Community Spotlight – Debbie Samsom + Terry Fox Run Sunday Sept 20th, 2020

by Yard Athletics – Sept 17th, 2020

We wanted to shine a very special community spotlight this week, as one of our #YARDHARD faithful is running in the 2020 Terry Fox Run this Sunday, September 20th.

Dr. Debbie Samsom is a clinical psychologist and longtime Yard devotee, who also moonlights as a hardcore marathon runner. Over the last few years we have gotten to know Debbie as she started training with us to compliment her running regimen.

In the last few months, a recent cancer diagnosis in the family led Debbie to register for this Sunday’s Terry Fox Run on September 20th, 2020. We wanted to learn more about Debbie’s running history, as well as learn how we could support her effort this Sunday.

Have a read through and click the link at the bottom to support Debbie’s fundraising. Cancer is a disease that will affect us all in some capacity over our lifetimes, so every dollar counts towards helping make cancer a thing of the past.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a clinical psychologist, and cofounder of Back in Motion Rehab Inc, a company that specializes in helping people recover from physical and psychological injuries and illnesses. I was the CEO of Back in Motion for about 20 years, until stepping down about a year and a half ago.

How did you get started training with Yard Athletics?

I met Ilan on the dance floor at a party, and was really impressed with how he cut a rug! That’s true – and he was recommended to me by my previous trainer, who changed careers and became a police officer.

How long have you been distance running?

I have been a runner all my adult life, running 10K and ½ marathon events. I ran my first marathon in 2004. I was only going to do one (you know – a bucket list thing), but then I caught the bug. I stopped counting after 30.

Has training with Yard Athletics improved your running?

Absolutely! Not surprisingly, as a marathon runner I’ve had my share of minor injuries (e.g., pulled hammy, strained glute). The trainers at the Yard have helped me recover from these, as well as shown me what I need to do to prevent future injuries. My Yard glute band is now my best friend.

How did you get involved with this year’s Terry Fox Run and fundraising?

I have always been in awe of Terry Fox. I was a university student when he ran his Marathon of Hope, and I ran in the first Terry Fox Run in 1981. I have been participating periodically since then, but this year it was particularly important for me to get involved for 2 reasons:

(1) My dad was diagnosed with cancer in June, and I am incredibly grateful for the care he is receiving and want to show that gratitude in a meaningful way.

(2) COVID-19 is overshadowing so much in our world these days, and I want to remind people about the significance of other health problems that aren’t going to step aside for COVID.

How do you balance distance running with weight training?

Running is my first love, and for me weight training supports this passion. I run 3-4 times per week, and am in the gym (either my home gym or the Yard) twice a week.

What are the most important things to know before starting distance running?

1. Create a plan, and follow it.
2. Pace yourself! Too fast in the beginning will be your undoing towards the end.
3. Work on distance first; speed second.
4. Stay hydrated and take electrolytes (I like nuun).
5. Feeling awful after 32 km is normal. Suck it up, it never gets better no matter how many
marathons you run.
6. Crossing that finish line might be the biggest rush you’ve ever experienced. Prepare to get

How can the Yard family support your fundraising efforts?

Go to my page at and donate whatever you can. Every dollar is a step closer to fulfilling Terry’s dream of a world free of cancer.

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