Dunderdale, ‘almost 100 pounds’ lighter, set to run Tely 10

Steve Bartlett
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale high-fives Exploits MHA Clayton Forsey as she crosses the Bell Centennial Cup finish line in Grand Falls-Windsor June 19. She says she’s been getting lots of encouragement with her weight loss and running. “People are really generous and kind and complimentary and supportive. It’s wonderful.” — Photo by Dave Newell/Transcontinental Media

Premier Kathy Dunderdale has a lot of running ahead of her.

This fall’s general election is 80 days away and she’ll spend the weeks before chasing votes to keep the Progressive Conservatives in power.

But prior to hitting the hustings, she’s got a different kind of race in front of her. Dunderdale is running in this Sunday’s Tely 10, and will be the first sitting premier to do so.

“I’m not the least bit concerned about time. Whatever competition that’s going on is going on internally,” she said.

“It’s such a thrill for me to do this. I know I can run it.”

Six months ago, the premier wasn’t even thinking about running the province’s most popular road race.

It didn’t become a serious consideration until the end of May, when she concluded that running the route from Paradise to Bannerman Park would be doable if she could do four laps of Quidi Vidi Lake.

That realization is one of many Dunderdale has had since Oct. 16, when she changed her lifestyle and committed to losing weight and becoming more active.

After watching late cabinet colleague Dianne Whalen’s health fail, and remembering her late husband Peter’s battle with cancer a few years before, Dunderdale found herself thinking about how important it was to be healthy.

She wanted better control over her body. She cut things out of her diet — refined sugars, processed foods, etc. — and started exercising more regularly. She stuck to the plan even though her workload changed drastically when she became premier Dec. 3.

Her original intent was to shed 20 or 25 pounds, but nine months after she began, Dunderdale proudly said, “I’ve lost nearly 100 pounds.”

After struggling with weight for about 15 years and trying “everything under the sun” to conquer it, she said she’s feeling healthy and strong. She considers that a great gift. One she said she doesn’t take for granted.

“I hope it continues. I hope I don’t go back, but I’m always mindful that I’ve tried many things and failed.”

Besides becoming fitter, Dunderdale has become a runner.

She had always walked and hiked. After she started changing her lifestyle, she began doing lot of walking. Winter set in and she hit the track at MUN’s Field House. One February day, she decided to try to a little run.

“I did one lap and near died. I thought, ‘this is not for me.’ But the next day I decided I’d try it again and just consistently kept at it.”

She has kept going ever since, running as much as her schedule allows.

The premier started setting small goals, with no pressure. Three kilometres at the Field House. Then it was six.

“During that first month, if anybody told me I’d be running the Tely 10 I would have told them they were crazy.”

Then came that May realization that she could run the big race.

To prepare, she tried the 10-km Bell Centennial Cup last month in Grand Falls-Windsor.

She passed that “first test,” and gained confidence about Sunday’s race.

Dunderdale has been travelling a lot in recent weeks, including to Europe for July 1 commemorations and to the Connaigre Peninsula last week to announce aquaculture projects. She’s also been busy with things like candidate nominations for the upcoming provincial election.

She flew to Vancouver Tuesday for premiers’ meetings and doesn’t get back until Saturday afternoon. Her plan is to try to stay on Newfoundland Time, so her internal clock isn’t thrown off too much for the race.

“I don’t know if all my meetings will let me do that,” she said before she left, “but I’m going to give it a good try because that might be my best approach.”

The premier’s main focus for Sunday is simply on crossing the finish line.

“I can’t say that I like running,” she admits. “But I love what running does for me. I love, when I’ve completed a run, how I feel. I love the effect it has on me physically.”


Twitter: bartlett_steve

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, Field House

Geographic location: Paradise, Bannerman Park, Grand Falls-Windsor.She Europe Vancouver Newfoundland Time

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Recent comments

  • Bern
    July 23, 2011 - 04:50

    Congratulations Kathy! You are truly an inspiration both as an individual and as our Worthy Premier! I've always enjoyed walking and eating healthy which is always a constant struggle to keep at it. I too , certainly need to lose weight, and keep getting to the gym as well. I plan to walk/run the Tely 10 next year Please God instead of just procrastinating which I am good at... I am sure you will pass the finish line with flying colors, lots and lots of enthusiastic cheering and great emotion to boot!!! If I were in town, I would be there to cheer you and my many friends doing it as well. You Go Girl!!!!!!

