ENDURrunners are a diverse community with some amazing and inspiring stories. While we’re getting ready for Stage 6, we caught up with a random selection of a few ENDURrunners. Here’s what we asked them:
Una Beaudry and Steve Mahood
[Er] You both fell in love with the ENDURrun community in your rookie year in 2014. How is your second time at the event?
[SM] It is fantastic. The combination of the family atmosphere, starting from the RD down to the competitors and volunteers, as well as the originality of the event make it so enjoyable.
[UB] Coming in as a non-starter was tough, but the ENDURrun community greeted me with so much support (and massive amounts of hugs) which made it so much easier. We were really excited to be coming back to the event, but moreso to meet up with the friends made last year, and the new ones from this year. It really is an 8 day party with some running on the side.
[Er] You are an ultramarathoner with plans to run varsity cross-country in the fall. How do you balance those goals?
[LH] It’s a lot of balance between speed training and getting distance in. I have to focus on my speed work because I am slower, so many times I balance the quick, short workouts with slower easy runs in the same day to get distance in. I also have to focus a lot of my health and how my body feels because the faster I heal the quicker I get back to training.
[Er] You started running 10 years ago this month. What does it mean to you to undertake this challenge at this point in your running career?
[DH] Ten years ago, gasping for air trying to run 3k, I could not fathom running a 1/2 marathon. Ten years later and I’m doing the ENDURrun! It’s a week long race of digging deep and perseverance. I feel physically and mentally it’s challenging, but at the same time..it’s a PARTY! (We all know one another and the camaraderie). I’ll be back in 2016 to get revenge on my injury, and this will set the trails for a 100mi race within the next 10 years. I’m thrilled that I never looked back 10 years ago.
[Er] You are a many-time Ultimate finisher and former champion. What does it mean to you to have your family out on the courses volunteering?
[SG] It means everything to me to be able to share the ENDURrun experience with my family. Their support throughout the week out on the courses is a huge part of my success. They make the event a team effort. Not only are they helping me reach goals I have set for myself, but they are helping others reach goals they once thought were impossible.
Sue Pelger and Deirdre Large
[Er] Sue, you were a huge part of the support team for Deirdre’s first Ultimate in 2014. How hard or easy was it to commit to the event this year? Deirdre, how has your and Sue’s training changed from what you did last year?
[SP] As for committing to the event, I was intrigued with ENDURrun once we started talking about it when a group of us ran the Ottawa Marathon in May of 2014. Dee needed to keep up her long runs/training for her 2014 ENDURrun, and I wasn’t ready to ramp down distances on long runs…I was loving it way too much. So throughout the late spring and summer of 2014, we followed Dee’s training plan and did long runs together. The more we ran, the more we talked about the event, the support, the people, the volunteers, the camaraderie and how unique it is. I knew I was hooked and had to do it!!
[DL] I think our mileage in general has been higher this year since we both started training for the Waterloo Marathon in January. As soon as that was done, we got right back at it for ENDURrun. I know I did a lot more cross training at the gym, spinclass, yoga and weight and circuit training. Sue also goes to the gym regularly for yoga. Not as much speed work for me but we both put in more hill (Wilmot) and trails (Hydrocut and Bechtel) training, I didn’t do a lot of that last year and I definitely felt better at Bechtel this year. We’ve also worked on our hydrating and fueling plans much better this year and have almost figured it out. Almost 😉
[SP] Dee got the training part right on!
Harold O’Krafka and Manny Jones
[Er] A husband & wife team that trains and races together under a playful-yet-competitive Tortoise vs Hare rivalry. How has ENDURrun contributed to this dynamic?
[HO&MJ] We were a little apprehensive about signing up for the whole week as we were unsure if we would be able to commit enough training time to be able complete the week without it becoming a burden. As we typically would consider ourselves recreational asphalt marathoners, the variety of race terrains, distances and formats seemed daunting at first but we have come to appreciate the joys and pains of each race.
Traditionally Manny #tortoise won the short races and Howie #hare prevailed in long distances but the addition of hills and trails and timetrials has caught the Vegas bookies off guard as the #hare has done better in the shorter races and the #tortoise dominated the long runs so far.
