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Living Well – Setting goals and accepting challenges

Wayne Little's monthly column on motivation, fitness and what it takes.

I’m always looking for ways to motivate people, so I created a challenge within the Desert Hills Tri Club in February. The challenge was to walk or run as many kilometres as you can in the month of February. All outside, and all accountable using a website called Strava. Strava hosts the run challenge and the people who would enter would have their daily runs/walks for all to see in the Club on a day to day basis so we could follow along to see who had the most mileage. The winner of the challenge would receive a $100 gift card to Runners Sole in Kamloops.

Two weeks into the challenge, it was clear that one of two people was going to win: either Donna Close, or Tami Jones. In the end, the winner was Donna.

Donna ended up putting in 478kms. That’s 17km/day. Tami came in second in the club’s challenge with an equally impressive 300kms.

The February run challenge is on Strava every month of the year. For February there were 66,000 people from around the world signed up. Donna came in 8th overall in Canada, and first female in Canada. She was 198th overall in the world, and 17th female in the world. This is amazing!! Kudos to her.

Donna starting running in high school doing cross country running mostly for general fitness. She has raced some local 10k’s including Boogie The Bridge, but her biggest was “The Great Walk”.  The Great Walk is a 63km run from Gold River to Tahsis with 1,200 participants.

Once Donna starting putting in the long days running for February’s challenge, her body and feet were taking its toll. With band aids covering the blisters and sore spots, her husband Brent would come home early from work to watch the kids so she could get a few more miles than Tami that day. Sometimes her son Talon would push her out the door, as he would want to go for a hike or run with mom.

I had a chance to talk to Donna and here’s what she had to say…

She explained that there were external and internal factors that motivated her to put so many kms in. The external factors are others in the challenge from around Ashcroft as well as the world to compete against; internal factors are what motivates you to lace up your shoes the morning after the day you just completed a 40km run. Running self-generates her motivation – the more she runs, the easier it was to get out the door.

Donna loves using her runs to explore new trails and areas she’s never been to. Running at night was very special, sometimes she would turn off her headlamp and she finds her senses get heightened in order to navigate where the trail is, and you get more in tune with your body with less visual distractions.

Donna finds inspiration from other local runners like Tracy Kubik with her enthusiasm, Tom Moe with his quiet, gentle support, and Joe Berry from Run Club.

Now that the challenge is over though, she plans on spending more time with her family, yard work, and maybe running the Boogie the Bridge in April.

I threw in a side challenge to last month as well, if anyone could beat my mileage for February, I would buy them a case of beer. See in the picture of me handing out two gift cards to the liquor store.

Wayne Little

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