Phone: (403) 922-0562 info@martinparnell.com
Martin Parnell Twitter Logo Martin Parnell Facebook Logo Martin Parnell Youtube Logo Martin Parnell LinkedIn Logo
Martin Parnell Logo Stamp

Martin Parnell

Finish The Race Attitude

2024

  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    June 6th 2024

    The Pathway to Mental Health

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: June 6th 2024

    The Pathway to Mental Health

    On May 10th I headed into Cochrane and over to my local garage “Back in the Saddle” to have a spring tune-up and the winter tires changed to summers on the Mazda 3. It was a beautiful day and after dropping the car off I decided to walk the 5km back home. I picked up a coffee at A&W, then headed down to the old bridge and west along the Bow River pathway. I met a number of people walking, biking and enjoying the day.

    After hiking for 30 minutes I saw a sign on the side of the path. It said “Benefits of Walking Meditation”. Underneath it had these headings: Improves overall well-being, Alleviates depression, Stimulates blood flow and circulation and Improves digestion. Under each heading was a description of the specific benefits.

    I thought what a great idea to post this information and continued on my way. 200m further on I saw another sign. This one said “Mindfulness”: 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This made me think that we must be present in the moment and really experience the world around us. 200m further on I saw another sign “Stretch Break”. This one said: Imagine you are a tree and root one foot into the earth. What other stretches do you know / need?

    As I continued walking I found more and more of these signs at the side of the pathway. They included “Find 5 Things”, “Breathing Break”, “Reconnect”, “Creativity”, “Positive Affirmations”, “Community Connections”, “Gratitude’ and “Self-Care”. In total there were 14 signs, the final one being “Mental Health Awareness Week Mindfulness Walk”.

    This is a brilliant initiative supported by five organizations: FCSS (Cochrane Family and Community Support Services), Alberta Health Services (Community Helper Program), Family Resource Network (Cochrane and Area), The Town of Cochrane and Cochrane Cares (cochranecares.ca). As I climbed Mitford Hill it got me thinking about the series of signs I had encounter along the pathway. Mental Health Awareness week is from May 6th to 12th however raising the awareness about Mental Health must be promoted over 52 weeks not just one.

    Instead of having these signs up for just the week why not make them permanent all year round and create “The Pathway to Mental Health – One Step at a Time”. When I got home I talked to Sue and she thought it was a great idea. Next stop, I sent an email to Major Genung and we chatted this week. Stay tuned!

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    May 2nd 2024

    Not Just a Bunch of Romeos

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: May 2nd 2024

    Not Just a Bunch of Romeos

    Last year, on a very hot Saturday in September, a group from the Rotary Club of Cochrane, headed down to the Cochrane Farmers’ Market. There, they carried out a survey, targeting people who live in Cochrane and surrounding area and 114 surveys were completed.

    The first questions was: “When I say “Rotary” what image does that conjure up? (e.g. What sort of people become Rotarians / What Rotarians do)”. Reponses included: Community Service (27), No idea / No clue (20), Volunteering (6), International work (4) and Supporting youth (3). Other comments were: Some type of social club, Business people, WASP’s (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), Like Knights of Columbus, Legionnaires, and a paddling club with boats.

    Other questions included: “Did you know there is a Rotary Club in Cochrane?” (There are, in fact, two Rotary clubs in town) and “Are you aware of any projects that the Rotary club is involved in?” The results were surprising, to say the least. Very few people could answer “Yes” to either question.

    Some people still believe that Rotary is for men only and, for many years, that was the image of a Rotarian. They were “Just a bunch of Romeos,” a group of “Retried Old Men, Eating Out”.

    Thankfully, times have changed. The Rotary Club of Cochrane currently has forty-five members and nineteen of them are women. That includes the current President, Monica Walker. And the one thing that all of them have in common is that they believe in the principal motto of Rotary “Service Above Self”. They want to improve the lives of people in the local community, nationally and internationally.

    Rotarians also provide opportunities for the youth in our community, through a range of projects and offer support by the allocation of scholarships and bursaries. Rotary offers people the chance to volunteer, support their community, meet new friends and use their skills and experience to better the lives of others.

    The Club would like to offer you the opportunity to find out more. Therefore, they are inviting you to attend the “Rotary in Action” evening, at Cochrane Public Library on May 30th from 5:30pm until 7.00pm. You will be able to meet members of the Rotary Club of Cochrane and hear about some of their projects and programmes.

    If you are interested in attending, please register at: rotarycochrane.ca/event/rotary-in-action/

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    April 4th 2024

    Soapstone Carving Workshop

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: April 4th 2024

    Soapstone Carving Workshop

    On Tuesday March 26th a group of 14 members of the Rotary Club of Cochrane, including District Governor Kurt and Silas, our Exchange student, gathered at the Cochrane Legion for an evening of fellowship and creative fun.

    After an excellent meal of lasagna and salad, served by members of the Legion, we had Michael Emery and his wife Jenny introduced us to the wonderful world of Soapstone Carving. Michael and Jenny offer a number of programs and we picked the beginners. Here is what they shared with us:

    “We begin the workshop by explaining what soapstone is and its storied history with people. The amount and depth of discussion can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

    The Beginner Workshops introduce participants to the world of soapstone sculpting in a safe, easy to follow, non-judgmental environment. The projects available for this level are perfect for getting to know the amazing qualities of soapstone and the adventures of sculpting. This program is about getting the stone into the sculptor’s hands and exploring the many ways to sculpt the stone without the need for sharp tools or power tools.

    Participants will practice:

    - Fine motor skill efficiency as they practice and learn about pressure application and technique to get the desired effect without breaking their work of art.

    - Building spatial awareness and proportion.

    - Precision – sculpting straight lines or angles that require a great deal of patience.

    - Mindfulness – like many activities in life the joy is experienced in the journey and not the destination. Being present in the moment is key to any creative and artistic endeavor.

    - Building self-confidence.

    Tools

    Participants have the final choice of the project piece they work with. This is the sculptor’s creation, and the personal connection with the stone shapes the experience.

    All of the carving work is completed in shallow trays with water to eliminate stone dust in the air and simplify cleanup at the end of the program.

    Sandpaper with various grits will be used (there are no sharp tools or power tools) to achieve the shape and final finish. Our staff will be equipped with a drill should any of the carvers require a hole.”

    Well, we each selected a shape and for the next 2 hours we worked away on bears and rabbits, fish and butterflies with sandpaper and water. Everyone had a wonderful time creating their own works of art and sharing fellowship with each other. Huge thank you to Michael and Jenny for sharing their knowledge with us. If you want to find out more, go to uniquesoapstoneexperiences.ca

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    March 7th 2024

    The Ageless Athlete – One Blog at a Time

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: March 7th 2024

    The Ageless Athlete – One Blog at a Time

    I love books. I love to read them and I love to write them. I’ve published three, MARATHON QUEST, RUNNING TO THE EDGE and THE SECRET MARATHON. My fourth, THE AGELESS ATHLETE was in collaboration with my friend and running coach Malc Kent. Things were going well. The contract had been signed and the manuscript edited. Unfortunately things didn’t work out so Malc and I took back the rights. What do we do now? Maybe it was time to try something completely different. So, in for a penny in for a pound….THE AGELSESS ATHLETE is being be posted on my website in 25 blogs, weekly, finishing the end of July 2024.

    This is the virtual back cover: Is it possible to turn back the hands of time? Can an athlete, at the age of 62, beat his personal best times set 15 years ago? This thought provoking memoir asks these soul searching questions and takes us on a journey with a runner and his coach to find the answers. In May 2017 Martin Parnell tackled the Calgary 150km Ultra Marathon. He didn’t finish.

