Posted by & filed under 2018, Contender.

There are many runners and many races, but only a few contenders for the title of One Tough Runner.

This spring we are profiling the 2018 ENDURrun Ultimate Contenders with Q&As in this blog.

Related: Full blog series | Full list of Contenders

Today we catch up with Maria, who after a one-year hiatus is back for her second ENDURrun this August!

ENDURrun: Hi Maria!

Maria: Hello, Endurfamily! I’m Ashley, often referred to as Maria, and I look forward to being inspired by you (and swearing alongside you) for Endurrun 2018!


What is your runner profile? 
I’ve been running since I was forced to when I was 16 in rugby practice. I learned I loved it shortly after. I average 40-60km a week, depending on what’s going on and how tired my dogs are 🙂 I love trails and the treadmill, but I hate track workouts. This probably means I should do more of them.

You’ve trained for Ultimate before. What did you learn that you will build from (or avoid) this time around?
Don’t train too hard. But I never really train too hard. I like to have a few ultras in the months before, just so my body is used to time on its feet and running through discomfort (… and my brain saying “Hey idiot. Know what would be better than running? Anything.”)

Besides training, what will be the same and/or different about this Ultimate compared to your first completion?
The excitement. I had lost my mojo for running about two months out of my last Ultimate. After a week of running and hanging out with a bunch of other endorphin’d up whack-jobs, my love of running came back.

What is the one piece of advice that you’re glad you knew/you wish you knew before your first completion?
Get all the massages. Eat, even if you don’t feel like it. Make buddies – they will become your new confidantes and comrades.

How were you feeling in the days and weeks following your first Ultimate completion?
Serious post-endurrun syndrome. Thankfully, I ended up making about six solid buddies that I still train and run with to this day. Also, I felt super tanned, super jacked and weirdly confident. Weird, because usually I’m pretty insecure about myself as a human in general.

What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2018?
Seeing my peeps again! Creating inventive swear words. Bad running puns.

What are you nervous about, if anything?
Chafe. Always chafe.

Can you share any details of your training?
Back-to-back long run days, or hard speed work followed by a leg workout. I try to get up to 80-100km a few times during training, but my life is a sh*tshow at the best of times, so a lot of it is just consistent running. I run a few 50k’s before Endurrun, and this time I’ll also have a 50 miler, so that helps.

What is the most important part of the ENDURrun identity that appeals to you?
The family. It’s like Runner Camp.

Look for us to follow up with Maria in August on balancing training and single parenting and working a 9-5 while also doing distance learning, as well as how her 212km week goes…