In July, Natalie Wright joined seventeen other women and set out to run more than 800 kilometers of Ontario’s Bruce Trail. Here’s how a group of women, came together and not only conquered the trail, they set the Fastest Known Time for an all-female crew.
iRun: What surprised you the most about your fellow runners?
Natalie Wright: I didn’t anticipate the camaraderie that would come from running with strangers. We kind of grew into knowing each other for 6 to 8 hours at a time. In the middle of the night stories would come out, life stories that you might not otherwise share but based on lack of sleep and the experience of eating and changing in a van you become fast friends.
iRun: Why do you think that such a close sense of friendship was struck?
Natalie Wright: Many of us came from very different ways of life, moms, single women, road runners or trail runners, some are fast and all of us are at varied stages of our running careers yet all 18 of us have this love of trail running. Finding a balance between competition and camaraderie, we had this mutual goal that connected us. There is a way that women can compete with each other but still be strategic, have goals and for us here the competition was external, and we all had the same goal in mind.
iRun: What was the best part of the whole experience?
Natalie Wright: Finishing together, 13 of the 18 were there and we rant hte final 7kms together and that was probably the best moment of it. That feeling of running in and hearing people cheer us on.
iRun: How did the group deal with challenges that couldn’t be plan for?
Natalie Wright: We had a rain delay and we were down about 1.5 to 2 hours on the first day. We were trying to make up the time on each leg so it was the race against the clock. And then the terrain was slippery and cold and treacherous.
iRun: How did the experience change you as a runner?
Natalie Wright: You never know what you can do until you try it. You have to believe in yourself and in each other. It was real easy at 3am to give up and there’s the energy and the camaraderie of others to get it done. There was something about the weekend, there wasn’t that question and we knew it was going to be tough, but you just do it, it’s a different perspective and an understanding of what you are able to do.
iRun: Why is night trail running so appealing?
Natalie Wright: I like it because you just focus on the trail and the stars are really beautiful. It’s almost easier because you are less distracted. And then seeing the sunrise was also spectacular. It had rained the night before, so the dew and grass in the meadow and the light as the sun rose was visually, was probably my all time favourite run.