    Martin realised that he had to do something drastic. He noticed that he had run his fastest 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon all in the same year, 2003. Could he beat those times in 2018? Could he run faster at the age of 62 than he ran at 47? To accomplish this feat Martin realised he would need the best shoes, best gear, best nutrition and of course the best coach. Martin knew just the trainer and he lived in Cochrane. Malc Kent is a highly experienced coach and one of the leading experts in the world in remote and wearable gait analysis. He has coached athletes in more than 10 countries and performed more than 4000 gait analysis on runners of all levels, all over the world.

    In December 2017 the training began for “62 beats 47” with Malc taking Martin through sessions of strength, stabilization, speed and endurance. In this book Martin and Malc show the importance of the runner / coach relationship especially in terms of the older athlete. This book will resonate with anyone who wants to challenge themselves. It’s never too late to take on a goal and learn something new. Remember: Age is just a number!

    To read the whole story go to: martinparnell.com/martins-blogs.html and, every Wednesday, follow the adventures of The Ageless Athlete. One blog at a time.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    February 1st 2024

    Princetown, Prison and Ponies - Travelling in the UK Part 2

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: February 1st 2024

    Princetown, Prison and Ponies - Travelling in the UK Part 2

    After spending a week and a half in the beautiful Hampshire countryside it was time to head 280kms West to Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor in Devon. Brother Andy met Sue and I at the bus station in Plymouth then on to meet Sister Sal and over to her place in Princetown. This town is known for three things. Firstly, it is home to Dartmoor Prison. In 1920, the prison began housing UK criminals. It developed a reputation for housing some of Britain's most serious offenders that included murderers, gangsters, thieves, spies, and robbers such as Jack “The Hat” McVitie and Frank Mitchell. Numerous escape attempts have been made by inmates to get out of the prison and onto the moors, leading to massive manhunts by the police and prison service. Secondly, in 1901, Conan Doyle stayed at the Old Duchy Hotel, now the National Park Visitor Centre in Princetown. It was during his time there that he walked many miles across the rugged moorland and was inspired to write the Hound of the Baskervilles.

    Thirdly, it is known as the centre of Dartmoor. Dartmoor is famous for its diverse range of beautiful tors scattered throughout the moor. The moor has 160 tors made up of dramatic outcrops of granite, and you can usually find the tors standing on top of a hill. Dartmoor ponies roam its craggy landscape, defined by forests, rivers, wetlands and tors (rock formations). Trails wind through valleys with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses. Princetown also has an excellent pub, The Prince of Wales where, that night, Andy, Sal, Sue and I went for fish and chips and a pint of Legend, brewed at Dartmoor Breweries, right in the town.

    The other highlight of my stay with Sal was a visit to Buckfast Abbey. Buckfast Abbey forms part of an active Benedictine monastery at Buckfast, near Buckfastleigh, Devon. Buckfast first became home to an abbey in 1018. The first Benedictine abbey was followed by a Savignac, later Cistercian, abbey constructed on the site of the current abbey in 1134. I spent time with my Dad, who was a butcher, at the Abbey and a number of the Brothers and Fathers became friends. On the Sunday, Sister Lou and her son David joined the rest of us for a Carvery. I then stayed two nights in the Abbey Guest house and the next day I completed an 18km walking tour of my family and relations previous homes in Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and Buckfast.

    Well, our UK travels were coming to an end. Sue and I headed back to Cardiff and spent a few more days with Calum. Then it was time to take the big bird back to the Great White North. I arrived in Cochrane at 4.30pm and the first job……..shovel the driveway.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    January 4th 2024

    Trains, Planes and Automobiles….Travelling in the UK

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: January 4th 2024

    Trains, Planes and Automobiles….Travelling in the UK

    Sue and I have talked about spending Christmas and the New Year in the UK for a while and this year we did it. We wanted to miss the crazy holiday travel rush so we left on December 12th. The Air Canada flight from Calgary to Heathrow started off well, no line-ups at security, and we were in our seats at departure time ready to go. However, all goods things must end and due to some maintenance required on a cargo door we were 2 hours late departing. Nine hours, and 3 movies later, we were on the ground at Heathrow. It was then a dash to pick up our checked baggage (not lost), through Terminal 2 to the Central Bus Station and on to the # 504 coach. Another 4 hour trip and we were in Cardiff, Wales being met by our son, Calum.

    The first week we enjoyed visits to several beaches on the South Wales Coast including Ogmore and Rest Bay. The weather was overcast and blustery but surfers were having a great time riding the waves. I also got out to do some walking along the Taff River into Cardiff. The highlight of the first week was a visit to St. Fagan’s National Museum of History. Within its grounds, are a number of historic buildings relocated from across Wales, including a farm, a tannery, mills, a pub and a chapel. On the day we visited we watched a play involving a group of wandering players. The event poster stated “Come along to witness two of the most well-known Welsh customs during the Christmas season, The Mari Lwyd and Hunting of the Wren, performed by Cwmni Dawns Werin Caerdydd. These unusual ancient Welsh winter traditions include singing, dancing, and a horse’s skull!”. Very interesting.

    After a week with Calum it was time to jump on a train, travel to Petersfield in Hampshire, England and visit Sue’s Sister Lynne and her husband Dean. While Sue was catching up with her sister, Dean and I would go on epic walks over glen and dale enjoying the beautiful English country side. The weather remained cool, cloudy but dry so we could tackle some of the more remote footpaths. Not only is Dean a great hiker but he is also a connoisseur of craft ale. At the end of each trek we would stop for some light refreshment at one of the local buildings of historical interest including: The Harrow Inn, The Queens Head, The Seven Stars, The Cricketers Inn, The Town House and The George Inn.

    Next stop for Sue and I is New Years with Family and Friends in Dorset and Devon. Wishing everyone all the best 2024 and whatever adventures come your way.

    Cochrane Eagle Article

    2023

  • The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    December 7th 2023

    The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: December 7th 2023

    The Great Virtual English Channel Swim

    During the summer I taught a 12 week course, hosted by Classrooms Without Walls, called “The Adventures of Marathon Martin and Friends” to 35 Afghan women and girls. The title of one of the lessons was “Climbing Everest – One Stair at a time” and I shared with them the story of virtually climbing Mount Everest. I did this with my wife Sue, daughter Kristina and Grandson Nathan. Every day, for 95 days, we climbed 14 sets of stairs for a total of 11,600 feet, the elevation from Base Camp to the Summit. I then asked the students for ideas for a virtual challenge they would like to do and 14 year old Sophia suggested a virtual swim of the English Channel. This was a challenge I could not resist.

    On October 16th I started The Great Virtual English Channel Swim. The goal was to swim from Shakespeare Beach in England to Cap Gris Nez in France, a total of 34kms. The plan was to complete 2 kms a day at the Spray Lake Centre pool in Cochrane and I arrived at Cap Gris-Nez in France on November 17th. However, I have to tell you it was not all plain sailing.

    Now, I hear you saying "What is so difficult about doing lengths is a swimming pool verses the sea?” I agree there are challenges in the sea: jellyfish, seaweed, hypothermia, sharks. But there are also challenges in the pool: too many swimmers in a lane, getting pulled out for a Swim-a-cise class, and leg cramps. Just out of interest it took me just over 18 hours of swimming to complete the swim. The Guinness World Record for the crossing (Male) is 6 hours 57 mins 50 secs set by Petar Stoychev in August 24th 2007. This is one record I will not be going after.

