Each leg of the race has a “personality” profile; the first is the “Downtown Jaunt.” Heather, who hails from Calgary and moved to the Foothills only recently, will run this portion for the team. The race adopts the dark Greek myth of Charon, hence the name Canadian Death Race. Accordingly, relay racers must pass a coin from person to person and summit to summit. Only by presenting the coin to the ferryman will you be provided safe passage across the river Styx into Hades (Hell’s gate and River Crossing, Smoky River).
Heather’s leg is mostly rolling hills with flat sections and a creek crossing (it was very muddy last year). There is an elevation loss of over 500ft. The first-aid station and relay (coin) exchange is at 19 km. The scenery is glorious she will run beside Grande Cache Lake which is the deepest of blue.
Following are Heather’s insights and personal journey that began with her decision to be a part of the race. She is a very special individual and extremely resilient, and it is an honour to have been able to come to know her, and become hopefully her friend. Your turn, Heather:
November 2005 I began my journey, simply walking a couple of kilometers a week, which I found to be very tough as I had done no type of physical activity for about 2 years. Slowly moving forward I began a steady increase in distance and by February I was walking 16 km day, 5 days a week, battling colds, flues, blisters and calluses. I have slowly increased my training to 3 to 4 hours per day, 6 days a week. I am now running approximately 10 km and walk another 10. My goal for May is to increase my running distance to 13 or 14 km and 16 to 18 by the end of June. My biggest challenge so far is trying to balance my business, children, coaching, volunteer work and training. Sometimes my training seems to get the short end of the stick but generally I force myself, even if it’s 10:30 at night, to get it in. My motivation is simple; I live in a small community that requires a shelter that can stand alone. If I even raise enough money to help one individual or family get out of a dangerous situation then my journey will be worth every ache, pain or juggling act that I have had to do.
We are five normal, everyday ladies, all mums and two grandmothers, in training for this year’s Canadian Death Race, a gruelling endurance race of 125km spanning over 24 hours and covering three mountains in Grande Cache, Alberta.
Why would we put ourselves through this? To raise money for Eagle Women’s Emergency Shelter in the Foothills of Alberta, raise awareness, and help stamp out domestic violence. We have never tried anything like this but feel very strongly that domestic violence is out of control and needs to be addressed. Now.
It’s a frightening fact that almost everyone knows someone who has been a victim of either physical or mental domestic abuse. We believe that increased exposure can help make victims aware that there are numbers they can call for help, and there is no need to suffer any longer. We also feel that domestic abuse and violence is a taboo subject that no one likes to acknowledge and this needs to change. Victims feel humiliated and ashamed and we need to let them know it is ok to talk to someone and to get help.
We are now in full training for the race, and although before this all any of us had ever run was a bath and a temperature, we are determined to do as much as we can to help stop domestic violence. This is a very hard and gruelling race, but with the help and support from each other we hope to complete it and to raise as much money as possible for the shelter. If our hard work only helps one person get out of a frightening situation and gives them the strength to rebuild their life, then it will all have been worth it. Our team name is SLAP – Stop Letting Abuse Prevail. We have a team website with photos and information on each runner and about the shelter: http://www.runforsafety.bravehost.com
We hope you will support us in our quest to stop domestic violence. The race takes place on the August long weekend, beginning Saturday the 5th at 8am and ending Sunday the 6th at 8am. Only 19 weeks to go!!! AU student, mother and death-racer, Kim Anderson.