Paul Godman

2007 staff achievement awards: Paul Godman

February 7, 2008

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Each year, SFU’s staff achievement awards highlight the exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments of staff members. Throughout this semester, SFU News will feature profiles on each of the 2007 winners, who were recognized at a formal luncheon Jan. 21 at the Diamond Alumni Centre. In this issue: Athletics Achievement Award — Paul Godman, associate director, student recruitment.

Paul Godman, the 2007 staff achievement award winner for athletics, has a message for other staff and faculty members striving to reach challenging health and fitness goals this year: Keep your eye on the prize, yes, but enjoy the ride.

“The race or whatever goal you have is just something to work towards,” says Godman, who last year completed the Diez Vistas 50k trail race in the mountains north of Port Moody, a half Ironman, two half marathons, the Honolulu Marathon and – his pièce de résistance – a second Ironman Canada triathlon in Penticton. The Ironman is arguably the most gruelling event in sports, involving a 3.8-km swim, a 180-km bike ride and a 42.2-km run, all in succession within 17 hours on the same day.

“Of course, I enjoy the racing and the challenge,” says the associate director of university recruitment. “But an event like the Ironman means several months’ worth of training so you better enjoy that, and you better enjoy the camaraderie with the people you’re training with.”

Godman admits his goals may be more extreme than others. But he quickly adds “I’m not an extraordinary athlete by any means. It’s a journey and it’s been incremental for me over the years. It depends where you’re at in your endurance career. If you’re a new runner and your goal is to complete a 10k, that’s fabulous. If you’re on your 20th 10k you might be pushing for a faster time. So it’s a progression.”

The key to a successful health and fitness program is to make it part of your life, says the 11-year SFU staffer, and that entails finding an equilibrium between work, play and family.

“It’s important that we all  try and balance the really important work that goes on here and to take care of our health. You can start by getting out and taking walks at lunch, paying more attention to nutrition, cutting out trans fats, and eating more fruits and vegetables.”

SFU community members are blessed, he says, not just with a wealth of athletic facilities and health counseling services but with an abundance of good role models. “Across the university we have inspirational people – faculty and staff - who train regularly and are committed to health and fitness. There’s a culture of fitness and health here and you’ll get lots of support, whatever your goals. And a lot of camaraderie; it’s not just about exercise.”
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