Friendly competition aside we were surprised at the incredible intergenerational supportive atmosphere not only from our H+P running group but also from the other participants, volunteers and organizers. It may be cliche to say but it almost feels like an Endurrun family where we collectively celebrate success, hard work and determination while at the same time vying for ENDURmom and ENDURdad’s (Lloyd + Julies) approval.
[Er] You ran Stage 3 as a Guest in 2014. Why did you decide to commit to the Ultimate this year, and what makes ENDURrun worth the drive from Val-d’Or?
[LL] I spotted ENDURrun on the internet shortly after starting running in 2011. I was building up to a 5km stroller race so I was no where near being ready for ENDURrun. I visit family in SWOntario for 1-3 weeks every August and I was in much better speed and marathoning shape last year but had already committed to The Highland Games 10 k in Fergus and Rock The Road in London which were the same time as ENDURrun so when registration for 2015 opened I signed up right away. I did Bechtel in 2014 to help prep me for my first 50 mile Ultra. I had wanted to do Chicopee in 2014 as well but my mom had to work so I had no childcare. This year I was 100% committed and reserved a trailer at a campground in Waterloo which is 11 kms from Conestogo. So 4 years of dreaming and training got me here to participate in 2015. My other dream is an Ironman so I had to make a choice. Given that ENDURrun is decided on a yearly basis whether it will be held, I made that my first choice and did a half Ironman instead this year. I am very happy to be here. I broke my toe 2.5 weeks before ENDURrun started making me fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it but I made it and am overwhelmed at times with how fast my body has adapted to this crazy race!
[Er] You’re an ENDURrun rookie that has already set an all-time Stage record. What were your goals coming into ENDURrun, and how do you feel after Stage 5?
[VS] My goal was to take it stage by stage and start out harder on the first stage because I knew I could recover for the 15k time trial in order to achieve my goal of coming in the top 3. I feel relieved after stage 5, there was a lot of anticipation in lead up to that stage. That was definitely the most challenging course I have ever raced, both physically and mentally.
[Er] You’re new to the ENDURrun family, welcome! What were you most looking forward to coming into the week, and has it been what you expected after 5 Stages?
[AW] For me this was really a personal challenge. I have been thinking about doing this race for the past five years and this year my family was able to support me as I trained. I would say I was most looking forward to being able to finish strong – to be able to walk or run or ride come Monday. It’s been an amazing experience so far. It’s been a bit like a chess game. I’m enjoying that part of the challenge. I didn’t intend to race, rather just run and enjoy, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed the friendly rivalries that are ongoing.
[ENDURrun] As a past champion running this year with very different expectations, how do you feel?
[JB] Running the ENDURrun ‘for fun’ has allowed me to relax from the sense of competition and pressures inherent in that. Part of me wishes I could still complete the races to my previous calibre, but I also recognize the amount of training and all-consuming focus that required. I have a new balance in my life now, which gives me more leeway with my time and energy, and allows me to pursue other interests with my free time. Experiencing this event from a pure ‘love of running’ perspective is profoundly enjoyable on a different level.
[Er] You’ve run the ENDURrun Ultimate three consecutive years. Withdrawn due to injury, what is it like on the other side of the yellow t-shirt?
[SM] I have to admit it is harder than I thought it would be…watching the race happen and not participating. However, it gives me the greatest appreciation of just what is involved in making this race happen. I think I am more tired on this side of the Yellow t-shirt!
[Er] After several years out, you’re back in the Ultimate competition in 2015. How is this different than years previous?
[DR] The race definitely feels a bit bigger, as I’d expect with a dozen more runners. But it’s more than that. There’s the operations that have become more efficient to serve all those runners but not lose the super family feel. Example, not doing roll call before or reading through all the names with results after but still having Lloyd more briefly address the group and do Q&A is awesome. Chip timing and quick posting of results is fantastic, and helps with the reposting and social buzz of the race. The extra people and H+P team has brought more spectators. The cheering all along Stage 4 Wednesday night was a big help.
If you haven’t yet got a chance to meet these runners, get out to Conestogo today or tomorrow!