John Stanton, entrepreneur, runner (b 29 Dec 1948, Tofield, Alta). John Stanton is Canada's best-known expert on recreational running, and through his business, Running Room Ltd, he has advocated for improved health and fitness through simple changes in lifestyle that include increased activity. In young adulthood Stanton was a heavy smoker and self-proclaimed "couch potato." He had been working in the food service industry as an executive when, in his 30s, he was encouraged to enter a 3 km run with his young sons. Barely able to finish the race, Stanton was nonetheless encouraged to take up the sport and ultimately improved his health and fitness. He soon graduated to marathons and triathlons, including the Canadian Ironman and the Hawaiian World Championship Ironman.
Discouraged by the lack of support and equipment available to runners, Stanton opened his own store in 1984. The first Running Room, located in a 2.4 m x 3 m room in an old house in Edmonton that he shared with a hairdresser, was unique in that it catered specially to the needs of runners, unlike the larger chain stores that featured products and equipment for many different sports. The concept was a success, and in 2004 Stanton expanded his company to include the Walking Room.
In addition to retail sales, the company promotes the sport by offering courses on learning to run that more than 600 000 Canadians have completed successfully. The company has sponsored numerous runs supporting local charities and has worked alongside charities in cities across Canada to promote community-wide fitness and weight awareness. In recent years his company has expanded extensively into the US, and Stanton has been featured on several radio and television programs in both Canada and the US promoting fitness and overall wellbeing.
John Stanton continues to run and compete in addition to serving as the president of the Running Room, which he now runs with his sons. He is the author of 4 best-selling books on running and is the current president of the COMMONWEALTH GAMES Association of Canada.