    Here is the swim by numbers:

    - Real Location: Spray Lake Centre Pool, Cochrane, Alberta

    - Virtual Start: Shakespeare Beach, England at 6.12am Monday October 16th

    - Virtual Finish: Cap Gris-Nez, France at 7.38am Friday November 17th

    - Distance: 34 kms

    - Swim time: 18 hours 07 mins 48 sec

    - Laps: 1360

    - Strokes: 20,400

    After I finished I celebrated and went to Guy's boulangerie for a decaff Americano and an au paine chocolate. So, time to pick the next virtual swimming goal.....any thoughts?

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Final Adventure

    November 2nd 2023

    The Final Adventure

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: November 2nd 2023

    The Final Adventure

    On September 19th I finished teaching my first course with “Classrooms Without Walls” (https://classroomswithoutwalls.ca/). The Adventures of Marathon Martin and Friends was a 12 week course developed from my three books “Marathon Quest”, “Running to the Edge” and “The Secret Marathon: Empowering Women and Girls in Afghanistan through Sport”.

    The students were Afghan women and girls aged 17 to 30 who are living in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan. Each week I would share an adventure with them and then we would have a question and answer session. At the end of a lesson I would give the students 3 take home questions as their assignment. Week after week they would share their responses with me. These included stories of their lives under the Taliban, how they are fighting to improve their education, their hopes and dreams for themselves and Afghanistan. Many times I was moved to tears with their responses.

    The final lesson was my workshop “Finish the Race Attitude: Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results”. This is a process they can use as they move forward in their lives. At the end of lesson 12 I asked the students 3 questions to evaluate the course. I received many wonderful answers and I want to share one with you, from Mahbooba, which reflects the majority:

    What did you like about the course? And why? From my perspective as a participant in the Marathon Martin course, I thoroughly enjoyed the course for several reasons. Firstly, the interactive nature of the lessons, activities, and discussions kept me engaged and excited to learn. Secondly, the diverse range of adventures and obstacles faced by the characters added an element of unpredictability and suspense, making the storytelling even more captivating. Lastly, the emphasis on teamwork and collaboration encouraged a sense of friendship among classmates, creating a supportive learning environment. Overall, this course provided an exceptional experience that blended education with entertainment in a remarkable way.

    What would you change? And why? I want nothing to change everything was fabulous and wonderful. While the Marathon Martin course was overall enjoyable, I would recommend making a few changes to enhance the learning experience. Scheduling occasional guest speakers or experts in relevant fields could offer valuable insights and enrich the learning journey even further. These changes would further engage students and enrich their overall learning experience.

    What did you learn? In the exciting journey of Marathon Martin, I learned the value of resilience, the beauty of exploring various landscapes, and the significance of friendship. Each chapter taught me to never give up, appreciate the wonders of nature, and cherish the bonds forged with extraordinary people along the way.

    On November 2nd we will be having a Graduation Ceremony where a total of 34 Afghan Women and Girls will be receiving their certificates for “The Adventures of Marathon Martin and Friends”. With all the challenges these young Afghan women face in their daily lives this will be a day to celebrate.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Rotary “Putting for Polio”

    October 5th 2023

    Rotary “Putting for Polio”

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: October 5th 2023

    Rotary “Putting for Polio”

    Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years and the goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since their first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

    Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

    Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

    Every year the Rotary Club of Cochrane raises fund to support the fight against Polio. Clubs in our District 5360 / Southern Alberta promote the “Move for Polio” initiative and as a Club Polio Champion it is my job to come up with fund raising ideas. Well, what could be more fun than playing mini-golf and so “Putting for Polio” was born.

    On Tuesday September 19th a group of us headed to the Cochrane Golf Club. In total, we had 27 participants, including 14 club members, Chris and Kirsten’s grandsons Nathan and Owen, Dan and Marlene (District Committee Chair of “End Polio Now”) from the Rotary Club of Calgary West, Mel from the Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain and guests Diane and Lee and kids who have just moved to Cochrane. Everyone collected their putters and coloured golf balls from Walter and then it was around to the mini-golf course for a shot-gun start. At 5.30pm everyone had taken their positions, the whistle blew and balls of all colours were flying everywhere.

    After the 18 holes we all headed into the WOW Store at the Golf Club and had drinks and pizza. Marlene said a few word about the status of eradicating Polio. We then announced the results of the “Putting for Polio” event. In total there were 21 holes-in-one’s and Marlene had 5 of those…..amazing! Finally, we had a draw for the 6 bottles of wine kindly donated by Suzanne from Vintner’s Cellar. Funds were raised by donation to Rotary’s “Polio Plus” campaign and we all agreed that we should have the 2nd Annual “Putting for Polio” in 2024.

    If you are interested in becoming a member or learn more about the Rotary Club of Cochrane then please email us at info@rotarycochrane.ca.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Flowers of Cochrane

    September 7th 2023

    The Flowers of Cochrane

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: September 7th 2023

    The Flowers of Cochrane

    A couple of weeks ago Sue and I were talking about our back yard and an idea came up…. Why not make two raised beds, one for flowers for Sue and the other for veggies for me? Now, we have what’s called a “Maintenance Free” (Not!) garden, mulch with shrubs and trees so there’s lots of room to install these beds.

    Next stage was the design. First port of call was talking to our Rotarian friends Chris and Kirsten. They have a couple of excellent raised beds which gave us some ideas. Next, I googled “Building a raised bed” and You-Tuber “Gardener Stan” gave me all the dos and don’ts of building one of these boxes. Time to hit the road. Saturday morning, we headed off to Spray Lake Centre pool and after a session of the warm water therapy we left the building and meet Janet working on a huge raised garden. There are two of these in the fore-court of the centre and they are magnificent. Janet is not only the Centre’s gardener but she is also a fitness instructor….what a great combination job. She gave us lots of excellent advice and suggested we head over to “Anything Grows”, where the Centre get their plants.

    In “Anything Grows” we meet Aaron. He was a great help and shared with us ideas on what flowers and veggies to plant and when, the correct soil mix and how to prevent weeds. All this talking was thirsty work so Sue and I decided it was time for a coffee. We headed over to Good Earth and as we made our way to the coffee shop we couldn’t help noticing the beautiful flower boxes all along the side walk. These are throughout Cochrane and are maintained by the Town of Cochrane Maintenance Staff. Next time you’re walking around down town check them out.

    The final stop was Home Hardware. My design was for two boxes that were a 4 feet long x 2 feet wide x 2 feet high. This would require 12 lengths of 6 inches x 1inch by 8 foot planks and 2 lengths of 4 inch x 4 inch of pressure treated lumber. The yard guys loaded the timber into the jeep and home we went.

    The next morning the power tools came out and construction commenced. It didn’t long to cut everything to size (measure twice…cut once!) and put them together. And that’s where we are today. Aaron from “Anything Grows” suggested to wait until spring before we plant so there’s no rush to add the soil. So now I have the Fall and Winter to decide what to plant. Any thoughts?

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Meerkat Archers – A Fable

    August 3rd 2023

    The Meerkat Archers – A Fable

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: August 3rd 2023

    The Meerkat Archers – A Fable

    In early June I went on a 3 day silent retreat to Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane, Alberta. It was an opportunity for reflection and contemplation in a beautiful woodland setting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. My objective for the three days was no objective. I took no devices and the only communication tools were a pen and a notebook.

    The first night I went to the extensive library at the Retreat and picked a book at random…..The Art of Dying by Patricia Weenolson. The next morning I walked to the end of the garden and leaned over the fence. There, 40 feet away, was a massive black horse. I have a fear of horses after being thrown off one as a child. This time I decided to stand still and see what happened. After a few moments the horse slowly ambled over and I was able to stroke its nose.

