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North Shore News

I covered the municipal council beat for the North Shore News from to October 2008 to February 2010. The following is a selection of some of the nearly 150 stories I wrote for the community newspaper.

West Vancouver enlarges waterfront park access
North Shore News

The District of West Vancouver’s Ambleside waterfront is slated for an overhaul that will see the removal of the floral clock and the decommissioning of the boat ramp. Read more.

Public comes out in support of Seylynn Village
North Shore News

A public hearing into the Seylynn Village development project drew strong support from the public on Tuesday, although many continued to voice their concerns about traffic delays along nearby roads. Read more.

‘Rental housing is disappearing. What’s next?’
North Shore News

It’s been 15 years since Ruth-Ann Meadows first moved into the apartment complex at 210 West 13th Street. Read more.

The Nelson Daily News

My summer of 2007 was spent working for The Nelson Daily News as a full-time staff reporter, covering everything from breaking news, to arts & culture, crime, environmental topics, forest fires, public interest stories and people profiles. Read some of my stories below.

City to control pesticide use
Nelson Daily News

Nelson could be the first community in the East and West Kootenay to pass a pesticide bylaw that limits pesticide use in the city to permit holders only… Read more.

Trailer explodes on ferry
Nelson Daily News

Four people were injured and several shaken up after a huge explosion on the MV Osprey ferry Sunday night. Read more.

Citizen group threatens legal action
Nelson Daily News

The NCES is threatening legal action against the City of Nelson saying council did not follow proper procedures before approving of the five-story Kutenai Landing Development project scheduled to be built on waterfront property in Nelson. Read more.

Youth ‘Keep the Beat’ for charity
Nelson Daily News

A group of young human rights activists from L.V. Rogers will be putting on a 10-hour-long, show-stopping concert in Nelson’s Lakeside Park to support humanitarian assistance in war torn countries… Read more.

Metro Vancouver

The following are examples of my work for the daily news publication Metro Vancouver.

Granville shops cope with Canada Line blasting
Metro Vancouver

The Granville Street shopping strip could have been mistaken for a battlefield yesterday as construction crews blasted through the bedrock in preparation for Canada Line construction. Read more.

Bike racks found to block trolley lights
Metro Vancouver

Cyclists can’t use bike racks at night on 151 new TransLink trolleys and buses for now, spokesperson Drew Snider said. Read more.

College adds flare to its curriculum
Metro Vancouver

A creative licence to thrill and a chance to add new flare to the catwalk attracted some aspiring fashion designers to a burgeoning field of study at the Vancouver Community College (VCC). Read more.


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See some examples of Sarah’s freelance writing by clicking on the links below.

iRun magazine

Is it time for a coach?
iRun magazine

Gen Handley started running six years ago to quit smoking. That decision soon began to pay dividends. Read more.

The 10 Best Bike Cities in North America
Outside Magazine
You don’t have to give up the amenities of a large urban environment just because you prefer traveling on two wheels over four. Read more.

Local Cops Join 900-km Ride to Fight Cancer
The North Shore News

Losing a loved one to cancer is difficult. For West Vancouver police Const. Glenn Marshall, losing a father and father-in-law to this disease has been both a source of pain and motivation. Read more.

Velo-city: Policymakers Talk ‘Must Haves’
Bicycle Retailer & Industry News

Around 650 BIXI bike share bikes lined the courtyard of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre for Velo-city Global, the premier cycling planning conference, happening this week. Read more.

‘Momentum’ Still Building as Bicycle Lifestyle Magazine Marks 50th Issue
BC Living

A look back on 10 years of publishing as Vancouver-based Momentum Magazine pops the champagne on its 50th issue. Read more.

‘Tsunami’ of City Dwellers a Global Threat: Harcourt
The Tyee

He was Vancouver’s mayor before becoming premier of British Columbia, so no one could mistake Mike Harcourt for a city-hating, back-to-the-land kind of guy. Read more.

