It was still dark outside when Christy Clark left her Best Western hotel in this northern community on Friday morning. Shorts, a baseball cap, a faded grey T-shirt with "Victory" printed across the front is not the polished image that she usually presents for the evening news.
The B.C. Liberal Leader would be back in her suit and heels in time for her first campaign appearance two hours later, but at this early hour, she was slipping in some training before the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday.
The run will give her a short break from the gruelling pace of a 28-day election campaign, although for Ms. Clark, even this has a strategic goal.
Ms. Clark said she started running more than 10 years ago, but "got out of the habit" during the past two years, since she took over as Liberal Leader.
Last October, she decided to make exercise a priority. "I wasn't healthy, and I knew I am going to be in the fight of my life in this campaign," she said in an interview. "Everybody is counting on me to give it 100 per cent, and I had to be in the best possible shape."
She says it is hard to squeeze in time, but aims to sets aside a minimum of half an hour each day for exercise, six days a week. It gives her more energy for the rest of the work day.
But the distance of the Sun Run will be a stretch – she doesn't often run 10k.
"I'm not 29 years old any more." She listens to playlists on her iPod that her 11-year-old son puts together with her, so the music can range from BTO songs to pre-teen pop, including One Direction.
"I get to listen to music I haven't heard before; he gets to introduce things to me."
Registration for the 10k run has surged since the deadly Boston marathon bombing, although Ms. Clark signed up weeks earlier. She said Sunday's run is an opportunity to honour the victims and stand up against such acts of violence.
"It's so sad that people would decide to try to diminish an event that so many people take such pride and pleasure in. It's important that we stand up, as a community, and make the point that is just not acceptable in any society," she said.