    On the second evening I had an idea for a story and here it is: One morning, two Meerkats Fo Cuzed and Aym Luss decided to head to the archery ranch. Fo Cuzed had been training for weeks and wanted to impress Aym Luss by hitting the bull’s eye. Fo Cuzed took up a bow, pulled the string to its maximum tension and let the arrow fly. The arrow sliced through the air and “thunk”, it hit the red circle, just 2 inches from the golden bull’s eye. Fo Cuzed was gutted. “I worked so hard but didn’t achieve my goal”. Fo Cuzed kicked the ground and threw down the bow.

    Then it was Aym Luss’s turn. Picking up a bow and arrow, Aym Luss put a blind fold on, spun around three times, did a somersault and then let the arrow go. Pulling the blindfold off Aym Luss saw the arrow fly high up in the air and land in a field of wild flowers. Aym Luss was thrilled. Having never tried that move before there were no expectations on the outcome.

    Fo Cuzed and Aym Luss left the range and, arm in arm, started to head home. Aym Luss told Fo Cuzed it was a great shot and should be proud. Fo Cuzed replied that it had been great hanging out and was impressed with the move Aym Luss had attempted.

    This just goes to show that “Sometimes it’s good to be Fo Cuzed and sometimes it’s good to be Aym Luss”.

    And sometimes it good just to take a little bit of time for yourself.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Cavalry FC – The Beautiful Game

    July 6th 2023

    Cavalry FC – The Beautiful Game

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: July 6th 2023

    Cavalry FC – The Beautiful Game

    Sue and I love our football (soccer). As a boy I would go to Plymouth Argyle, in Devon, England with my Dad. From the age of 15, Sue would go and support her favourite team Bournemouth, in Dorset, on the South Coast. She would sometimes take her little brother along with her. The highlight for me was in 1973 when Dad took me to the Plymouth vs Santos game and I got to see the incredible Pele play. There were 36,000 in the stands and it is a night I will never forget. A highlight for Sue was when Bournemouth were promoted to the English Premier League in 2015. This team had gone from the bottom of League 2 and near bankruptcy in 2009, to playing, 6 years later, in the top football league in the world.

    Like any supporter of a sports team, you will always stick with the team you were brought up with however we don’t always live where your teams are. Being in Cochrane Sue and I wanted to get our football fix and have found just the team to support...Cavalry FC.

    On May 5, 2018, Calgary was one of four cities accepted by the Canadian Soccer Association for professional club membership. Cavalry FC was announced on May 17, 2018, as the second team to officially join the Canadian Premier League. The club's name, crest and colours were all revealed at the event at Spruce Meadows, while Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was announced as head coach and general manager. Plans to renovate existing facilities at Spruce Meadows, included a soccer-specific stadium, with a capacity of at least 5,000 seats.

    On June 26, 2019, Cavalry FC qualified for the 2019 Canadian Premier League Championship by winning the inaugural CPL Spring Season. The following month the “Cavs” became the first CPL club to defeat a Major League Soccer team in the Canadian Championship by upsetting the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019, over two-legs.

    The last game Sue and I went to was at 3.00pm on Saturday June 24th when we watched Cavalry take on York United. Spruce Meadows is a great venue for these games and on that day it was the annual Pride Match. The first 4,000 attendees received a bandana and there were lots of games for the kids. In an exciting game Cavalry beat York United 2-1.

    So, if you’re looking for some “footy” action then head over to Spruce Meadows and catch Cavalry FC.

    Go Cavs Go!

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Classrooms Without Walls

    June 1st 2023

    Classrooms Without Walls

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: June 1st 2023

    Classrooms Without Walls

    Education is one of the most powerful tools that can transform lives and uplift communities. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to quality education, especially in conflict zones where students face numerous challenges. However, one person who is making a difference in this regard is David Falconer, the Founder and Executive Director of Classrooms Without Walls(CWW).

    David Falconer's volunteer work began in March 2022, soon after Russia invaded Ukraine. Witnessing the impact of conflict on students' education, David immediately volunteered to support Smart Osvita NGO, a Ukrainian non-profit organization, to coordinate an international volunteer program to deliver online lessons in English. The support David received from volunteers like retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the Edmonton Public Library, Winspear Centre, and teachers and non-teachers from around the world inspired him to start CWW, an organization that currently offers free online schooling to students living in conflict zones.

    By partnering with organizations such as Smart Osvita NGO, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Ocean Wise, Edmonton Public Library, OverDrive, Monash Virtual School, and hundreds of volunteer teachers, CWW is providing a lifeline to students who have been forced to abandon their education due to conflict. By offering free online schooling, CWW is breaking down barriers and providing access to education to those who need it the most. Most important, CWW is letting students in these countries know that the world has not forgotten them and that they can continue to dream, and set goals.

    Currently, CWW offers three programs for volunteers to join, Teachers for Afghanistan, Teachers for Ukraine, and Teachers for Myanmar.

    Classrooms Without Walls (CWW) is actively seeking volunteers who are willing to offer their free time to teach various elementary and secondary school subjects, including ESL (English as a Second Language). Volunteers are also invited to share their hobbies, gifts and talents with students, such as teaching them how to draw, learn magic tricks, and more. By making education fun and engaging, CWW is creating an environment where students can thrive and learn in a safe environment. There are also other opportunities to support CWW such as updating CWW's social media, becoming an online  host, and general organization support.

    All volunteers are provided with an online introduction and training.

    If interested, please contact, cww@classroomswithoutwalls.ca

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • 200 Articles for the Cochrane Eagle

    May 4th 2023

    200 Articles for the Cochrane Eagle

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: May 4th 2023

    200 Articles for the Cochrane Eagle

    On March 2nd 2011 my first article was published in the Cochrane Eagle and it was about running (no surprise there). Here is part of it “So, before you try an ultra-marathon, I suggest you run a marathon, before that a half marathon, before that a 10km and before that a 5km. If you’re a new runner, then progressing from a 5km race to a marathon should take three years. Yes, I’ve heard the stories and watched the results from people who want to tick a marathon off their bucket list in six months….don’t, it’s not a pretty sight. Take your time, let your legs get used to the run / walk. People will say that run / walk isn’t “running”, you have to run all the time or you’re not a runner. Not true. If you want to achieve your running goals and be injury free then run / walk is the way to go.” Looking back that is still pretty good advice.

    A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Cochrane has almost doubled in size from 17,500 to 34,000 and there’s no sign of it slowing down. However, it still has that small town feel. You can walk down Main Street and bump into friends or sit on a bench next to the hotel and listen to someone playing the piano.

    Cochrane is where Sue and I have lived since 2005 and we love having visitors. Last week our son Calum was over from Wales and we headed off on a road trip to Waterton Park. He’s into wild life photography and over the three days he captured photos of herds of bison, elk, deer and a playful fox.

    Over the last 12 years I’ve been fortunate to share my stories with readers of the Cochrane Eagle. Having a local newspaper is so important and every Thursday I look out my front door and there is the latest copy. Then, I make a cup of tea, grab a couple of shortbread biscuits, settle down and read it from over to cover. Cochrane is about community and the Eagle is the glue that holds it together.

    I look forward to continuing to share stories from the not so little town on the Bow in the foothills of Canadian Rockies. Huge thank you to you and the Cochrane Eagle and yes, there will be more articles on my running adventures. All the best, Martin.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Secret 3k – Year 6 and Counting

    April 6th 2023

    Secret 3k – Year 6 and Counting

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: April 6th 2023

    Secret 3k – Year 6 and Counting

    On March 8th at 3.15pm I lined up outside Ecole Notre Dame des Vallees School in Cochrane, Alberta with 77 students, teachers and parents. We were all there for the 6th Secret 3k Run / Walk. This school has participated every year and as we counted down from 10 we headed off along the pathways of the mighty Bow River.

