Jen Cooper is nearing the end of a maternity leave and wants to focus on fitness not only to get in better shape but to be a better mom to her three-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter. Gearing up for the run is just the motivation she needs.
Occupation: marketing and communications at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.
Last race: Sporting Life 10K in 2005.
Reason for running: "I need to set a goal to motivate myself to get back in to exercising."
Goal: Having finished her last 10K run in 53 minutes, Ms. Cooper hopes to complete this run in less than 55 minutes. "I think that's a pretty realistic goal."
Biggest challenge: "Finding the time, and putting myself first. That's not something that comes naturally, especially when you have two kids."
Like many moms, Jean Choi took a break from running when she had kids. But the mother of two children, aged 6 and 3, returned to pounding pavement about a year ago. Running the Sporting Life 10K later this year is the next step toward a long-held goal of running one of the biggest marathons in the world.
Occupation: psychology professor at Humber College.
Last race: Toronto Island Run, a 10K race, in September, 2009.
Reason for running: The race will help Ms. Choi gear up for running one of the most prestigious marathons in North America, something she has dreamed of for years. "The personal goal was to run the Boston by the time I'm 50. It was 40, but that's come and gone," she says.
Goal: Ms. Choi hopes to finish the race in 40 to 47 minutes.
Biggest challenge: "staying injury-free."
Race to Spring
Sherry Lang-Laveau and François Laveau
This is the first official run for Sherry Lang-Laveau. Her husband, François Laveau, was initially only going to provide moral support, but he too is now hooked on running the race.
Age: She is 57; he is 55.
Occupation: She is retired; he works in sales at Air Canada.
Last race: This is Ms. Lang-Laveau's first race. Mr. Laveau hasn't participated in a run in about two decades.
Reason for running: "It's something I've always wanted to do," Ms. Lang-Laveau says. "I keep looking at people running, you see all different age groups, all different sizes of people, and I think, gosh, if they can do it, why can't I do it?" Mr. Laveau discovered a new love for the sport at a recent tune-up run.
Goal: to run the entire distance. "I really don't want to be right with the walkers," Ms. Lang-Laveau says.
Biggest challenge: winning the battle of the nerves. Staying focused while surrounded by thousands of fellow runners on race day will not be easy, Ms. Lang-Laveau predicts.