A moment with Hilary Matheson…

Hilary Matheson is a keen trail runner based in Vancouver. She loves an outdoor adventure and her Instagram is loaded with amazing shots to inspire us all! If you would like to see more of what Hilary gets up to check out her Instagram:@thehilaryann

We won’t keep you waiting here is our moment with Hilary Matheson…

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First 50km

1.How long have you been trail running for and what keeps you coming back for more?

I started trail running in 2013, mostly as a way to cover more ground than I could hiking. I very quickly fell in love with the sport and with the tight-knit trail running community in general, and I ran my first 50km ultra race in August that year. Nothing like jumping in over my head! After that I was hooked, and I ran ten 50km races over the next year and a half before moving into longer distances. The biggest thing that I love about trail running is definitely the people. There is a real sense of camaraderie among runners that I haven’t seen in other sports. It doesn’t really matter how far you can run or how fast you go, as long as you are having fun and challenging yourself. I’m always surprised at how social trail and ultra-running is, for a solo sport that can appear to be isolating by its very nature. I’ve made so many wonderful friends through trail running, and it’s almost become more like therapy than exercise.

2. Where is your favourite location to run and why?    

Living close to the rugged mountains of North Vancouver, I feel spoiled to have such a vast network of trails available at my doorstep. I started out by hiking these trails, and then that transitioned into running them, and I come back to them as my home base for training. I always tell new trail runners that if you can learn to run on the technical, gnarly roots and rocks that make up our north shore trails, you can run anywhere.

3. What is your most important piece of trail gear you can’t adventure without?

My favourite piece of trail gear is probably my headlamp. Because I work during the day Mon-Fri, most of my week day training takes place in the dark, and a good headlamp is crucial if you want to avoid running headfirst into a tree or a bear (eeks!). I use the Petzl Nao headlamp and it’s like having a strobe light in the dark – I love it. I definitely recommend investing in a good headlamp with a decent battery life. Even if you don’t run much at night, you never know when you could end up lost or out for longer than you planned, and it’s a good idea to carry one just in case.

4. What race is next on your trail running schedule?

I’ve been enjoying a little off season for a few months now, and I’m getting excited to ramp the training up again for 2016. First up, I’ll be heading to Orcas Island in February for one of Rainshadow Running’s classic 50km routes. This will be a fun tune-up for my first big race of the year, the Gorge 100km in April. I’ve done both of these races in previous years, so I’m looking forward to going back and stepping up my game a bit. My number one goal race for the year will be the Fat Dog 120miler (193km), and all of my other races will be working towards this daunting race.

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Broken Goat 50km race

5. What would be your one bit of advice to a new Trail Chix?

If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone new to trail running, I’d say that building a strong group of running friends makes the hugest difference. Those friends will motivate you, encourage you, and enthusiastically join you in eating copious amounts of food post long run. If you don’t already have friends that run, try joining a running clinic or find local running groups near you, and try to connect with people that have similar paces and goals to yours. Above all, have fun!!!

6. What is your post trail run go to meal?

The beauty about long trail races is you have lots of time to decide what your first meal is going to be post-race. My go-to immediately after a race is usually a massive bag of chips or cheesies, because all I seem to crave after sweating so much is salt and more salt. After I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll typically beeline to a local greasy spoon and go for a massive plate of something that involves cheese and potatoes and bacon. So.good.

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Training for Fat Dog 70miler – photo credit: Brice Ferrè

7. What is your greatest personal achievement in running (doesn’t have to be a race/event)

For me, my greatest achievement during my (admittedly short-lived) running “career” is also my biggest race to date, the 2015 Fat Dog 70miler. Everything about this course scared me going into it – it is notoriously hard, with unpredictable alpine weather and enormous climbs sandwiched between crazy technical trails. I have been struggling to dial in my race nutrition for the past year, so this race was a huge test to see if I’d figured out what works for me. Turns out I had a fantastic day out there, successfully using a combination of avocado, dates and bacon to fuel my run, and I ended up coming in first female with a time of 16 hours 39 minutes…a feat that totally shocked me and made me realize just how far I’ve come. Looking back at my training, the thing that really strikes me is how much stronger we are than we give ourselves credit for. A few years ago, I never dreamed that I could even stay awake for that long, let alone spend that much time running! By setting a really big goal to work towards and taking small steps forward with my training and fitness, it all of a sudden culminated in something I never imagined possible. Dream big, surround yourself with people that encourage and push you, and don’t forget to laugh at yourself once in a while.

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