    A little bit of background on this event. In 2015 for the first time ever, a marathon was held in Afghanistan, a marathon that both men and women were able to participate in but they had to keep it a secret. Why? There are still places in the world where women are not allowed to run or walk outside. However, a community in Afghanistan courageously carved out a new way forward for the next generation. By creating safe races they helped to create a safe place to run and walk.

    The day before the Cochrane School visit, Kate McKenzie, co-founder of the Secret 3k and I visited Windsong Heights School in Airdrie and after talking to the students completed the Secret 3k with them. On the evening of March 8th I headed into Calgary and completed another Secret 3k. The wind was biting cold but everyone was in good spirits as they ran and walked along the pathways under the lights in Calgary. A little earlier in Ottawa, daughter Kristina with partner Josh and grand boys Nathan and Matthew did their Secret 3k along the Rideau Canal earning hot chocolate and cookies.

    The event took place across Canada and around the world with 1,200 participants plus 31 School and youth groups from 11 countries. In fact over the 6 years that the event has been going there have been participants from 27 countries involved. This year was a record for fundraising with $30,000 going to the Afghan Sports Trust, 261 Fearless, an organization founded by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.

    It’s never too early to look ahead to the 7th Secret 3k. This will take place on Wednesday March 6th 2024. I went on the registration site (www.secret3k.com) this morning. You can choose to register for one of the marquee sites across Canada or have a virtual event with you and your friends anywhere in the world. There is also Secret 3k gear and you can donate to one of the partner charities.

    So why not join us for the 7th Secret 3k and together we can make a difference by empowering women and girls through education and sport.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Get a Grip – Safe Winter Walking

    February 2nd 2023

    Get a Grip – Safe Winter Walking

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: February 2nd 2023

    Get a Grip – Safe Winter Walking

    This time of year there is nothing I like better than to head out on the pathways of Cochrane. My favorite pathway walk is along the Bow River from the West end, under the 22 bridge, down to Spray Lake Sawmills Centre and across the tracks at the East end by the tennis courts.

    However, the number one question when you head out is “What is the footing like”? There may be some clear sections on the path but there is also a number of very slippery sections. In the last couple of weeks I’ve talked to several walkers who have taken a tumble due to the conditions.

    In a Jan. 7th article in the Calgary Herald, Valerie Berenyi noted that “Calgary is a downright dangerous place to navigate by foot in winter. After countless freeze-thaw cycles, parking lots harden into skating rinks, sidewalks and roads turn into treacherous and stairs morph into hazardous slopes. Some people become housebound because they’re so terrified of slipping and falling on the ice.

    The concerns are real. Falling is the leading cause of injury in Alberta, cutting across all age groups and is largely preventable, according to Alberta Health Services. And in particularly glacial years, snow – and ice –related injuries soar. This November, AHS reported that 364 slip-and fall patients landed in Calgary emergency rooms, compared with only 124 in November 2021.

    Even though I ski, snowshoe and hike, I’d become more fearful of falling in the winter – until I met a few traction devices that completely changed my outlook”

    Sue and I were feeling the same way about the winter conditions and after reading Valerie’s article we decided to see what traction devices we could find in Cochrane. Our first stop was Marks. They had a number of choices and we went with the “DurACare Unisex GripOns Snow and Ice Grips”. The packaging stated “Get some extra traction on the ice this winter with these sturdy grips from DuraCare. Grip-ons add another measure of safety to the soles of winter footwear, giving you more confidence when walking on slippery roadways. They stretch to fit easily over any type of shoe or boot and are flexible and compact for easy carrying and storage” and at $21.99 a pair we thought they were worth a try.

    That afternoon we headed out with our new grips. I have to say that they made a difference. We both felt more confident walking on the snow / ice packed sections and our footing was definitely more secure. However, make sure you test your footing and as my Nana Parnell would always say ”Look before you leap!”.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Plight of Afghan Women and Girls

    January 5th 2023

    The Plight of Afghan Women and Girls

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: January 5th 2023

    The Plight of Afghan Women and Girls

    In October 2016 I traveled to Afghanistan and ran a marathon in support of Afghan women who ran for freedom and equality. At that time there was hope that the fight for Afghan women’s rights was making some progress. That year there were 6 women running the marathon. I returned to Afghanistan to run the marathon in November 2018 and this time 24 Afghan women participated in the 42.2km race.

    In August 2021 the Taliban took over the country and one of their first acts was the persecution of women and girls. Since then girls have been excluded from secondary education, women have been further stopped from entering public places such as parks and gyms, and recently women have been blocked from entering their university.

    Free to Run is an NGO whose mission is to “Use outdoor sports to develop girls and young women’s leadership in areas of conflict”. I have supported this organization and last week I received this message from Sarah Murray: Executive Director:

    Dear Free to Run Supporter,

    Over the past few weeks the Taliban has made a series of announcements that roll back women’s rights in Afghanistan - including banning female staff of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from going to work. Free to Run stands in solidarity with the NGOs who are suspending their operations.  However, we also realize that every time girls’ and women’s rights are further constrained, the impact extends to the wider community. The needs of girls and women for support, especially related to mental and physical health, continue to increase, as the humanitarian crisis deepens.

     

    After careful consultation with our local partners and young leaders, we have decided to CONTINUE our programming in Afghanistan - in a modified manner.

     

    The young women who lead this work insist that we continue providing safe (indoor, home-based) fitness and mental health support to girls and other young women in their communities. While we have to suspend centralized programming, we are adapting our modality of delivery to be largely virtual with a hyper-local, community outreach component.

    Free to Run’s work is unfinished in Afghanistan. We hope you’ll continue to stand in solidarity with Free to Run.

    We are so fortunate to live in Canada. As we start a new year please reach out and make a difference in the lives of these women and girls by donating at https://freetorun.org/donate . Thank you and all the best for 2023.

    Cochrane Eagle Article

    2022

  • The World Cup – A Family Affair

    December 1st 2022

    The World Cup – A Family Affair

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: December 1st 2022

    The World Cup – A Family Affair

    As a young lad in England I would be out night after night playing football (soccer) with my two younger brothers. We’d only come in when Mum yelled that it was supper time. My love of soccer continued when I came to Canada and in 1986 the unbelievable happen….Canada qualified for the World Cup. We were scheduled to play Hungary, The Soviet Union and France and the bookies were offering 100 to 1 that Canada would not score a goal. Well, I thought that was crazy so I bet $10 ready to make some easy money. Unfortunately the bookies must have known something I didn’t and Canada never scored a goal.

    Fast forward 36 years and Canada are back at the big table. Sue and I followed their progress as they qualified for the event eventually topping the group ahead of the USA and Mexico. However, Canada is not the only team being cheered on in this household. Sue and I are both from England so they get equal billing. Over the years there has been a lot of heartache following the three lions. The typical scenario is that they reach the quarter finals and then lose on penalties.

    The other team that we will be cheering for is Wales. Our son Calum lives in Cardiff and it’s been 64 years since they have been in the tournament. Also, our grandson Nathan who lives in Ottawa is using the World Cup as part of a class project. He and several of his class mates have been assigned Group D: France, Australia, Tunisia and Denmark, and they are learning about the countries.

    So, on November 20th the first game was played and we hung our Canada, England and Wales flags on the deck. At the time of writing this article all the teams were in with a shot of making the last 16 even though Canada had a hard fought loss to Belgium. By the time you read this story the picture will be a lot clearer. Who will have progressed? Will Canada have scored their first goal? I must admit this year I didn’t make a bet.

