Friday, May 9, 2014

Athlete's Corner: Interview w/ Joel and Shannon

Photo by Robert Shaer

Athlete profile and 5Peaks Golden Ears race preview

Chloe: you both just ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon in support of KidSafe - your first road marathons congrats! Shannon, I know that you and Joel do a lot of fundraising together, how did you first get involved in combining your running with these philanthropy projects?

Shannon: The spark to combining our running with philanthropy was just the simple desire to want to help people. I've always wanted to find different ways to help people and when we decided to run The Coastal Challenge it really hit me that this was a BIG thing we were doing and I began to wonder if we could use this for more. That's when we came up with the thought that we could use this race to not only raise awareness of issues, but help others. We chose to run in honour of Joel's mom and her fight with colon cancer as it was such a hard struggle and we knew this race would be a hard struggle for us too. It was an honour to be able to support the BC Cancer Foundation. We are very excited to have been able to support KidSafe during the BMO Vancouver Marathon and are now thrilled to announce that we are Ambassadors for Team Finn.

BMO Marathon, Team Finn! - Photo by Jay Klassen

"Our objective was to have fun, while supporting KidSafe" - Photo by Jay Klassen

Chloe: Joel, what was your mindset going into the BMO, knowing you have a trail race 6 days later?

Joel: My mindset going into the BMO marathon was to have fun first off!!!! Then to finish strong, but be conscious that I do have another race less than a week away, and that its very early in the season, so not to get injured. I didn't do any formal marathon training for this race, so I needed to listen to my body and not push through pains that could lead to injury. All we did differently was to switch from running trail to road in the 2 1/2 half weeks before the marathon.

Chloe:  You are a running couple and do the majority of your training together, how do you plan out your year, like, what is your criteria for race selection and do you ever do events separately?

Joel: Well last year was our first “season” together and also my first “season” doing trail races. So we didn't really have a plan, we just picked races that fit our schedules. I was in Whistler all summer so we were more concentrated on exploring up there. At the end of last summer is when we decided to up our distances in races, and to do The Coastal Challenge adventure stage race in Costa Rica in Feb of this year. I had heard about this race years ago through a friend and it was on my bucket list but needed the right person to do it with, and I definitely did find that person in Shannon. This year we just picked more races that had longer distances and that fit our schedules. We don't follow the crowds to specific races, we do our own thing. As far as racing separately, all of the shorter races (e.g.: 5peaks) we run as our own. We might finish together but thats just by chance. For the longer distances, we like to be together for encouragement but mostly for safety. We don't need to be heroes, over-pushing ourselves and gamble getting hurt. We wanna be running for a long time. We are just so lucky having found each other with the same passions for playing outside. There are no limitations to what we can do. Every day get up and go!!!!!!

Shannon: We love training together and basically research races and events together to find ones that we would want to do. We do run some races separately though. The races for the National team and Worlds have been something I have done alone.

Joel during The Coastal Challenge, Feb 2014 - Photo by Shannon
Chloe: Shannon, what is your objective for 5Peaks Golden Ears, and do you have a “plan B” if things go sideways during the race?

Shannon: My plan for 5Peaks Golden Ears is to run as fast as I can! Hahaha I'm sure I won't be at 100% strength coming off running the BMO Vancouver Marathon not even a week ago but I'm just out to have fun and run! (Which is secretly my race plan for every race! I just want to do my best and enjoy every bit of running I can!) I will be running the 14km Enduro Race and my plan b... Run slower? Haha maybe I'll ask Joel for a piggy back as my plan b.

Chloe: Joel, youve recently explored the terrain around the race course, what did you like best about it and what should we watch for, any tips for us?

Joel:  The start I think will be very fast, it’s flat and non-technical. I'm glad with the time I've just spent running on the road for the marathon will help me with the first half since its pretty much a dirt road until you reach the first and only big hill. I'm planning on taking easy until the hill since I'm not 100% recovered from the marathon. I'm gonna save my legs for the hill since that is a strong point for me. And I just saw that 500 people are registered for the race, so its gonna be a traffic jam that will add more difficulty for passing etc. After the climb, the downhill section is somewhat technical if you're fast, then to add a million people flying down at the same time final tip: have fun out there.
"We want to continue exploring our beautiful backyard"
Chloe: What are your shared key events this summer?

Joel: We have 3 ultras this summer that I can’t wait for. Those are the ones I’m mainly focusing on. The 5peaks series, for me, is strictly for fun. I do better in longer distances and I enjoy those way more. Mainly, my goal this summer is to continue exploring our beautiful backyard with no pressure from racing and to take amazing photos of course ;)

Shannon: Our shared key events are all the 5Peaks races, Trail Stoke, Squamish50 and whatever else tickles our fancy! We definitely want to run our ultras together for the support and strength we find in each other. Joel is my rock when I'm in a tough place and it's so nice to be able to share our passion of running together.

Chloe: Looking forward to seeing you at Golden Ears and best of luck with all your wonderful projects this summer!


For more on Shannon and Joel:

Twitter: @runshannyrun
Instagram: @runshannyrun (Shanny) @allarms (Joel) and @coupleofrunners (both)

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