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Brainsport Times May. 11, 2016

We have a nice shift in gears in this edition of the Brainsport Times.

In this week's Q&A we'll be speaking with Stephan Bourassa, a local occupational therapist, who's starting up a very important program here in Saskatoon for children with a wide range of challenges. 

There's a lot to talk about, so let's get right to it! 

Q&A with Stephan Bourassa

Tara: As an occupational therapist you have worked with kids of many different ages and abilities. Can you give us a bit of background about your work? And, your running? 

Stephan: You bet! After working with injured adults for 12 years, I needed a change. After seeing the magic of the growth and development of my own young children, I decided to step out on my own and established Milestones Occupational Therapy for Children, a private pediatric Occupational Therapy practice in Saskatoon. I work with children and youth with a wide array of challenges ranging from significant developmental disabilities (physical, cognitive) to kids experiencing difficulties associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Trauma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder etc.  With the later group of children, often my role is to use therapeutic activity and interventions to assist with development of gross and fine motor skills, ability to self-regulate their emotions, attention and concentration, behaviour, and to develop social skills to help them function and cope in groups. 

I have always been active - growing up playing groups sports and competitive swimming, but I have run since my university days, having taken it up as a simple way to stay in shape. But I soon made the connection that running served a very important role to help me cope with the high demands of Occupational Therapy school. This was my first realization that movement is medicine. That first experience evolved into entering races starting with 10K, but progressed to running several marathons. My history as a competitive swimmer, later led me to branching off into triathlon where I have competed in sprint distance races up to Ironman distance and everything in between!  

Tara: What prompted you to want to start a running program for kids with challenges that are associated with conditions such as ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression, high functioning autism?

Stephan: We as runners all know the power of running in terms of it' positive effect on our mental health. How many of us do our best thinking, have our best ideas, solve our biggest problems while out on our runs? Not a single runner would tell you running doesn't make him or her feel good mentally. Many of us who experience mental health issues use running as our medicine to a high degree of success. This experience is no longer anecdotal as science has firmly established the wide ranging true neurological change that can be made to our brains over the life span with the use of even moderate cardiovascular exercise. The research surrounding neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to change in response to specific stimuli) and how exercise spurs change in brain wiring to become more efficient, cope with stress, pay attention and concentrate is abundant. In my work with children with these difficulties, I have found running to be a novel and exciting therapeutic activity to facilitate neurological change leading to improved attention, concentration, self-regulation, social skills, and confidence. After seeing the positive gains made by the kids I use running with in my one-one work, I see a fantastic opportunity to bridge into a therapeutic group, using running as the medium. I hear on almost a daily basis from parents who are looking for an evidenced-based, non-pharmacological (i.e. medication) way to treat these challenges. Parents I work with are often scared of putting their child on medication, are coming off a less than desirable experience with medication, or they feel their child needs something therapeutic in addition to medication to optimize potential. Running fills this void.

Tara: What is your hope for the program?

Stephan: My hope and aim is to develop a running group at different points in the year where I can lead a group of kids experiencing the difficulties I have mentioned. The baseline goal is to provide a therapeutic group that facilitates a "just right fit" for kids living with these challenges, something that they will most likely not have encountered in the past. Kids with these difficulties often find that they just don't fit into regular groups as their characteristics present challenges to other kids and instructors. The same can be said for the school setting. The kids will be introduced to running in a fun but structured environment, teaching them how to listen to the responses of their brains and bodies and the positive effects it will have on their ability to concentrate, self-regulate, and get along with others. In the end, my hope is that the kids learn a life-long means of self-medicating in a positive and healthy way.

Tara: For those interested in getting involved, how do they do so?

Stephan: As the group is in its developmental and planning stages, with the aim to launch in time for the fall running season, if their are parents that have children that they feel would benefit from a therapeutic running program, they should feel free to contact me through my website at I will also have initial information posted on my website at

Tara: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Stephan: I would just like to say thanks to you Tara and Brian at Brainsport for taking interest in my initiative to help children living with challenges to experience the many positive mental health benefits that running can provide. Movement is medicine!


Brainsport Running Academy
may11 16 28 The Brainsport Running Academy has you covered if you're looking to peak for half marathon this fall. Starting on June 17, coach Pat Sommerville will get clinic participants ready and set to go! The target race for this clinic is the Queen City Marathon. Register online through Race Roster or come into Brainsport and we'll get you signed up! 

