A group of smokers in Saskatoon are going ‘cold turkey’ and it’s all thanks to a running clinic.

The Run To Quit program put on by The Running Room and Canadian Cancer Society is a 10-week program that offers both classroom and running sessions across Canada for smokers. A new University of British Columbia study found that half the people who completed the program were able to successfully quit smoking.

The lead researcher for Run To Quit, Carly Priebe, is a post-doctorate fellow at the University of British Columbia. She said 72 people across Canada completed the program with 37 people verifying they were able to quit smoking through a carbon-monoxide test. “We found that not only did their physical health improve, but participants rated their mental health as better through the 10 weeks which is a pretty short time,” Priebe said.

Sandra Wiebe joined the clinic in Saskatoon this April. The 22-year smoker used to go through three packs of cigarettes per week, but she’s now successfully been smoke-free for four months. Wiebe said at first it wasn’t easy to quit. “You’re stressed, you smoke, you’re happy, you smoke, you’re out with friends, you smoke,” she said. “To give all of that up, it’s a huge control thing.”

Wiebe continued to power through the program despite the cravings for a cigarette. She’s now able to run up to 10 kilometres without stopping and says she’s in the best shape of her life. “I’m not as cold, I’m sleeping better, I’m not coughing, I’m more energetic, I can breathe, I’m happier.”

The Run To Quit program operated at 21 Running Room locations across Canada in 2016 and is up to 50 locations in 2017. Researchers say they hope to recruit even more people as the program will expand to 100 Running Room locations in 2018.

A new Run To Quit 10-week clinic in Saskatoon will begin Thursday.