The Tim Hortons Athlete of the Month for September is a student from E.W. Pratt High School, Rae-Anne Gill. Rae-Anne was nominated after participating in two ultramarathons over the summer – River Valley Revenge Ultramarathon and the Canadian Death Race.
The River Valley Revenge Ultramarathon gave runners the option to be part of a 25 mile relay team, or try to take on a 50 or 100 mile race. Rae-Anne along with four others decided to take on the 100 mile run, and in the end, only Rae-Anne and one other runner completed the marathon before the time limit of 32 hours. Rae-Anne was the only female to complete the 100 mile marathon.
“I kind of just heard of ultramarathons about a year ago,” says Rae-Anne. “I just never thought it was something I could do, and then I realized ‘yeah, I can run for a long time.’ So I started looking online and I found a 100 miler closest to me, and it probably wasn’t the greatest one to start out with, I should’ve just started with a 50k and worked my way up. But it was pretty fun.”
Rae-Anne says it was really overwhelming when she completed the River Valley Ultramarathon because she was one of two people to complete the 100k portion of it, and finished the course with seconds to spare.
“It was really overwhelming. It felt like a big accomplishment but it was really hard to actually believe it,” says Rae-Anne. “It gives you a bit of confidence with whatever you do with the rest of your life.”
The second ultramarathon Rae-Anne participated in was the 125k Canadian Death Race, which involved over 17,000 feet of elevation change.
“The Death Race is a bigger race, so it had a lot more volunteers out there and a lot more people running it. So you weren’t really alone throughout the whole race, there was probably a good 5 or 10 minutes at night where I didn’t see any headlamps and I was by myself, but I know there was someone a couple minutes ahead of me. As far as the course, the course was harder because it had more elevation but my body was able to handle it better because I had better nutrition and better hydration, I was looking after myself a lot better, so I didn’t get as beat up after this race than I did at the River Valley.”
Rae-Anne started cross country running when she was in grade 6. When she was in junior high, she realized she enjoyed trail running.
Since January, Rae-Anne has been preparing herself for the River Valley Revenge Ultramarathon. She sticks to a vegan diet which she’s been on for the past two years. She says she can definitely see herself participating in ultramarathons for the rest of her life. Rae-Anne says one of her role models in the world of ultramarathon running is Courtney Dauwalter who ran the Moab 240 in under 58 hours.
“The community is amazing, I just enjoy getting to travel to different places and see thing I wouldn’t otherwise get to see.”
Congratulations, Rae-Anne, for being September’s Tim Hortons Athlete of the Month!