Brainsport Spring Run Off in Elbow

may4 16 2

Brainsport is introducing a fun new event for you this spring! Come join us for a beautiful run along the shore of Lake Diefenbacker on May 14. Take part in either the 5K or 10K fun run and enjoy refreshments and entertainment afterward. For more details go to:

38th Saskatchewan Marathon

may4 16 3

As you set your training goals for spring, don't forget to register by April 30 2016 for best prices! Don't worry you can always switch your race if you exceed or fall short of your training goals!
The 2016 Saskatchewan Marathon taking place May 29 2016 features 5K, GoodLife Fitness 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon event distances along a scenic course highlighting the world-renowned Meewasin Valley through the city of Saskatoon. Easily deemed one of the most scenic running events in Canada, the Saskatchewan Marathon is also a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
Register today at

16th Annual Saskatchewan Credit Unions Queen City Marathon

The 16th Annual Saskatchewan Credit Unions Queen City Marathon takes place the weekend of September 10 & 11 in Regina. This event includes races for people of all paces. Runners and walkers are welcome in the 42.2K, 21.1K, 10K, Team Relay and 5K events. Kids, as young as three-years-old, are encouraged to participate in the Mini Marathon. For more information or to register please visit

SRRA Trail Race Series

Race #1 Saskatoon April 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Race #2 Cranberry Flats, July 17 at 9 a.m.
Race # 3 Blackstrap, September 18 at a.m.
For more information on all the races visit

EY River Run Classic

The EY River Run Classic, organized by Saskatoon Road Runners Association, is being held in Saskatoon on Sunday, July 10. The event consists of a 5k, 10k, and half marathon, with the 10k race being the Saskatchewan 10k provincial championship. It is a great route along the South Saskatchewan River. For those of you who will not be entering the race, please consider volunteering (volunteers can contact Nancy Milhousen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). For more information please check out the website:

Hike to Machu Picchu, Peru with Charity Challenge!

Do something truly life changing and start you own inspirational journey to help end blood cancer today! Not only will you be broadening your horizons and experiencing a different environment. You will be funding life saving research to beat blood cancers through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. The journey takes place October 15 to 22, 2016. For more information go to:

Make It Happen — Triathlon

Here's your chance to give the triathlon a go — no timing involved — just fun! Distances for women-only heats are: Swim 200 metres, Bike 6K, Run 2K. Distances for co-ed heats are: Swim 500 metres, Bike 12K, Run 4K. Race day is May 15. For more information visit

NB Run Crew — New Balance running group


NB Run Crew meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. at New Balance Saskatoon. Always free and open to all levels. The group runs every week from April 14 to June 9. This group is led by the girls of Black Dove Healthy Eats (Saija Shearer & Madison Heise) and will finish at the 5K event at the Mogathon on June 12! For more information check out NB's Facebook page.

Club NB — New Balance walking group

This group is led by NB Ambassador Carol Keesey and will finish at the 5K event at the Mogathon on June 12! Check out NB's Facebook page for more details.

Eston River Trek
The 14th annual Eston River Trek will be held on Saturday, May 14. This event has plenty of distance options including a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, full marathon and a 40 mile trek (walking challenge). For more information visit

YIN/Restorative Yoga Workshop

Join BreatheMoveBe for a 2 hour workshop on Wednesday, June 1 from 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. at the  Brainsport Community Room. A yoga class that is specifically restorative in design uses props to support the body to encourage relaxation as well as enabling the student to receive the benefit of poses without engaging the muscles, the props do the work, we receive the benefit. $35 registration fee. Space is limited. Register today by contacting Leanne at http://This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text: 306-251-2964.
Yoga For Runners Spring Tune Up

This class is now full, but there are possible drop-in options. Text the number below. Come out for some runner specific yoga. Yoga is a great compliment to running and can help keep you running injury free! Starting Wednesday, April 6 to May 25. From 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at the Brainsport Community Room.Space is limited and fills up fast. To register contact Leanne via email at http://This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or text: 306-251-2964.

Rock Your Run Contest

runclubtime To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Brainsport Running Club we are excited to announce the Rock Your Run contest. Brooks shoes is sending one lucky run club member to run the Las Vegas Marathon this fall.

There are several ways to enter: 1) Every time you lead a group at Run Club you get an entry. 2) All new Run Club members will get an entry. 3) Everyone who comes out to our July 13 anniversary Run Club gets and entry. In order to win you must be present for the draw on July 13. The prize is a trip for two to Las Vegas. Air, hotel and race entry included. Hope to see you at Run Club!



A lot of miles are being put in these days in preparation for summer races - and with that likely comes some sore, tired feet. OOFOS offer a great way to calm, and sooth your feet so you can get back at it for your next run. The OOfoam technology, and patented footbed design absorbs impact and gives your arches a nice relaxing cradle to rest on. Try them on at Brainsport, and feel for yourself!

Thanks for reading the Times this week . .  gotta run . . .Tara                      
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Brainsport Times May. 18, 2016
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