    Whatever happens the good news is that Canada will be back in 4 years’ time as the games will be held in Canada, USA and Mexico.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Having a Plan B is the Key

    November 1st 2022

    Having a Plan B is the Key

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: November 1st 2022

    Having a Plan B is the Key

    I love running! I started in 2002 at the age of 47 and until 8 months ago was still going strong. Then I had a pain in my lower abdomen and had to stop. The diagnosis…..a hernia. Well, in the current health care climate this is not a quick fix. My doctor sent in a request for an assessment by the surgeon and I’m still waiting for the date. My running schedule was suddenly in the garbage can so what was my Plan B? I started walking but was looking for something to get my heart rate up. The answer: biking.

    Checking in a dark corner at the back of the garage I found my road bike. It has been a while since it saw the light of day, however, after pumping up the tires and oiling the chain it was ready to go. My plan was to complete the “Horse Creek Loop” over the summer months. The route took me from my home, across the tracks, up Horse Creek Road South to the 1A. Then west to Grand Valley Road, north to RR280, east to Horse Creek road and south back to the 1A. This was my old marathon route and in total is 45km. Summer came and went and by Oct. 31st I had completed “41” Horse Creek loops for 2039kms.

    As mentioned, the other activity I started to get back into was swimming. Heading down to Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre I was keen to get back to the lap pool. The problem was sometimes there were no lanes available. Time for Plan B! Instead of heading home and complaining that there were no lanes I took a sharp right and went into the warm water therapy pool. There I used the foam dumb-bells, swimming against the jets and aqua-yoga (make sure you take a breath). I read up on how beneficial warm water therapy exercise was and decided to turn my hot tub into a warm water therapy tub. I hear you ask “was that complicated to do?” The answer....NO. I just turned down the temperature from 105F to 95F and voila, a warm water therapy tub.

    There you have it. Sometimes things don’t work out so don’t stress out, just look for a Plan B. It may end up being better than your Plan A.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Hidden Gems - Aama Nepalese Cuisine

    October 6th 2022

    Hidden Gems - Aama Nepalese Cuisine

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: October 6th 2022

    Hidden Gems - Aama Nepalese Cuisine

    The third and final “Hidden Gem” I want to share with you is Aama Nepalese Cuisine. This restaurant has recently opened and is located at the intersection of Horse Creek Road and the 1A in Cochrane, Alberta. Sue and I celebrated our wedding Anniversary on September 11th and we decided to reserve a table for that evening.

    It was great that we could stroll up to the restaurant from where we live in West Terrace Rise. Entering the establishment, we were struck by the beautiful décor and art on the walls. Sitting down, we meet the owners Tara and Gyanendra and learnt a little bit about them. They told us that it all started when Chef Gyanendra, popularly known as Chef G, found himself pacing the walls of his home in Northeast Calgary during the Covid -19 lockdown. Suddenly, he found lots of time to talk to his family back in Nepal thanks to the social media and video chat technology of today’s digital era.

    Food was a central theme for many during the lockdown as we all know. He started recreating his mom’s recipes with the help of his elder sister who brought him up after his Mom’s passing at a very young age. Knowing Calgary is not an avid server of Nepalese cuisine, he started to curate a menu that not only serves the most authentic flavours but also carries symbolism from Nepalese culture.

    Tara Poudel, wife to Chef G, and an expert in banking and finance, laid out the blueprint to bring “Aama Nepalese Cuisine” to life. She worked on the ideation, while Chef took care of all things flavour. For the name, they wanted to honour Chef G’s beloved late mother, thereby calling the place Aama Nepalese Cuisine where “Aama” means mother. Through their food, they hope to share their story, culture, and values. The three key values they are building at Aama Nepalese Cuisine are: reverence, service, and gratitude.

    Tara and Chef G express their gratitude for the tremendous love and support they have received from Cochranites. To them, Cochrane feels home.

    Sue and I had a wonderful meal and look forward to visiting again. Tara told us that they will be introducing a brunch menu in October so check out Instagram @aamanepalesecuisine for details.

    It’s recommended to make reservations so call (403) 376-6165 and enjoy your “Taste of Nepal”.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Hidden Gems - The Stockmen’s

    September 1st 2022

    Hidden Gems - The Stockmen’s

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: September 1st 2022

    Hidden Gems - The Stockmen’s

    The second “Hidden Gem” I want to share with you is “The Stockmen’s”. The Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation, Bert Sheppard Library and Archives is located in the Cochrane RancheHouse, 1/2 km north of the highway 22/1A intersection in Cochrane, Alberta. The Stockmen’s was officially organized in 1980 by fifty founding members comprising of ranchers, farmers and individuals who wanted to commemorate the Canadian livestock industry by an Act of Alberta Legislation.

    Objectives of the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation are:

    - To identify, honour and remember the builders of the livestock industry and others who have made outstanding contributions to its progress.

    - To provide historical and business information relating to the livestock industry.

    - To familiarize the public with the lore of the cattle industry.

    - To encourage a general appreciation of the sociological and economic significance of the livestock industry.

    - Visiting the Stockmen’s will open your eyes to the ranching history in Southern Alberta. There you can find:

    13,000+ books related to western culture from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, including a complete collection of Brand Books for Alberta from 1888 to the present as well as some from the other provinces.

    - 6,000+ magazines on such areas as Ranching, Rodeo, Horsemanship, Veterinary Science, History, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and many more...

    - Videos: “Heritage Voices” This is a collection of over one hundred early pioneers who were videotaped by Stockmen’s volunteers. Such pioneers as Nettie Ware and Ed McKinnon are but two representatives of this once-in-a-lifetime collection. 100+ audio tape cassettes of interviews and tales of the West as told to the noted author Sherm Ewing. The entire transcripts of these tapes have been deposited in the library.

    - Canceled brand files. This Project came to the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation in the late 1980s – It involves numerous boxes containing the original files of brand requests from 1888 to the 1980s. NOTE: only canceled brands are in this collection. This information is especially of interest to those tracing family history.

    Scott Grattidge, Executive Director of the Stockmen’s shared with me one of the upcoming events. On Saturday October 29th the “Back in the Saddle” Annual Dinner and Auction fund raiser will take place at Cochrane RancheHouse. The doors will be open at 5.00pm and to get tickets go to www.stockmen.ca.

    Scott also told me about the “Cowboy Coffee” morning which takes place every Thursday at 10.00am. This is your opportunity to sit down, have a coffee and chat with a local rancher about the history of the foothills around Cochrane.

    Feel free to visit this wonderful “Hidden Gem” in Cochrane. The Library is open from Tuesday to Friday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Closed Monday and weekends after the long weekend.

    So saddle up and enjoy the visit!

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Hidden Gems - Tri Hub at SLSFSC

    August 4th 2022

    Hidden Gems - Tri Hub at SLSFSC

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: August 4th 2022

    Hidden Gems - Tri Hub at SLSFSC

    Over the next several articles, I want to share with you some hidden gems. These are locations, shops, and activities that you may not know about in and round Cochrane. The first is Tri Hub, a Swimwear and Multisport shop located at our very own Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.

    When I arrived in Cochrane in April 2004 I joined the Cochrane Red Rock Runners and Tri Club. Every Saturday after my club run I’d go for coffee at one of the local coffee shops. In one corner a group of us runners would chat about out previous week but in the other corner was another group having coffee. I asked who they were and was told “That’s the Triathletes!” I had no idea what this entailed and at first I was a bit intimidated to go over to chat. However I was told that they wouldn’t bite so one Saturday I joined their table.

    Over the next few years I completed Olympic (1.5km swim / 40km bike / 10km run), Half Ironman (2.0 km swim / 90km bike / 21.1 km run) and Ironman (4.0 km swim / 180km bike / 42.2 km run) distance races. My last triathlon was the Half Ironman in Calgary in August 2009.