    July 23, 2011 - 00:00

    When you cross the finish line in your 1st Tely 10, the feeling you have , is like wakeing up on Christmas morning, as a kid. I kid you not , there is no better feeling!! Start out slow , get into your regular pace, enjoy the run, and I guarantee, you will remember the moment, when you cross the finish line, for the rest of your life!! You have reached this point of running your 1st Tely 10, in about 6 mths, with over a 100 lb. weight loss!! Remarkable!! If there was a catagory for that , you would have placed 1st !! Says a lot about your intestinal foritude!! Congrats Premier!! We are all very proud of you!!

  • Mike
    July 22, 2011 - 22:32

    Congratulations on deciding to live a healthy life. What you are doing is diffcult to say the least, but you're doing it. Good luck with the Tely 10. Win, Place, or Show it's how you play the game that counts. Best wishes Madame Premier.

  • Sara Clarke
    July 22, 2011 - 22:01

    I must say way to go dunderdale , I am proud of you and congratulations on the weight loss and I hope you win this election in the up coming months , then you can share your story to the children and todays youth

  • bonnie butler
    July 22, 2011 - 20:24

    congrats to our premier. I too am on the weight loss journey.anybody who has strugled with their weight loss trials knows what commitment it takes also running was the hardest thing that i ever did.you negative people should try it sometime.my daughter made a quote at our weight loss meeting "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels". O so true.good luck on sunday hope to see you cross the finish line.our daughter did it one year and we were very proud of her and we didn't even check her time because it didn't matter because the smile on her face said it all.THUMBS UP PREMIER!

  • Greg
    July 22, 2011 - 13:44

    As probably the most obese province in Canada, we certainly need this kind of leadership. I hope, if she does win the election, that she makes it part of her policies to create a better environment for kids in schools to turn this obesity epidemic around.

    • Darlene
      July 22, 2011 - 14:43

      WOW I just compared 2 pictures - before and after- Kathy YOU LOOK AMAZING I have recently decided to change my lifestyle due to health reasons, I too would lke to lose 100 pounds, already have 20. I hope I look this good when I get there. Keep up the good work. The MAJORITY of people are very pleased with your effort

  • Big Guy
    July 22, 2011 - 11:20

    Congrats Premier, you are doing what a leader should do and that is lead. For all you Liberals and NDP out there this is a story about a person changing their life style, nothing to do with Search and Rescue, Lower Churchill or anything else like that. A lot of the arm chair critics out there could do with a bit more exercising your whole body and not just your fingers.

  • Blondie
    July 22, 2011 - 10:36

    Premier, congratulations ! You have accomplished a lot in a short period of time and the majority (well at least those of us that are positive and refuse to snipe) are very proud of you. To those that have left negative comments above,, get a life, try running, its great for the attitude !

  • It's Kathy with a "K"
    July 22, 2011 - 10:16

    To those numbskulls who have not taken the time to notice, our Premier spells her name with a "K" and not a "C". Show her the respect she deserves!

    • Brad
      July 22, 2011 - 11:56

      So far only one person has spelled it with a "C", the others who used her first name spelled it with a "K". Lighten up, anyone can make a mistake.

  • Misty M
    July 22, 2011 - 09:46

    what an inspiration!!! WTG Premier Dunderdale!

  • Kent
    July 22, 2011 - 09:46

    I don't like her politics but I admire her dedication to the weight loss and setting a good example for others who struggle with weight issues. Well done.

  • Joseph McGrath
    July 22, 2011 - 09:40

    I think Ms.Dunderdale derserves a lot of credit in sticking to her health goals and achieving them.As well she seems determined to keep up the healthy lifestyle so good for her.One might not agree with her politics but it is hard to knock her physical lifestyle changes. Unfortunately I am pushing sixty nine. That is almost enough exercise for me.

