Run to Quit: A double dose of risk reduction

A new tobacco cessation program

There are many physical and emotional benefits to walking and running, including evidence that running can increase the odds of successfully quitting: helping people cope with discomfort and cravings while cutting down and quitting smoking.

Run to Quit participants can reduce two key risk factors responsible for poor health: tobacco use and physical inactivity.

What is Run to Quit?

Run to Quit, now Walk or Run to Quit is a tobacco cessation program that pairs the quit smoking expertise of the Canadian Cancer Society with the Running Room Canada’s Learn to Walk or Run 5 km clinics. Run to Quit is offered as a Do it Yourself personal challenge or, for extra support, a 10-week Training Program (Virtual or In-store).

How you can participate

To help your patients achieve the smoke-free life they want:

  1. Order free tear pads, posters or digital ads for your office by emailing
  2. Refer smokers to to learn more and to register for the format that suits them best

By suggesting that Run to Quit be part of your patients’ next quit attempt, you will help link them to a variety of evidence-based supports that can help them stay motivated as they build new skills and establish behaviours to maintain long-term health goals.

How patients can participate

There are two ways to join:

1. Do it Yourself

For smokers who prefer to quit on their own, the Do it Yourself (DIY) format offers the information and tools to use when and how it’s right for them. Smokers who join the free Do it Yourself personal challenge receive:

  • Email support once registration closes
  • Calls from the National Quit Smoking Line
  • Access to a quit smoking guidebook
  • Entry into the contest

2. 10-Week Training Program

Smokers who would like the added structure of a training program can register for a 10 week Virtual Training Program ($49.99 + tax) or a 10 week In-Store Training Program ($69.99 + tax). Virtual Training Programs are hosted in local Running Room stores. The Running Room Clinic Leader provides a step-by-step approach to walking or running 5 km and shares weekly topics of practical support on quit smoking. Participants are regularly encouraged to contact their provincial Quit Smoking Line for cessation counselling and support.

Smokers who join a Training program are helped to sustain behaviour change with:

  • Running Room Coach
  • A simple and proven 10-Week Quit Smoking & Walk or Run Plan
  • Access to a quit smoking guidebook
  • Quit Kit packed with goodies (in store training participants only)
  • Support from the National Quit Smoking Line
  • Entry into the contest.

“Run to Quit was essential in helping me run and quit smoking because it provided me with a structure and plan. My coach gave me a schedule so I knew exactly what I needed to do and my plan kept me accountable to learn to run and to quit smoking”

– Jason Summers, 2016 participant.

Your patients don’t have to be runners to do this!

Run to Quit is for people of all fitness levels. Participants can WALK or RUN to a smoke-free life. For those in a training Program, the Running Room Leader can support individuals by adjusting the program to suit their needs. Past participants like Chelsea Gumbley who had never before been regularly active were amazed and thrilled by their success in the Run to Quit Training Program.

“Being a smoker and saying that I was going to take up running was the scariest thing ever. I want to tell the smokers out there who are thinking about doing the same thing, not to be scared. Run to Quit is full of people who are supportive and who are also learning to run and are quitting smoking together.”

– Chelsea Gumbley, In-store Training Program participant.

Personal support

Quit Buddies, or “wing-men” can make all the difference to somebody trying to avoid temptation or get through cravings in order to stay focused on cessation and physical activity goals. Non-smokers can also register for a training program to improve their own physical activity levels while also supporting a friend through their running and quitting journey. Refer your patients to

Partnership program

Run to Quit it is a partnership program developed by Canadian Cancer Society and Running Room Canada. Based on very encouraging results from the 2013 pilot study, the Public Health Agency of Canada is providing partial funding to help scale up across Canada and increase access to as many smokers as possible. The full program launched in January 2016.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia are engaged as evaluation and implementation partners.

While the biggest prize of all is achieving a smoke-free life, all registered DIY and Training Program participants who successfully quit by the fall, winter or spring challenge target dates are eligible to win a $1,000 cash prize.

Run to Quit
Run to Quit