IS­LAND UL­TRA

mailife - - People -

Words and Pho­tos SUP­PLIED In the run up to the Voda­fone Lost Is­land Ul­tra, we catch up (and strug­gle to keep up) with Anna Cow­ley, Is­land Chill Suva Marathon win­ner, ul­tra run­ner, and one of Fiji’s two en­trants in the event. As we run along the sea wall, Anna’s pace is steady. A group of young girls, sit­ting to­gether at a pic­nic ta­ble, watch us ap­proach, gig­gling to each other, and as we pass Anna calls out, “Come on! Run!”. The girls hes­i­tate, then jump up and sprint af­ter us, zoom­ing passed. They start to flag and as we catch them again, Anna is en­cour­ag­ing them to keep go­ing, to dig deep, all the time with a smile on her face. Anna has won the Suva marathon three times and has com­peted in nu­mer­ous ul­tra marathons which is any race longer than the marathon dis­tance of 42.2km. She is one of Fiji’s two en­trants in the up­com­ing Voda­fone Lost Is­land Ul­tra, a 200km race across Viti Levu from the Sun­coast to the Coral Coast through the in­te­rior. But for all that, she is a re­luc­tant role model. She doesn’t seek out pub­lic­ity and hates in­ter­views. As a gen­der equal­ity and so­cial in­clu­sion ad­vi­sor, how­ever, she is pas­sion­ate about get­ting more girls and women out run­ning. “I’ve got­ten so much out of run­ning and other girls and women can too”, she said. “From run­ning I de­vel­oped con­fi­dence, I learned dis­ci­pline and the value of hard work, I learned to set goals, I gained the highs that come when you reach your goals and re­alise you can set more, and I’ve gained

Cow­ley par­tic­i­pates in a lo­cal race.

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