It’s pouring rain early on a Wednesday morning at Waterfront Park. While most of the town is just beginning to stir, Ashleigh Lockhart is already stretching and preparing for a morning run.
Joined by a dedicated group of fellow runners, Lockhart is soon off and away. A lifelong runner, she was preparing for one of the few firsts she had left to experience in the sport: a full marathon.
That marathon was the Totem to Totem race, which Lockhart took part in on July 20. It was a highly successful debut, as she placed just minutes outside the top three finishers in her first go at a 26 mile distance.
The experience was one Lockhart was intent on achieving. She ran her first half marathon a year ago, returning to the sport for the first time since having children. The Kelowna race further fueled her desire to be ready for the marathon on Haida Gwaii.
|Ashleigh Lockhart won the Prince Rupert women’s half-marathon on April 7, 2019 with a time of 01:56.22. (Phuong Nguyen photo)|
“I thought it would be a perfect goal,” Lockhart said as she prepared for the marathon. “I have run quite a few half’s now throughout the training. I’ve just tried to keep up the distances for the last year.”
“Being present throughout it,” was one of the main goals Lockhart listed for the challenge. “In that distance you can get a little grouchy, so I hope to avoid that.”
The course was grueling, but Lockhart achieved her objective of staying positive to the finish line.
“This was eight km longer than I’ve ever run. You go through cycles of very challenging and then you go through cycles where it feels amazing and you’re taking in everything,” she explained. “The last 2-3 km are really hard. You really have to dig deep, you’re ready for it to be done.”
“Right after I was like, who would ever do this twice? And then a day or two later you wonder which one I can sign up for next,” Lockhart said, her spirits still up after the big race.
“I feel pretty proud of what I did.”
|Ashleigh Lockhart is cheered on by her strongest supporters at the Totem to Totem Marathon. (Submitted photo)|
Several Prince Rupert runners took part in the different distances that make up the Totem to Totem races, including Lockhart’s friend Jamie Komadina who won the 10 km last year. Lockhart credits the local running community for inspiring her to push herself in the sport.
“The Rupert running community is unique. People are meeting and they’re running and they’re supportive,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart quickly became involved with Rupert Runners upon arriving in town, and this year signed on as a coach for the Learn to Run program, which helps people get active and learn the running basics. “It was so inspiring to see them working so hard,” Lockhart said of her class.
|Ashleigh Lockhart gets set to head off on her final run in Prince Rupert before heading to Haida Gwaii for the Totem to Totem Marathon. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Lockhart is also an ambassador for the Run Like A Girl organization. The group puts an emphasis on women runners, and encourages and empowers them to become involved with the sport. Along with Komadina and several other Prince Rupert runners, Lockhart also took part in the Global Sports Bra Squad Day run on July 13.
For Lockhart, the main advantage of running is the full range of fulfillment it offers. From calm and serene runs, to outings with a group of friends, there is always a run for any occasion.
“You can get a lot out of it. If I want a solitary mind-clearing run I can do it. If I want a run with some companionship, I can message any of my friends or even post it on Rupert Runners, and someone’s always keen to join me.”
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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