I’m thrilled to be working in this industry.

I believe in my clients and I know that with the right guidance they are destined to achieve their goals, no matter how big those goals may be.


4.  Breaking 20 minutes in the 5k (19:25). The 5k is a unique distance in a sense that demands more from you as a runner than just logging in hundreds of miles or sprinting like crazy. I find it to be a very tough race, just like the 8k because it’s neither long distance nor short distance. In order to run a perfect 5k, a perfect 5k specific training plan has to be completed.

It’s just as challenging to design the perfect 5k plan as it is to run one, especially for someone like me, who is a long distance runner. Previously to breaking 20 minutes in a 5k, I would always finish the race in around 21-22 minutes, which I admit is not that fast. That day though, it went extremely well and I’m hoping to improve even more in my next 5k that I do.

5.  Paying off my student loan. I had to take out about a $4,500 student loan when I was in my 3rd year of university because of the order in which I decided to do my academic terms. It just so happened that instead of doing a co-op work term and making some money, I decided to do an academic term, which meant that I had to borrow money.

I’m fortunate enough to have been able to pay it back within 6 months after graduation so that I could focus my efforts on building my business rather than worrying about my loan. For that, I’m thankful!

6. Competing in my first fitness competition. I believe that training for a fitness competition is as challenging as training for a marathon both mentally and physically. Both marathons and fitness competitions require a lot of commitment and dedication.

I had a lot of fun at the competition and met some great people who share my passion for fitness. Also, a photo of me alongside the other fitness competitors made it into Inside Fitness Magazine.


7. Running a personal best and finishing 2nd in my age group in the TC 10k. The TC 10k is a big race with thousands of runners. Whenever I do a race, I’m always looking to beat my previous time in that distance. Whether or not I place is not as important to me as continuous self-improvement. With that being said, I like to finish closer the front and will always do my best.

TC10K medal

8.  Personal best in the Victoria Marathon. Given that I was sick the weekend of the race, I honestly didn’t have a lot of expectations and I certainly didn’t expect to run a personal best. At one point, I was even concerned that I wasn’t going  to start the race, but I did anyways.

When I reached the 36km mark and still felt good, I knew that I was going to finish and do well. I crossed the line in 3:25:45, which is a 2+ minute improvement from my previous personal best. My average pace was 4:53 per km. I placed 2nd in my age group and 217th/1726.


9. Being around awesome people. I love to be around positive people who support each other. Having people around you who support each other and who support your goals is very important. I’m glad I found that.

10. Studio 4 Athletics became my main place of business as a personal trainer. The owners of Studio 4 and I share the same values with regards to helping people, which is why I believe it’s a good fit for me.

Also, the Studio 4 team genuinely cares about helping the customers improve their lives as opposed to just making sales. After all, the well-being of my clients is my priority and I’m happy to have found a place where we all share that same priority.


I have set some new goals for 2014 and I look forward to achieving them. 🙂


Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: Getting to Nanaimo

Getting from Courtenay to Nanaimo took a few days. The distance between those two cities is 110km, so unless you’re a member of the Tarahumara tribe or a seasoned ultra-marathoner like Dean Karnazes, it’s not recommended that you run that distance.

Did you know that the Tarahumara, also known as “The Running People”, who live in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, can cover unbelievable distances of up to 320km at once? All of a sudden, my 50km personal best doesn’t look too unbelievable.

Every night of the entire run, I was reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which gave me many amazing insights into the world of distance running (more on that in a different post). It’s also where I learned more about the Tarahumara.

Although I am not running such huge distances now, one day I will. Yes, I ran 50km not too long ago and at this point, it’s my personal best. Yes, I would like to increase it but it will take time and I’m willing to put the effort into it. Gradually, I will work up to doing an ultra race.

To be exact, the 110km was split into 3 days. This means that I was running a bit less than a marathon a day. Any distance between 30-40km became comfortable to me especially because I wasn’t going at race pace.

Some highlights/memorable moments from that stretch of the road:

We met up with the Boomer’s Legacy riders in Courtenay. The organization is named after Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, a dedicated soldier, and a Canadian Forces medic, killed by a suicide bomber, August 11, 2006. The organization raises awareness for our military’s efforts on deployed operations around the globe and raises funds for Boomer’s Legacy – money our soldiers can access to further help the people in communities where they serve. They do this by holding fundraising events (such as the Boomer’s Bike Ride) and by giving presentations to schools and interested groups.  Funds raised have been used for basic humanitarian needs, medical care and education. They are a great organization and it was an honour to meet the people who are involved in Boomer’s Legacy. BoomersLegacy BoomersLegacy1

-Ian got some great bird photos at the campground.

-I ran in a bikini along the side of the road when it was very busy and kept my pace as fast as I would if I was wearing sportswear.

-We saw a road sign that indicated Victoria (home) was less than 125km away. Given that the entire distance is 495k, it was a hugely inspiring moment to know that we have come that far without any problems (ie. injuries, vehicle trouble, etc). -I ran up a giant hill faster than I’ve done going up any other hills that size and grade.

-On the day we reached Nanaimo, a CTV News vehicle pulled up behind Ian, who was driving the RV,  and we stopped for a shoot and interview. It aired later that night which helped draw some more attention to our chosen causes. It came to us as a pleasant surprise because apparently someone called them as we were going down the highway. To whoever did that, we want to say thank you because when doing charitable events, publicity is highly valued and very much appreciated. CTVNanaimo

All photos on this page are by IMS FotoGrafix.

Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: Sayward to Campbell River

I was extremely excited about knowing that in about 2 days, we would be getting to Campbell River from Sayward. The reason why Campbell River is so exciting is because it means that I will have ran just slightly past the halfway point. There is a sense of personal accomplishment that comes with knowing you are actually over halfway to your goal.

In addition, we would have two rest days in Campbell River. This time though, when I say “rest day”, I actually mean that 0km would be run on those days. The thought of rest days felt weird to me and I truly didn’t believe I genuinely needed them, but we had other business to take care of, such as going door-to-door in Campbell River selling raffle tickets to help support the SPCA.

The distance between Sayward and Campbell River is approximately 74km. Since I had already covered 10k of that distance the same day I got to Sayward, I had 64k to go before reaching the “bigger city”.

Above: Just doing what I love. Photo by IMS FotoGrafix, clothing Public Myth.

At that point, 64k is something that I would definitely cover in 2 days of running. After a while, it became apparent that my “normal” day started with an upwards of 30k run followed by eating a huge amount of complex carbohydrates for the rest of the day, drinking tons of water and Muscle Milk (review coming soon!), so that the next day I could get up and do it all over again.

Above: Climbing the RV while stopped for a short break, showing some of the sponsor signs.
Photo: IMS FotoGrafix, clothing: Public Myth

I also want to mention that I really fell in love with the delicious Cytomax Energy Drops as a way to quickly replenish my carbs and electrolytes throughout the long runs. Review coming soon!

The first day towards Campbell River was 36k. My goal that day was to get as close to Campbell River as possible.

Therefore, the next day after that was only 28km. For the first 20k, I was going very fast because I knew there are two rest days coming up and I wanted to see how close I could get to a half-marathon personal best without actually racing one. It was me against my Garmin . I ultimately ended up having to slow down because as we got closer to Campbell River, there were more cars and intersections that we had to watch out for. In addition, the weather got hot and there was a long hill that I had to conquer.

It was fantastic to get to Campbell River!
We also met up with the editor of Campbell River Mirror, a local Black Press Newspaper and did a quick shoot! I was also interviewed on The River 99.7 FM about the run.



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