Former competitive runner returns to Sarnia for book launch

Harvey Mitro presents his first book Taking Life In Strike. (Submitted photo)

A kinesiologist and personal trainer, originally from Sarnia, is sharing various stories that summarize his life through his first book Taking Life in Stride.

A book launch will be held at the Sarnia Library Theatre on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Harvey Mitro said the idea to write a book stemmed from telling his stories to his clients.

“Over the years, they’ve been encouraging me to write the stories down and it just so happens that two of my clients were kind of major players in the world of Canadian literature so I had them at my side helping me,” he said.

It took the father of two about 10 years to complete the book. He described the process as “an exercise in happiness.”

“It was such a joy to write the stories down and they evolved in ways that were totally unexpected in certain circumstances,” he said. “Although many of the stories are more current, some of the ones that I hadn’t revisited in a while… It was a real pleasure to really think about them and the stories had a reason why they wanted to be written. Some of those reasons became apparent as I did the writing itself.”

Mitro said he would describe the book as if Author Jim Fixx and Broadcaster Stuart McLean met at a vinyl cafĂ© with “a bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

“There are stories about all different parts of life and they’re from the vantage of a runner because I ran for probably an average of three to four days a week for the last 35 to 40 years,” Mitro said. “A lot of life happens during that time and as a result, these stories have come to life. They [vary] from being attacked by a dog to meeting someone on a trail and doing a workout with them.”

A portion of book and audiobook sales will be donated to Athletics Ontario to support Canadian runners at all levels.

Mitro grew up in Sarnia but has spent the past 30 years living in Toronto. He said he’s excited to return to the area.

“I had my best running years in Sarnia and when I competed internationally for Canada, I competed with the Sarnia Track and Field Club under my brilliant coach Vito Delben,” he said. “This is my first reading for the book and it’s a real honour to be coming to Sarnia because my connections to that community, in terms of my running career, go so very deep.”

After Mitro’s reading there will be a book signing. Copies will be available at the door but can also be purchased at The Book Keeper. Audiobooks can be purchased online.