Olympic Marathoner to Give Talk on Motivation

March 19, 2008 - News Release

Olympic marathoner Silvia Ruegger will give a public talk at the University of Guelph March 25 to help kick start the "Better U" program.

Ruegger, who is currently the executive director of KidsFest Canada Running and Reading Clubs, will speak on motivation at noon in Room 168 of the Axelrod Building.

"It's so exciting to have Silvia Ruegger speak to our Better U participants on motivation," said Annie Eleveld, occupational health nurse. "It's amazing to have an Olympic athlete who competed in the first-ever women's marathon to launch our program for 2008 and it's even more special that she is a University of Guelph grad. I think her story will inspire participants to believe they can set goals and achieve them."

Ruegger's dream of becoming an Olympian was sparked while she was watching the Olympic Games as a young teenager. A novice runner at the time, she was inspired by the athletes and vowed she would one day represent Canada.

In 1984, Ruegger achieved her dream and competed in the first-ever Olympic women's marathon at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She finished eighth, setting a new Canadian record. The next year, she beat her own record for the women's marathon, and that record still stands today at two hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds.

While pursuing her Olympic dream, she earned an honours science degree in nutrition and an arts degree in psychology from the University of Guelph.

Ruegger is now trying to encourage children to set goals and achieve them through her work with Kidsfest Canada Running and Reading Clubs. A non-profit organization founded by CFL player Brian Warren, Kidsfest is committed to helping children in poverty have the same opportunities as other children through education-based programs focused on academic achievement, physical fitness and social interaction. U of G chancellor emeritus Lincoln Alexander is the honorary chair of the organization.

Since its establishment in 2000, Kidsfest has touched the lives of 20,000 economically disadvantaged children across Canada.

In addition to working with the organization, Ruegger is the national technical apparel and footwear sales representative for Brooks Canada.

Her talk will officially launch Occupational Health and Wellness' "Better U" program for 2008. The program offers noon-hour stretching; leisure, power and Nordic walking; a learn-to-run program; and running groups to members of the University community. The first session for the spring is April 7.

For more information on "Better U," visit the website or contact Eleveld at Ext. 56811 or aeleveld@uoguelph.ca

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1