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Maple Run Half Marathoner: "I truly run for joy and happiness

Apr. 4—CANTON — Brienne D. Basford was not excited about athletics in high school. She played some soccer but lost interest during the COVID-19 years.

"I actually ran winter track one year in Massena," she said. "I didn't enjoy it."

Over the last two years, her relationship with running has changed.

"I truly run for joy and happiness," she said.

On April 13, Basford will attempt her second Maple Run Half Marathon.

It all began when Basford started working at Mary Kelly's farm.

Kelly is a paddler and runner who can be found at just about every local running or paddling event.

" I was so inspired and interested in all of her activities," Basford said.

Her first running event was one of the Summer Sunset 5K races at St. Lawrence University.

" I just jumped right in, and I ran the 5k, which was 3.1 miles," she said. "And I really loved it.

The following day, the St. Lawrence Valley Paddlers held one of their biathlons, which combines running with paddling.

"I had never paddled before, and she (Kelly) pushed me into it that Wednesday, so I got right into running and paddling just about at the same time."

She was running the Summer Sunset Series races, participating in the paddling competitions, and running the Colton 10-miler before her first Maple Run Half Marathon came along.

In high school, the training put her off on running.

"I don't like being told how fast to run, that you have to run it in this amount of time, that you have to run Monday through Friday," she said. "I'd rather choose my schedule and choose my distances."

Her base fitness, she said, in the early running days, was based on her lifestyle.

"I was active, and I think a big part was working on the farm for Mary," Basford said. "That keeps me on my feet. It keeps me moving. It keeps my muscles working. I mean, gosh, I was lifting calves. The amount of labor that farming brings is a nice way to keep in shape."

While Basford's training schedule is not a structured plan where she feels like she has to do a set amount of miles per week, it has been even more disrupted recently now that the 20-year-old is in college.

Basford is enrolled at SUNY Cobleskill, studying dairy production and management. She returns to St. Lawrence County most weekends to work at her uncle's burrito shop, Bob's Burritos, in downtown Potsdam.

Even though she hasn't logged the miles, she has a positive outlook on the upcoming Maple Run.

"It's really just a positive mindset for me," she said. That's really what carries me and gets me a long way. Even at college, I've had my little spurts of 'Should I really be here? Am I really enjoying this? But is this really for me?' but keeping that mindset of the end goal. I know what I want out of this. I know I want to be here. I know I want this experience."

The weekend before the Maple Run, Basford plans to get together with Kelly and anyone else who wants to join to run the half-marathon course and pick up any litter they come across. She did this last year.

"I love the environment. I'm very supportive of nature. So it's just nice to have people running along who don't have to look at all the garbage on the road," she said.

The Maple Run is April 13, and the start/finish line is at Bend in the River Park. The half marathon starts at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K starts at 9:15 a.m.

Registration is open at themaplerun.com