Fighter for Addicts Ready to Quit
The Tyee

After spending the past 13 years trying to save Vancouver’s poor from the filthy alleys of the Downtown Eastside, Ann Livingston doesn’t have a pension plan or any significant savings, but she has decided to quit her job. Read more.


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Promise magazine

As an editor of Promise magazine from Spring 2013 to Spring 2015, I managed the following elements of the production process:

  • Developing a communications plan for each issue
  • Story concept development
  • Story assignment with publisher
  • Editing and reviewing all copy and visual elements
  • Writing features, front-of-the-book content, copy for photo captions & photo essays and copy for Q & As, contents pages and cover lines
  • Organizing and managing photo shoots; some photography and photo editing; sharing photos via social media networks (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Producing and filming short videos related to stories in issue; conducting interviews; writing interview questions (I initiated this process when I starting to work on the magazine in Jan. 2013)
  • Managing layout and graphic design elements
  • Fact checking
  • Updating all web content
  • Promoting the magazine via social media networks (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Expanded the content from a standard 16-page magazine to a 24-page magazine

Promise issues I managed:

Momentum magazine

I edited all sections of Momentum magazine as the Senior Editor from January 2010 to June 2012 and edited the BC Section of the magazine from April to December 2009. Below is a selection of stories that I wrote for Momentum.

Vancouver Visitors’ Guide
Momentum magazine

Your best bet for a great experience in Vancouver is to bike along the seawall and along the trails in Stanley Park and Pacific Spirit Park. Read more.

Velo-city Global in Vancouver 2012
Momentum magazine

Lots of white “I (bike) CPH” T-shirts worn by the 1,000+ conference delegates who attended Velo-City 2010 from more than 60 countries. Read more.

Four Bikes and One Big Adventure in Aspen
Momentum magazine

If you live in Aspen, CO, chances are you’re a cyclist. The number and variety of cycling activities in and around this city of about 6,000 people makes it easy. Read more.

Tour of Montreal 2011
Momentum magazine

During my trip to the Montreal Bike Fest this June, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many bicyclists there were on the streets. I had heard that Montreal’s cycling culture was alive and well, but what I witnessed was far beyond my expectations. Read more.

A Hands-on Experience at Brooks England
Momentum magazine

Colorful rows of bike seats line long racks. Bins filled to the top with all manner of shiny and polished flyers, side rods and seat noses checker the room. Read more.

Speak magazine

Read the full 2009 issue that I co-edited here.
(Note: the cover is missing from this PDF for reasons of copyright.)

Is it time for a coach?

Whether you want to kick your training up a notch, boost your confidence or simply mix it up a little, you may want to reach out to a professional.

By Sarah Ripplinger

Gen Handley started running six years ago to quit smoking. That decision soon began to pay dividends.

“Physically I felt better, and psychologically it was easier to deal with stress,” said the 33-year-old Vancouver resident. “I started to sleep better, too.”

Handley generally runs 10 to 12K three to five days per week along Vancouver’s picturesque seawall – a 22K recreational path that borders the coastline. He’s completed longer distances with friends and coworkers, as well as two Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon races. He’ll tackle a marathon in May.

To double his race distance, Handley decided last month to join a Running Room marathon clinic.

“I wanted to gain a more disciplined approach to my running,” he said. “I wanted somebody to get my butt into shape,” he said, pointing out the additional benefit of a running group was the opportunity to meet other runners who could hold him accountable.

Having a clear goal in mind – whether it’s working your way up to a marathon or finding a fun group of people to run with – is important when considering joining a running group or hiring a running coach.

And experts concur that, while coaching isn’t necessarily for everyone, almost anyone can benefit from a one-on-one or group coaching experience. Asked what he believed was the best time to reach out for a coach, Greg MacKinnon, of Oakville’s The Running Company, was blunt: “Anytime is the best time.” He explained that if you train solo, you’re likely to plateau at some point. That’s when it’s time to get a professional.

