The End of an Era | SOF

The End of an Era

I started Soldiers of Fitness (SOF) as an instructor. A month later I became a Chief Instructor and a couple of months after that I was asked to be a Manager. After a couple of years, I offered to purchase the franchise and become the owner of SOF Ottawa.

I have met some of the best people I have ever known in my 11 years in SOF. I’ve made people smile and cry, achieve goals and push themselves harder than they ever thought they could. Memories of Hog’s Back, Survivor and so many other action-packed moments will be with me forever.

But now I feel it’s time for me to move into a new chapter in my life – one that is built upon a better work and life balance but still with plenty of opportunity to influence people and make an impact. I’ll be closing SOF effective April 26th, 2019. The 5:30am – 7:00am class will be the final class in SOF history. I’ve accepted a position at Carleton University Athletics as a Fitness and Recreation Administrator and I’m looking forward to being part of their team, learning from them and offering my years of experience and creativity to their programs.

The decision to shut down SOF has been one of the hardest to face I’ve ever had. I’ve always believed in what I’ve taught and the people that have stuck around have always been the absolute best of character. It’s hard to believe I’ve known Jay and Anderson since the program first began and they are still with SOF kicking butt and working at their goals. I’m going to miss everyone.

People used to ask me when I slept, and I told them I didn’t; I spent all my time thinking about how to torture them. While I did get some sleep, the truth is that the last couple of years have been the most trying for me as I’ve spent so much time trying to build SOF. For all that I preach to people about being healthy and happy, I failed to hit the right balance for myself and my family.

I truly care about you all and while I know you will find great places to train in the future, I can’t help but feel like I’m letting you down. Of course, you are all welcome to come out to Carleton as they have an incredible facility and outstanding pricing for students and the community – but my role as a group fitness instructor will be quite diminished as my new role is far more administrative.

When SOF is closed and things settle down I plan to return to the Alive in Nature project and website so if you are following me there, you’ll hear more from me and I’ll post updates on my racing, training tips and more ( I hope you decide to check in occasionally. I’ll probably post some meet-ups for trail runs if anyone is interested in doing a loop or two of trail running on the weekend.

If you have a membership, the final renewals will be made on April 7th. MindBody will be shut down on April 11th so anyone not on the unlimited plan will be moved to a manual tracking system for the remainder of April. Schedules can be submitted by e-mail like they used to be. All prices will be modified as they come up, so you don’t pay beyond the end of April. Anyone who still has a package of sessions is asked to use them up by April 26th.

All the gym equipment is now for sale, as I will have little use for most of it since I’ll have access to all of Carleton’s equipment. You can purchase an SOF t-shirt for $5 each if you’d like to have a few to take with you. If you’re interested in any of my current equipment, send me an e-mail and we can make some arrangements. I have not decided yet at what point we will be full-time outdoors, but I suspect it will be in the range of early April depending on the weather and how much gear I have remaining indoors.

You will notice the schedule has changed slightly and many classes have been cut back during the day and the weekend. I begin at Carleton on March 4th so I have had to modify the schedule to make myself available at the University. The drop-in program will be shut down completely by March 3rd. Anyone on a drop-in plan has had their membership price already modified and set to end by that date so you will not be charged beyond that time.

I want to thank everyone for believing in me and SOF for so long. While this new adventure at Carleton will be exciting, I will deeply miss the outdoor creative missions and the many laughs that usually occur as a result.


Coach Mark