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.