Four years ago Gemma, five other friends, and myself came together to run the Coastal Challenge – a 235km race in the Costa Rican jungle and along the coast line. If you’re thinking that sounds crazy, you’re 100% right.
You don’t convince someone to take on that sort of challenge. There has to be a deep curiosity of what lays beyond the next horizon and who you might become as a result. Most importantly, the commitment to one another, supporting, encouraging and celebrating each person’s reason for taking on their challenge.
Christopher MacDougall explains it best. “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other, but to be with each other.” Running is often viewed as a single athlete sport. That reality isn’t true. From beginners to elites we all have running buddies or groups we rely on for accountability, encouragement and rainy days.
When I asked a variety of friends to come join on me on this adventure I was the only one who had ever run this type of a distance. I was the experienced one. Gemma leaned on me for advice, running routes, and encouragement to add distance to her “long runs”.
Dedicated to her training, Gemma won the Coastal Challenge. Fast forward four years and the master has become the student. While we both worked for different companies at the time of the race, we remained great friends and are now both proud to work for Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club.
With fitness goals focused on outdoor adventures (everything from split-boarding to triathlons, running and just about every activity we love in the Pacific Northwest) I now train with Gemma twice a week. Every session she teaches me something new. She is now the one expanding my comfort zone. Teaching me new limits. Elevating my ability and keeping me accountable to my aspirations. Reminding me the reasons why.
From four years ago to today that same spirit that we and our teammates ran with in Costa Rica is constant. We support, encourage and celebrate each other’s achievements.
Training sessions are purposeful, challenging and most of all fun. If you’re ever looking for us in the gym, we’re the ones laughing hysterically. I promise we’re working out.