Meet Dr. Gilles LaMarche

A Fit Frenchman 

Home base:  Marietta, GA

Work life: Vice president of University Advancement at Life University

Personal life: Married to Dr. Melissa Briscoe LaMarche, a chiropractor; father and grandfather

Age: Young-hearted 64

Dr. Gilles LaMarche started running competitively in high school, and he’s never looked back. That was the start of a commitment to fitness and health he continues to embrace today as a busy executive at Life University in Marietta. Six years ago, he hosted the first Run Lights of Life 5K, a race that runs through the campus’s annual holiday light display that features more than 1.5 million LED lights. 

“It’s my favorite race,” says Dr. LaMarche. “Hosting it suits me because I’ve been running most of my life. Now I run for health reasons, and to stay fit. And, of course, being a Frenchman, I like good food. So running keeps me fit and allows me to enjoy the foods I appreciate.”

What’s your favorite spot to run?

“I run several times a week, and like to run the trails at Kennesaw Mountain. When I travel, though, I run more and use my runs to experience a city. I especially like to run in Europe — Copenhagen, Rome, Paris. I’m exploring before most people are awake, and watch people open up their shops, sweep the sidewalks, prepare for the day. There’s beauty in seeing the world wake up.”

How do you work steps into your day?

“I think it’s important to commit to yourself, and make your health a priority. Building exercise and activity into my day keeps me healthy in mind, body and spirit. I’m not going to break any records on my runs, but I’m out there. We can be better servant leaders when we have a routine that keeps us fit and sharp.”

Who do you run with?

“I run early in the morning, so that means I’m usually on my own for my regular runs. I’ve also met a lot of people through running 5K races — I do those races because I like to be surrounded by the energy of people who run.”

Top 3 ideas to get your steps in:

  1. Take advantage of the “urban gym” by doing things like taking the stairs and parking in the most remote spot of the parking lot.
  2. Walk between airport terminals instead of taking the train.
  3. Invest in a standing desk, and move around your office whenever you can.


Favorite running shoe: Asics

Favorite spot to walk/run: Trails at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Favorite workout song: No music for me. I’m the quiet runner who soaks up the spiritual nature of what’s around me.

Fitness tracker: Fitbit

This year’s Lights of Life 5K will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Register at www.life.edu/run2019  

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