    Then, 3 weeks ago I finished my year as Rotary District 5360 Governor. I had had too many breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Rotary meetings and it was time to get back into shape. I walked into SLSFSC ready to crush some laps and I spotted Tri Hub in the corner of the building near the registration desk. After my swim I headed into the shop and met owner Lorin Inglis.

    Lorin told me that he had set up the store in February of this year and caters to swimmers, bikers and runners. I must say chatting with Lorin got me thinking about triathlon again and I took the first step....I bought a new sports bag. Check out Lorin’s store. He has some great gear and go to his website (www.trihub.ca ) for store hours and lots of other information.

    A few words from Lorin, “It was such a pleasure to meet Martin Parnell when he popped in a few weeks ago to look for a new swim bag - the interaction was nothing short of what we have come to understand as the quintessential Cochrane community spirit!  It’s been such a pleasure occupying our space near the pool because of the fierce “support local” attitude and the strong community bond that exists here in Cochrane!

    My intro into the world of triathlon is too long of a story to tell here but the important theme that I want to accord with Martin on is that the legacy and culture of triathlon is one of inclusiveness, supportiveness and is in its essence about overcoming challenges.  So I think it’s a great time - post COVID - to take on some new challenges training together.  If you pop by the shop I’ll be happy to help you do that!”

      

    So if you’re interested in entering the world of triathlon or looking to make a comeback after 13 years then chat to Lorin, he’ll put you on the right track.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Life as a Rotary District Governor - One year on

    July 7th 2022

    Life as a Rotary District Governor - One year on

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: July 7th 2022

    Life as a Rotary District Governor - One year on

    On July 1st 2021 I started my journey as Rotary District 5360 Governor. Part of the role was to visit the 45 Rotary clubs that are located in Southern Alberta / Saskatchewan from Lacombe in the North to Cardston in the South and Banff in the West to Swift Current in the East. In the fall, COVID was still going strong and my visits were made using zoom. Clubs shared with me their plans for the year but because of the pandemic they involved virtual fundraisers and supporting members in their communities.

    During the year, I had three District initiatives that I wanted to share with the clubs: Move for Polio, Rotary Day of Service: Secret 3k and the District Conference. Move for Polio: End Polio Now, kicked off on July 1st and finished on October 24th, International Polio Day. Rotary has been providing vaccinations to children for over 30 years and we are now at the point where there are only two countries that had a polio case reported in the last 3 years, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the summer members, families and friends ran, walked, swam, golfed, gardened, etc. and not only raised over $75,000 but also combined to cover 80,000km....twice around the globe.

    The Rotary Day of Service was held on March 2nd 2022 and the theme was “Empowering Women and Girls”. Over the last 5 years I’ve been involved with the Secret 3k Run / Walk and this was the first year that Rotary become an official partner. Members across the District headed out on a cold March evening in support of women and girls who run for freedom and equality. In total 240 Rotarians and friends showed that were are stronger together.

    The third event was the District Conference which was held on Saturday May 14th at the Alliance church in Cochrane. Over 300 Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and guests enjoyed a variety of speakers on the theme of “Supporting the Environment”. The conference charity partner was Shelter Box and this organization provides shelter in the immediate aftermath of disasters around the world. Huge thank you to the members and clubs who donated over $20,000 to this organization. The day finished on a high with an ice cream social sponsored by our own MacKay’s.

    With my year as District Governor completed I had one more engagement to carry out. On Sunday July 3rd, the celebration for the “Bike-A-Thon” fund raiser took place at Cochrane Toyota. The other legacy from the District Conference was the opportunity it provided to present a cheque for $10,000 to “The Trail – Calgary to Canmore”. This Rotary project will bring together communities along the Bow Valley and that is a reason for all of us to celebrate. When one door closes another one opens.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain has arrived!

    June 2nd 2022

    Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain has arrived!

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: June 2nd 2022

    Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain has arrived!

    First there was one then there were two. The Rotary Club of Cochrane was chartered on May 17th 1991 over 30 years ago. Over the years the club have completed a number of community projects including the joint Rotary / Lions Bow Rivers Edge Campground, an extension to the Cochrane Library, Rotary Park and the upcoming Calgary to Cochrane Trail. Their work also includes International projects and programs for Cochrane youth.

    Over the years the town of Cochrane has grown from 14,000 in 2005 to 32,000 in 2022 and with that the opportunity for a second Rotary club. At the Rotary 5360 District Conference held on May 14th at the Alliance church I had the pleasure of welcoming over 300 Rotarians and guests from across Southern Alberta to our corner of the world.

    The theme was “Supporting the Environment” and we had 10 speakers share their stories and expertise. At the end of the day I had a surprise announcement. We had only heard the day before, on May 13th, that second Rotary club in Cochrane had been approved and chartered by Rotary International. It was a thrill to welcome Ryan Baum, President of the Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain to the Stage.

    The new club had been operating as a satellite club to the main club for 2 ½ years and during that time they have made an impact on the community. In 2020, in hopes to lift the spirits of Cochranites and fundraise for our local community, they hosted a series of Drive In Movie events. Together, with the tremendous sponsorship and support from various community businesses and the citizens of Cochrane, they were able to raise $60,000 in their inaugural year.

    As a result of the COVID pandemic, the local food bank in Cochrane was overwhelmed and desperately needed to expand their facility. The $60,000 contribution was the final financial support they needed to complete that project. That expansion help the Cochrane Activettes food bank serve more families in need and will have a lasting effect for years to come.

    This year the new club is hosting The Rocky Mountain Charity Golf Classic on June 20th at the Bearspaw Golf Club. They will be joined by fellow sport, music and media celebrities including: Curtis Glencross, Lanny McDonald, Jordan Eberly, Brendon Morrison, Jamie Mccoun, John Cornish, Jock Wilson, Natasha Staniszewski, John Morris, Ben Hebert and Mike Cvik. The money raised will go to the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation children’s Summer camp program.

    If you would like to learn more about the Rotary Club of Cochrane Rocky Mountain and the Rocky Mountain Golf Classic then please go to www.rockymountainrotary.com.

    Making a difference in the community.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Rotary District Conference is coming to Cochrane

    April 28th 2022

    The Rotary District Conference is coming to Cochrane

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: April 28th 2022

    The Rotary District Conference is coming to Cochrane

    There is just over two weeks before the Rotary District 5360 Conference will be coming to Cochrane. On Saturday May 14th we will be host to a number of amazing speakers and the theme is “Supporting the Environment”. The Conference will be held at the Alliance Church and we are looking forward to having over 250 Rotarians, Rotaracts, Interactors and guests participate in this exciting event. We have a number of incredible presenters and I would like to introduce one of our amazing local speakers:

    Jade Janzen - Cochrane - Growing up in an environmentally conscious family and spending time outdoors as often as possible, it was evident early on that Jade  would always be environmentally minded. Jade Janzen founded Lives With Less Plastic in 2018 when she was in Grade 7.  Now a grade 11 student, she continues to be passionate about making positive change within her community. Jade loves educating younger students about ways in which they can be more environmentally aware.  Jade lives and plays on Treaty 7 land with her parents and younger sister. In her free time Jade can be found doing homework, playing ringette, soccer or basketball, or cross country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, backpacking and mountain biking.  When she graduates, she plans on pursuing environmental science, followed by medical school to study the effects of micro plastics on the human body.

    Jade’s topic is: When a School Project Evolves into a Passion. What started off as a plea to Cochrane town council to ban single use plastic bags and straws evolved into a mission to inform the community of the impact their consumption has on the environment and to empower them to take simple steps to reduce their consumption and environmental footprint for a sustainable future.

