The short version: I’m a 29 year old – ACK, no wait, I’m 30 now!! (denial) – Canadian ultra runner whose love for running often outshines her ability! At the moment, I’m living inside an armed compound in Afghanistan, working as a legal officer for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). I’ve competed in a number of RacingThePlanet’s 250 km self-supported footraces (1st in Vietnam, 1st in Nepal, 2nd in Australia, 2nd in the Gobi, China) and been lucky enough to win Vermont’s 100 mile endurance race in 2009. I’ve been training under ultrarunner and world record holder Ray Zahab since 2008 and can’t wait for my next ultramarathon race…
The not-so-short version: I never used to love running. In fact, I downright dreaded it. I mean, I had done one marathon before for charity, but I used to count down the minutes of every single one of my training runs, ignoring my inner voice every step of the way. (Y’know, that voice that tells you to stop the crazy burning in your legs and get a gargantuan whipped-cream-a-chino at a starbucks instead?).
But then in 2007, instead of studying for finals during my last year of law school, I decided to go climb Kilimanjaro (as any sensible person would). It was literally a life-changing experience. I loved every minute of being out on that mountain for a week, bonding with the other climbers in my group (pretty close to Kumbaya styles), and having nothing to think about other than eating, sleeping, and making it to the top. Needless to say, I was hooked. I immediately wanted to sign up for another adventure, but this time I wanted something that was a bit more challenging.
And in the same way that all great adventures start, I went out one night with friends in the fall of 2007 and had, er, a substantial amount of wine. I told them about this race series I found called “RacingThePlanet”. It consisted of 250 km races over 6 stages (7 days) in which competitors carry all of their own food and gear on their backs. Whoa. I thought it was out of my league, but I couldn’t help but notice my pulse quicken every time I talked about it to someone else…
Guess what happened. Yes, wine + mastercard + late night internet browsing = one impetuous decision. I woke up the next morning and realized that I had paid my deposit for RacingThePlanet’s 250 km race in Northern Vietnam. What had I done??
To make a not-so-short story, er, pretty long, I ended up winning that first ultra race in Vietnam (3rd overall) and that was the beginning of what I hope to be a very long career in ultras! After Vietnam, I got taken on by fellow Canadian ultrarunner and world record holder Ray Zahab, who has been coaching me ever since. We ran in a charity run across Canada (I completed 640 km in 8 days) and he helped coach me to win the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race. I have gone on to compete in four more RacingThePlanet races and other international competitions and can’t wait for my next one.
My non-running life? Human rights work. I’m equally as passionate about my work as I am about running. I’ve worked on projects all over the world, from the Amazon jungle in Ecuador to Buddhist monasteries in Thailand. I’ve worked with refugees in Malaysia, observed trials in Ethiopia and negotiated my way through the west bank. Wherever I go, I make sure to bring my running shoes in my carry on bags.
Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you’ll stick with me on my next adventure!