Some are ultra marathoners, some are 10K road racers, and all 18 are women who together will take on the challenging 800 kilometre distance along Ontario’s Bruce Trail. With less than a week to go we connected with one of the 18 members of Wild Bruce Chase, Natalie Wright for more on this epic all-female pursuit of the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Ontario’s longest and oldest trail.
iRun: Tell us about Wild Bruce Chase.
Natalie Wright: We’re beginning Friday morning, on Canada Day starting at 5am in Tobermory with the 18 of us. It’s a trail relay, so the distances we’re all running vary from 7 kilometres to 25 kilometres and we’ll run continuously for 24-hours with the goal of ending in Niagara Falls in four days. The Fastest Known Time (FTK) for a group of women was set earlier this year at five days, 17 hours and 56 minutes and we’re aiming to beat it.
iRun: Tell mehow did this group come together?
NW: Erin Dasher, the race director for 5 Peaks Trail Running Series contacted me, and the other women who may be interested in doing this. We’re a group of strong, competitive women who compete in races so this is a challenge that would really appeal to all of us.
iRun: Tell me about your running.
NW: In high school, I was a 100- and 200-metre sprinter and I liked that burst of energy. I live in Muskoka, so when I got a dog it was fun to run with her here on the trails. Then I ended up getting injured and the ground on the trials was softer for running, and so my focus really became on the trails.
iRun: How is the trail running experience different, in particular when it’s a relay?
NW: There’s something about being on the trails that makes me wonder why everyone wouldn’t want to do this. There’s so much great scenery, plus the fresh air and on days when it’s hot, and your sweaty, you fin a lake and jump in. A number of these women all live in the city, so with trail running, you don’t have to deal with people on the sidewalks, the noise and traffic on the roads. This is also a group of women getting together, having a challenge in front of them and succeeding at 894 kilometres!
iRun: What are you looking forward to with this experience?
NW: For me, I’ve done short night runs on the trails and it’s a really different sensations. You hear things you normally wouldn’t hear. Really we’re just a group of women with this one goal in mind, and I think there’s often a lot of misconceptions among when when it comes to fitness and leading an active lifestyle. Sometimes simply talking about your goals can send a message to other women, especially when it’s something of this magnitude.
iRun: Why would you suggest that other women challenge themselves more when it comes to fitness?
NW: Whatever goal you set, there is a great sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be a huge goal to have an impact on your life and there’s no greater feeling. With running it really, you just have to want to do it, all you need are some shoes. Often I think women feel like they have to be fit, or look a certain way before they start running but it doesn’t matter your ability. I think we really need to support women overall, more in this way.