The incredible Alana Bonner has claimed more races on the Sportstats membership platform than any other runner in Canada. In fact, the next highest number of claimed races is 193. How does she do it? What makes her special? Bonner, who lives outside of Montreal and had her first race in August, 2009, sat down with Ben Kaplan to explain.
iRun: What do you think makes you such a great racer, what’s your secret?
Bonner: When I start liking something, there’s no stopping me.
iRun: Your track record is incredible.
Bonner: I just fell in love with it. I love the prospect of competing, of seeing different cities and meeting different people. I love the atmosphere and it’s a great community. The more people I got to know across the US and Canada, the more it got me wanting to do more and more races, that’s how I got to do essentially one every weekend.
iRun: Do you get nervous before a race?
Bonner: Every time.
Bonner: It’s always like my first time and I’ve never done this before. I want to do my best and I want it to go well, but you never know. I guess that’s why I get all worked up.
iRun: Did your motivation ever lag, for instance after race number 150?
Bonner: I don’t need motivation, it’s just part of me. I run and I compete and it’s part of me. It’s part of my everyday life and it’s become who I am. The local race announcers all know me because I see them every weekend.
iRun: How do you celebrate after a race?
Bonner: I don’t. My excitement is trying to find races in towns I haven’t been so I can knock them off my map.
iRun: Give us a few highlights from your racing career?
Bonner: For the past two years I’m the age group winner of the greater Montreal running circuit for 30 to 39 year olds, that feels nice.
iRun: You ever run in extreme weather?
Bonner: I run all year round, it doesn’t matter what the weather is. The worst I’ve ever done was the Hypothermic Half this year in Montreal. It was more than minus 30 and before the race started they said they’d give us a time at 10K, but I did the 21. I wore a face mask and looked like a criminal but I finished my run.
iRun: Do you have any favourite runners?
Bonner: Ed Whitlock. I have a picture with Ed from 2014 at a race in Williamstown, Ontario. And Mo Farrah. He’s an unbelievable Olympic champion; Meb Keflezighi, too.
iRun: Ever reach a moment when you thought you would quit?
Bonner: No. Never.
Bonner: Sometimes during a race if things aren’t going well, you say, ‘I’m not doing this ever again,’ but as soon as I cross the finish line, I’m looking for the very next race to sign up for. The harder the race is the more I want to sign up for the next one. That’s just the way I am.
iRun: What are your three best tips for running a great race?
Bonner: Let’s see:
Stick to your pacing plan
When it gets tough, trust that it’s going to get easier. There’s always a point, usually near the beginning, where it feels terrible, until you find your proper pace. Just know that when it’s at its hardest, it will get better.
Nothing beats hard work. You can’t cheat in running. If you don’t put in the effort, you’re not going to see the results.
iRun: We work for Sportstats so we have to ask, anything special about Sportstats-timed events?
Bonner: My favourite events are always those that are Sportstats-timed. When I’m looking for events I go to Sportstats website and look at upcoming races. It’s a great platform and I can save all my races at once now with the membership. Sportstats has a really good name in Montreal. I’ve been to events timed by other companies and they were disasters. Sportstats is dependable, and that’s what you need.
iRun: You have 227 events claimed on Sportstats. Think you’ll reach 500?
Bonner: Of course.
Bonner: I’m not going to stop. It’s just too much fun.
POST SCRIPT: Alana Bonner has become the newest member of the iRun team. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts for Ms. Bonner, email Ben Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get answers to your questions on Friday’s blog.