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Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Brice Ferre

Orig­i­nally from Shaw­ini­gan, Que., Au­drée Lafrenière moved to Van­cou­ver in 2009.

Grow­ing up, Lafrenière de­scribes her­self as a bit of a loner. Un­like most kids her age, she didn’t find her place i n team sports. “I needed an out­let and run­ning gave me that, and much more,” she says.

So in 2003, at age 16, she st arted run­ning, and hasn’t stopped run­ning since.

Af­ter train­ing for a few years, she signed up for her first race in 2009, t he ap­pro­pri­ately named Mon­treal Hy­pother­mic Half-Marathon, rac­ing in -20 C weather. This is when she dis­cov­ered that she was made for en­durance. “It got me hooked on long-dis­tance run­ning,” says Lafrenière.

As the years passed, she raced many more half-marathons and even­tu­ally set her sights on Bos­ton.

“I gave my­self a goal. I wanted to toe the line of the Bos­ton Marathon be­fore turn­ing 30,” she re­calls.

But with a first full marathon fin­ish of 3:54, Lafrenière knew she had a lot of work to do to qual­ify. Not one to back away from a chal­lenge, she put her head down and started work­ing harder. With the help of a coach, she man­aged to run a PB of 3:27 in Eugene, Ore., which was more than enough for her to qual­ify.

She ran the 2009 Bos­ton Marathon, with one year to spare in her goal.

It’s only when Lafrenière moved to Van­cou­ver that she dis­cov­ered the joy of trail run­ning. With her Bos­ton goal now be­hind her, she fi­nally found time to run up and down moun­tains, and in do­ing so, find­ing a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a sport she al­ready loved.

“I feel like you can only go so far on the roads, but the trails are end­less,” Lafrenière says. “There will al­ways be an­other sum­mit to reach. I love the play­ful­ness, the great sense of free­dom and ad­ven­ture of trail run­ning.” Trail run­ning quickly be­come a pas­sion, a way to re­lease stress and to feel alive. “Be­ing in Van­cou­ver, I’m sur­rounded by moun­tains and other trail run­ners who in­spire me ev­ery day,” Lafrenière says.

She now has a few ul­tra­ma­rathons un­der her belt, in­clud­ing the in­fa­mous Squamish 50. “That def­i­nitely tested my lim­its,” she says. Lafrenière is now train­ing for even longer dis­tances. Her next goal is to run her long­est race to date, the Mount Hood 50-Miler, in Ore­gon this sum­mer.

Lafrenière loves trail run­ning for many rea­sons, one of which is the ad­ven­ture. “Rac­ing trails is about more than just the race,”

she says. “It usu­ally in­volves a road trip with great friends and stay­ing in a tiny town you’ve never heard of.” And those are the things she looks for­ward to, as much as cross­ing the fin­ish line. Brice Ferre is a pho­tog­ra­pher and trail run­ner liv­ing in Van­cou­ver.

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