Take Christina Longo, of Vancouver, a personal trainer and founder of Premier Personal Training. She points out you’ll gain an understanding of proper training cycles and the importance of varying intensity and activity to produce the best results.

“Also, you’ll learn how to read your energy levels and when to have an extra rest day or switch a run for some flexibility work … You may also also gain direction and focus with a big boost of self-confidence.”

Longo’s service specializes in correcting the posture of athletes to help them reach their health, fitness and athletic goals. As such, she coaches clients on injury prevention and “corrective conditioning to rehabilitate runners after injury caused by poor form or over-training.”

Two years ago, Kelly Wharton, 50, decided she wanted to improve her race performance. After reaching a plateau while training on her own, she decided a coach was her best bet.

She found Lucy Anderson, a personal trainer and running coach who works out of a community centre near Wharton. Her running training program includes speed training at the local track, longer distance sprinting and hill training. Anderson also shared tips on racing tactics and running form.

Within three months of hiring Anderson, Wharton’s race time dropped and she started hitting personal bests in her 10K, half marathon and marathon races.

“A running trainer can check your running style and efficiency and gives you new ideas for training,” said Wharton. “It jumpstarts your motivation again for running if you feel you have reached a plateau.”

Vancouver resident Matilda Meyers, 32, initially considered joining a running group for safety reasons. She wanted to run safely outside during the dark winter months without fear of being in any danger. But she opted for her own self-motivation – an app – to train for the longest run she’s completed so far – a half marathon.

“I never ended up joining because I discovered that a main road was a good alternative and it allowed me the freedom to go at a time that suited me,” she said.

Larry Doan, 58, started running in January 1998 after “retiring” from competitive team sports. The born-and-raised-in-British Columbia runner who now lives in Vancouver decided to get a coach when it dawned on him that he was “running the same 10K seawall route three times a week and wasn’t improving much.”

“I needed someone to show me how to train properly so I could gain more distance, strength and speed. I didn’t hire a coach for one-on-one, I joined the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC), which is coached by John Hill, in early 2005.”

Hill taught Doan “about pacing, attacking hills, recovery, varying intensity, varying distance and varying course elevation,” over the course of several training sessions.

“Unfortunately he also introduced me to Hill Repeats,” Doan exclaimed. “They are painful! But really help with strength and endurance, and get you ready for any race.”

As a result, Doan said he “ran a personal best 10K within three months of joining VFAC.”

The only downside, Doan said was “getting up for those 9 a.m. speed workouts on Saturday mornings, especially after a little too much red wine the previous night.”

Splurge or save?
The costs of a coach can vary dramatically, depending on whether you want one-on-one coaching or group instruction. “Runners being notoriously cheap, they tend to look for group coaching because it tends to be less expensive and offers the social aspect,” says Greg MacKinnon of Oakville’s The Running Company.

For instance, he says you can pay anywhere from $80 an hour for a personal trainer to $225 for a six month group coaching program.

What you get
According to Vancouver-based running coach Angela James, you’ll gain at least six benefits from a good coach.

1. Motivation. Having a trainer’s support and encouragement can prove inspiring.
2. Accountability. Keeps you on track by making you adhere to your goals.
3. Regular assessment. Constant monitoring of your progress.
4. Expert advice. Proven, effective methods that help you reach your goals.
5. Constructive feedback. Identification of your strengths, weaknesses and where you need to improve.
6. A roadmap. A detailed strategy to get you where you want to go.

Angela James has been coaching runners and walkers in Vancouver since becoming a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor in 2009. She ran her first marathon at age 40 and now teaches ChiRunning and ChiWalking – which applies the principles of alignment and relaxation from Tai Chi to running – and hosts running and walking retreats.

James has seen first-hand how runners can improve their skills and enjoyment of the sport – she has a personalized exercise routine that includes feedback on how to run using sound body mechanics.

She videotapes her clients; then they watch the tape together to identify bad habits and work on methods to change them.

