A whole new meaning to running for council

Marty Mako and Mathew Siscoe aim to bring awareness to the need for an active lifestyle


September 15th, 2010

St. Catharines, ON – Marty Mako and Mathew Siscoe are ‘running’ for council in more ways than one.  The city council candidates for Port Dalhousie and St. Patrick’s wards respectively will be taking part in this weekend’s “Run for the Grapes” half-marathon, part of the Niagara Wine Festival, in an effort to show leadership in physical fitness in the community.

“St. Catharines has taken a lot of flack over the last few years for a perceived ‘lack of fitness’, and Marty and I thought this would be a good way to lead the effort in combating that negative image.  We both deal with health and fitness on a daily basis, we both love to run, and we’re both running for council, so we thought the ‘Run for the Grapes’ would be a great fit” said Siscoe, a Physics teacher and high school football coach.

“I interact with a lot of young people every day, and my message to them is always that being active is the single best thing they can do to stay healthy.”

For Mako, a Health Promoter with Niagara Region Public Health, increasing awareness about the need to stay active is his day job.  “Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer are the leading causes of death in Niagara.  Although they are among the most common and costly health problems, the good news is they are also among the most preventable.  Making healthy choices such as being physically active every day, eating healthy foods, and living tobacco free goes a long way to prevent and help control the effects of these diseases.”

According to Mako, along with combating chronic disease, increasing physical activity levels has been shown to reduce blood pressure, prevent back pain, improve your mood and self-esteem, and even prevent osteoporosis.

Given the bad press that has been attached to St. Catharines in the past – the city was dubbed ‘Canada’s fattest’ in 2001 – the pair of council-hopefuls think the ‘Run for the Grapes’ half-marathon provides a unique opportunity for them to be active role models while they work towards positions of leadership in the community.  “I got into my job because I’m deeply committed to building a healthy, active Niagara.  This is important to me personally and professionally.  We’re not saying that everyone needs to run a half marathon in order to be healthy.  We just hope our efforts will inspire others to get active, their way, every day.  Every step counts.” said Mako.

Siscoe is in full agreement on that.  “We need to lead by doing; no matter what the issue is.  If you can’t expect that from your community leaders, then why should they hope for you to do the same?  It’s important that civic leaders be the change they want to see.”

The 33rd annual Standard Run for the Grapes half-marathon starts at 9am on Sunday, September 19th from Montebello Park in St. Catharines.  A 5k race will begin at 9:15am.