    I’d like to thank our sponsors including Spray Lake Sawmills, Mountain View Optometry, Raymond James, Mackay’s Ice Cream, Cochrane Toyota, Rockies rentals, Canadian Rockies Experience, Bolder Menswear and the Rotary Clubs of Cochrane, Canmore, Calgary, Calgary Fish Creek, Calgary North, Calgary West and Lethbridge East.

    Everyone is welcome, Rotarians and non-Rotarians to participate in this conference. Meet Rotarians from across Southern Alberta and learn about how we can all make a difference. If you are interested in checking out this conference and registering then go to: www.discon5360.ca. Registration close on Friday May 6th so don’t wait!

    We only have one earth. It is only by working together that we can ensure that we have a sustainable future for everyone on this Plant.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • The Secret Marathon Film: Available to Everyone!

    March 3rd 2022

    The Secret Marathon Film: Available to Everyone!

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: March 3rd 2022

    The Secret Marathon Film: Available to Everyone!

    In October 2016 film maker Kate McKenzie and I went to Afghanistan to run a marathon with a group Afghan women and girls who ran for freedom and equality. We took with us a documentary film crew.

    Five and a half years later, on Feb.21, 2022, The Secret Marathon Film was released to stream publicly for the first time on Vimeo. The award winning documentary film tells the story of the first women in Afghanistan to run a marathon.

    “We were heartbroken to hear the news that the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan. Months later, many of our friends and contacts are still not safe and are facing threats due to promoting gender equality,” states Kate McKenzie, Film Co-Director.

    “Seeing the influx of new Afghan refugees to Canada, we felt now was the time to share with the world a different perspective about Afghanistan through our film. Oftentimes, the only things we hear about Afghanistan are stories of war, poverty and terrorism yet it is a beautiful country with resilient and hospitable people.” states Kate.

    Our hope is that by sharing our story, Canadians and those around the world will be more willing to greet Afghan refugees with open arms and see them as wonderful additions to our communities.

    Kate shares, “While filming this documentary in Afghanistan, I was inspired by such brave women and girls who fought for equality and at times, risked their lives for the freedom to run outdoors.” McKenzie hopes that the film will inspire others to stand in solidarity with Afghans and continue to speak up about the need for gender equality.

    The Secret Marathon film was created in collaboration with Afghan cultural advisors and all Afghans featured in the film have communicated their support for sharing the film more widely.

    HIGHLIGHTS

    - The Secret Marathon film has raised over $100,000 for charities including Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, the Afghan Sports Trust and 261 Fearless all of whom create opportunities for women in education and sport.

    - The film inspired the Secret 3K a run/walk event hosted during the week of International Women’s Day now in its 5th year with thousands of participants joining from 24 countries around the world.

    Award winning film including:

    - Winner of People’s Choice Award, Best Documentary Feature at Edmonton International Film Festival, People’s Choice Award at Zonta Film Festival, Audience Choice Best Documentary Runner-Up at Cinefest Film Festival

    - Record breaking attendance at Calgary Underground Film Festival

    - Sold-out theaters at Cinefest, EIFF, Zonta, CUFF Docs, Red Deer Justice Film Festival, Kingston Canadian Film Festival

    So now you too can see this film. Just click on this link: https:/vimeo.com/thesecretmarathon/ and not only will you have access to the main film but we have also made available a Children’s version.

    Please share far and wide. Stronger together

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • Rotary Day of Service: The Secret 3k

    February 3rd 2022

    Rotary Day of Service: The Secret 3k

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: February 3rd 2022

    Rotary Day of Service: The Secret 3k

    In 2021 / 2022 Rotary International established the Rotary Days of Service. These days are to address challenges facing the community and provide meaningful and participatory experiences for Rotary, Rotaract, Interact and EarlyAct members.

    Rotary District 5360 and 5370 have decided to embrace the theme of “Empowering Women and Girls” and participate in The Secret 3k.

    The Secret 3k was inspired by the Marathon of Afghanistan which started in 2015 when the first Afghan women to complete a marathon, ran the 42.2kms in Bamyan, Afghanistan in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. While she was training, she had to endure verbal abuse and rocks being thrown at her but this did not stop her from achieving her goal. Last October the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and the oppression of women and girls has returned. The Secret 3k allows us to run / walk for freedom and gender equality.

    The Secret 3K run/walk, is an event held annually during International Women’s Week to promote equality. It started in 2018, in 10 cities across Canada and has grown every year. Supported by the Running Room, The Secret 3k has raised funds for incredible groups such as the Marathon of Afghanistan, Girl Guides of Canada and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.

    Last year we had over 2,000 women, men, girls and boys from around the world participate. In total we had 23 countries involved including Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, Netherlands, Austria, Singapore, Pakistan, Sweden, Greece, Poland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Japan and Afghanistan. We even had several schools participate, during the day, with 3K events.

    One of those schools was Ecole Notre Dame des Vallees in Cochrane. This school has supported the event every year and the 3k run / walk takes students, parents and teachers on a route along the beautiful Bow River.

    This year The Secret 3K is being held on Wednesday, March 2nd and, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Secret 3k will continue as a totally virtual event. So what does 3k look like? Well it’s 3,750 steps or a 40 min walk. Pick a route and head out on March 2nd. Everyone is invited to participate so please head over to www.secret3k.com and sign up today.

    Whether you are a Rotarian or not we can all run / walk 3k for freedom and equality.

    Cochrane Eagle Article
  • There’s a New Club in Town: Rotary EarlyAct

    January 6th 2022

    There’s a New Club in Town: Rotary EarlyAct

    View Article
  • ×
    Marathon Man
    Martin Parnell Image
    Martin Parnell
    Date: January 6th 2022

    There’s a New Club in Town: Rotary EarlyAct

    In my role as the Rotary District Governor, I’m always delighted to be able to welcome new members and the formation of new Rotary Clubs.

    This was especially so, when, on December 14th. I attended our newest club, the Rotary Club of Cochrane EarlyAct club, at Glenbow School. It is made up of students in Grade Four, who will decide on which projects to embark on and may then encourage all students, from the school to partake in.

    The club was formed in October of this year and has, already completed their first project. This was to make Christmas cards for residents at both Bethany and Big Hill Lodge, situated in our community.

    Supported by staff at the school, the sixteen EarlyAct leaders and other students, produced 175 cards, in total. Instead of writing in them, the students had the wonderful idea of leaving them blank and putting them into bundles of five, wrapped in ribbon, so that the residents could then use them as they pleased.

    I was there to accept the cards, which were beautifully hand-made from mostly recycled materials, and to present the students with their official Rotary pins.The EarlyAct club already has plans for projects in the coming year.

    EarlyAct is Rotary pilot program for elementary-aged students. It provides them the opportunity for gaining an increased knowledge of their community and the wider world. It engages them in activities that promote the importance of respect, dignity and caring and the opportunity to develop leadership skills.

    The staff and students are supported by a team of Rotarians, who attend their meetings, on a monthly basis and can offer input on their projects. These projects are intended to offer help and support to those in communities locally, nationally and internationally.

    EarlyAct is part of our Rotary New Generations, which also includes Interact for High School students, we have a club at Cochrane High School and Rotoract, for University students. All part of the family of Rotary.

    I can’t wait to see what these young people come up with in the future. This is a great addition, not only to our own Rotary Club of Cochrane, but to the community of Cochrane.

    I would like to thank Glenbow Principal, Jason Billings and his Grade Four staff, especially Mme. Ungureanu and Mr. Groenveld, for agreeing to have EarlyAct as part of their school and encouraging the students to create a wonderful project and get it finished, in time for Christmas, at a time that I appreciate has been challenging for everyone in our schools.

    There’s a New Club in Town: Rotary EarlyAct
    Cochrane Eagle Article
    Martin Parnell Back To Top Icon