“Some people come to me to lose weight and get in shape,” James said. “My main hope is that people who come to me will learn to enjoy running – injury-free joyful running.”

What to look for: Yay or Nay?

YAY: Experience, expertise and accreditations are key. Credentials vary; however, standard running coach certifications from the Coaching Association of Canada and personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine are two examples of recognized designations. First Aid and CPR certification and liability insurance are also important distinctions to look for in a personal trainer and running coach.

NAY: Attitude and work ethic are also key. If your coach/trainer spends more time texting or talking to others during your time, ditch him. Ditto eating while training or looking around distractedly instead of focusing on the main priority: you.

Do your homework
Lance Watson, co-founder of LifeSport Coaching and a former national head coach for Triathlon Canada who led the Canadian Triathlon team to the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, has been coaching triathletes and runners since 1989.

He started working with Canadian champion runner Lucy Smith in 1993, helping her set long-term goals, establish training progressions and maximize her physiological talent. After that, Smith won 15 more National Championships, won two silver medals in duathlon and ran lifetime bests of 32:40 in 10K and 15:42 in 5000m, according to Watson. She is also now a successful running and triathlon LifeSport coach.

He knows finding a running coach takes a bit of work, but the research pays off.

Watson shared warning signs that could indicate your coaching or personal training experience isn’t panning out.

“The number one red flag is lack of communication,” he said. “A coach who isn’t communicating or answering your emails and calls is not on top of your program and how you are doing. Each athlete is unique and responds to training in his or her own unique way, so communication and regular two-way feedback is crucial.”

Sarah Ripplinger is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Vancouver. She runs for fun, plays sports, bikes for transportation and/ or goes to the gym pretty much every day. Check out more of her work at and follow her on Twitter: @sarahripplinger.

Originally published in iRun magazine.

‘Momentum’ Still Building as Bicycle Lifestyle Magazine Marks 50th Issue

A look back on 10 years of publishing as Vancouver-based Momentum Magazine pops the champagne on its 50th issue.

This spring, with its March/April 2011 issue, Vancouver-based Momentum Magazine marks a major milestone: The first magazine to focus on urban transportation cycling in North America is celebrating its 50th issue.

Momentum 50th Issue Launch Party

Monday, March 14, 2011

5–7 p.m.

Revel Room

238 Abbott St, Vancouver

Info | Facebook

The North America-wide magazine has come a long way since its launch in 2001 by a team of dedicated ladies with a few thousand dollars and a desire to see bike culture grow in Vancouver and other parts of BC.

The 50th issue also unveils Momentum’s new look, logo and tagline: “smart living by bike.”

Multi-national magazine remains rooted in Vancouver

Momentum, a bimonthly lifestyle cycling magazine, speaks to a North American audience today, but its Vancouver roots remain strong. No wonder, considering the magazine’s headquarters are still in the Old Electric Building on Pender Street, where it was first launched as a non-profit organization by co-publishers Carmen Mills, Amy Walker and Joelle Paton. Today, the outfit is skillfully managed by publishers Mia Kohout and Tania Lo; same building, different office.

I started my journey with Momentum as the BC editor back in February 2009 and, let me tell you, I was on cloud nine when I accepted the position of editor, starting in January 2010.

Momentum a labour of love, through the years

Momentum is a labour of love run by a small core group, several part-time contributors and many wonderfully generous volunteers. And it owes a lot of its success to the supportive Vancouver cycling community, as you will see…

Click through the slideshow for a selection of pivotal magazine covers and historical snap-shots as we take you on a ride through Momentum’s journey—from small local-interest newsprint magazine to growing North American print and online publication with readers around the globe.

Launch party for 50th issue

And don’t forget to attend the Momentum 50th Issue launch party, co-sponsored by our friends Granville Online, on Monday, March 14, 2011, 5–7 p.m. at the Revel Room (238 Abbott St) in Gastown. Expect beer and wine specials and prizes!

View the complete slideshow originally published in BC Living here.