Sheila Lee Poole was born May 15, 1962, the third daughter of Reigh and Ruth Poole. She grew up in Dayton, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, with her sisters, Joan (Brewer) Nancy (Bishara) and one brother, Gordon.
Sheila was an energetic, inventive and hard working girl. Her personality trademarks included an infectious laugh, a delightful sense of humour, and a steely determination. She attended Hebron Consolidated School and Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School, graduating in 1980. a secretarial course at the Yarmouth Vocational School and worked at the West Nova Veterinary Clinic and the Toronto Dominion Bank.
Years before taking up the sport of running Sheila competed in English horseback riding with her own beloved horse “Joe”. She admitted that she started running “because the dog (Jess) was fat!”. As soon as Sheila reached a base level of fitness in the sport, she was ready to spread her wings and challenge herself on a more competitive level. In 1985 she entered Dalhousie University and studied occupational therapy. She ran on the Dalhousie Tigers cross-country team winning the AUAA championships in 1986 and 1988.
Her best years in road racing were 1992 and 1993. During both of these years she won the Human Race in Yarmouth and, after accumulating enough points for her wins in the Timex Series races, she represented Nova Scotia on the Timex Team in Ottawa at the nationals in both 1992 and 1993. Among her wins were races in Yarmouth, Halifax, New Glasgow, Shelburne, Eastern Passage and Middleton.
She ran the Roy Oliver Memorial 10-miler in 1993 and set a record (1:01:23) that still stands to this day. She participated in Fun Runs on many occasions, some of which were the McDonalds Run for Opportunity- 10km in Lower Sackville, the Cabot Trail Relay (setting a record on the Cape Smokey leg that held for many years), and the Fall River Rum Runners Relay.
After moving to West Virginia, in October 1993, she participated in many races including the St. Mary’s Hospital Healthy Heart 5K, Cabell Huntington Distance Classic, Mountaineer Spirit Run and many others. In June 1994, when she was the top female runner in the state of West Virginia, she was diagnosed with adrenal cortical carcinoma.
Following her diagnosis, Sheila returned to Yarmouth and during her treatment and struggle with the disease, she supported and encouraged many individuals to take up the sport of running. In particular, Sheila instilled a love of running in many teenagers. She was coach of the Maple Grove Education Centre cross-country team at the time of her death on November 1, 1997.
To this day a number of runners continue to be inspired by Sheila’s spirit. Many athletes who have experienced a difficult time in their life, or who have suffered a personal tragedy, credit the example of selflessness that Sheila left behind.