  • BelindaW
    July 22, 2011 - 09:40

    Congratulations Mrs. Premier. Cool story. Good luck on Sunday.

  • Bev Doyle
    July 22, 2011 - 09:26

    This story is not about politics, it's about one woman's decision to become healthy! And it is "great news". Way to go Premier D. and best of luck in the Tely 10.

  • Nina B
    July 22, 2011 - 09:17

    Premier D.....I think what you have acomplished is amazing....I to have experienced the the loss of losing my husband and it certainly alters your life on so many levels.....you look at life with new eyes....you realize that we all have the responsibility for our own health.....to the health profession, in most cases we are the sum of the digits on our MCP cards. To those who find it necessary to undermine your accomplishments by commenting on your professional life I say......well I won't say what I think of that.....wishing you much success on sunday.....you go girl.

  • Paula B.
    July 22, 2011 - 08:53

    You truly are an inspiration. Good luck on Sunday!!!!

  • eileen froude
    July 22, 2011 - 08:37

    very courageious Kathy, you are an awesome example, good luck on sunday

  • Mcmanus
    July 22, 2011 - 08:27

    Too bad she is not running the Province.

    • Road Queen
      July 24, 2011 - 15:15

      Bet you that was a very clever comment.........Kathy is to be commended for the job she is doing running our province and her commitment to a healthy lifestyle and personal journey. You are setting a good example Kathy...I was on the start line at the Tely 10 today...ran a good race....a personal best time. Hope you had a wonderful race also...

  • Peter Williams
    July 22, 2011 - 08:25

    Why is she spending so much time running instead of trying to get our Search and Rescue Center back?

  • Rod Lyver
    July 22, 2011 - 08:17

    Congratulations Kathy. I too lost over 100 pounds with a goal to run the tely 10. I ran it twice. Losing weight is a lifetime struggle for me and I have had many ups and downs. Good luck with the race Sunday and hopefully I will be there next year.

  • Wicked
    July 22, 2011 - 07:57

    Awesome job Premier D. Good luck on Sunday.

    • Judith
      July 22, 2011 - 11:12

      I love to read inspirational stories likes this in the Telegram . It's a break from the dismal news coming out of the courts. I stopped buying the Telegram for awhile because of all the negative court news and obvious lazy journalism. This is a great story of what determination can do. It's got me thinking very seriously about finding time to start exercising again. I was an avid runner for many years and then let my job interfere with my exercise program. I am inspired to start again; if the premier of the province can find the time, then so can I. I remember former president of the United States, Bill Clinton once saying that he blocked an hour for himself every day to exercise. Congratulations, Premier Dunderdale and good luck on Sunday.

  • Andree MacMillan
    July 22, 2011 - 07:48

    What a fabulous fitness example for the people of our province.

  • Shannon Reardon
    July 22, 2011 - 07:43

    Politics aside, you have to give her credit for changing her life, getting in better health, and for achieving her personal goals over these months. Good luck at the Tely 10!

  • BR
    July 22, 2011 - 07:39

    Good for you. Now try to get Terry French to run with you.

  • Paul Reddy
    July 22, 2011 - 07:07

    Keep it up Cathy :)

  • TopherMittens
    July 22, 2011 - 07:01

    GREAT NEWS - HA!! Maybe Kathy should start looking at the Provincial goals instead of her personal goals. Something may get done....

    • Nina B
      July 22, 2011 - 09:14

      Premier D.....I think what you have acomplished is amazing....I to have experienced the the loss of losing my husband and it certainly alters your life on so many levels.....you look at life with new eyes....you realize that we all have the responsibility for our own health.....to the health profession, in most cases we are the sum of the digits on our MCP cards. To those who find it necessary to undermine your accomplishments by commenting on your professional life I say......well I won't say what I think of that.....wishing you much success on sunday.....you go girl.

    • mary
      July 22, 2011 - 20:36

      TopherMittens and others fail to see that the Premier has shown her ability to achieve goals through her personal changes. To do what she has in 9 months reflects someone with willpower, confidence, skill and more. I would much rather a person who takes care of their health than one who does not.