Moun­tain and Ul­trarun­ner Cassie Smith

Canadian Running - - 10 QUESTIONS -

Aformer na­tional gym­nast, Cassie Smith is a com­pet­i­tive ul­trarun­ner and two-time mem­ber of the Cana­dian trail run­ning team. She will be rep­re­sent­ing Canada this sum­mer at the iau World Trail Cham­pi­onships in Ba­dia Prataglia, Italy. When she is not run­ning, Smith works as a psy­chother­a­pist at the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo and is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for men­tal health.

1 What would you say are your defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics as a run­ner?

Peo­ple tell me that I’m al­ways smil­ing when I run. What they don’t know is that my “I’m in pain” face is in­dis­tin­guish­able from my smile. The truth is that, while I most cer­tainly do suf­fer, I also find im­mense joy and peace in the highs and lows that come with run­ning for hours and hours on end. It is in the discomfort of the strug­gle that I feel most my­self. I em­brace the pain and then smile be­cause I am alive enough to feel it.

2 What do you ad­mire most in another run­ner?

I gen­uinely ad­mire those who show hu­mil­ity in suc­cess, re­silience in strug­gle and the abil­ity to laugh and not take any­thing too se­ri­ously.

3 What is your idea of hap­pi­ness?

Spend­ing time with the peo­ple I love the most. And be­ing in na­ture. And eat­ing choco­late. Prefer­ably, all three at once.

4 Who are your ath­letic he­roes?

I have al­ways ad­mired Clara Hughes, both for her amaz­ing ath­leti­cism and her con­fi­dence in speak­ing out about her men­tal health strug­gles.

5 Where would you like to live?

Last year I was rac­ing in Portugal and spent some time in a small moun­tain vil­lage called Ermelo. My days were filled with run­ning through the moun­tains, swim­ming in the river, climb­ing orange trees (pick­ing them for break­fast), and con­sum­ing fresh bread and port wine by the fire­place in my stone cabin at night. I would have been quite con­tent to stay there for a long while.

6 What is your great­est run­ning-re­lated re­gret?

In gen­eral, I try not to spend too much time on re­grets. How­ever, it’s in some ways un­for­tu­nate that it took a ma­jor in­jury to pro­pel me into the world of run­ning. I used to hate run­ning; it was al­ways some­thing that felt like a nec­es­sary evil in train­ing for other sports. It wasn’t un­til I suf­fered a com­plete rup­ture of my left Achilles ten­don a few years ago that I be­gan to re­ally value the abil­ity to walk, run and move my legs freely. It’s only in los­ing the some­thing that I took for granted that I re­ally learned to ap­pre­ci­ate it fully. Know­ing the joy I now find in run­ning and in the free­dom of move­ment, I re­gret not dis­cov­er­ing this a long time ago.

I also re­gret ev­ery long run I have gone on for­get­ting to take toi­let pa­per in my pack with me.

7 What is your great­est fear?

That I will let my fear get in the way of liv­ing my life to the fullest.

8 If you could change one thing about your­self, what would it be?

To have all 10 of my toe­nails at once. A girl can al­ways dream.

9 What’s one thing you can’t live with­out?

My mom’s bundt cake.

10What is your motto?

Em­brace be­ing un­com­fort­able and you will f ind pos­si­ble what once seemed im­pos­si­ble.

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