I will take the liberty of writing the 'humble brag' post that will not be so humble. Arielle Fitzgerald is now a World Record holder for 50km treadmill and 100km treadmill record. She inspired the Calgary community, and much of the running community on Saturday as she courageously broke records to raise awareness for Mito Canada. I was honoured to have the opportunity to support and witness her accomplishments alongside other treadmill runners on the Mito Canada team also breaking records (i.e. David Proctor).
What we preach came into practice on this magical day. Arielle entered a dark place just after she broke the 50km female treadmill record. I jumped on the treadmill beside her for the last 5km of that. (Quickly realized how important it was to keep the ice cold spray bottles and ice down her pants consistent). She started feeling nauseous, and it was getting worse.
Once again, Saturday was proof how much ultras and life coincide. Arielle went through the darkest of darks I have ever seen. I had to trust myself while telling her that 'this too shall pass,' even though I barely trusted it myself. Many of her support crew were cringing and looking around honestly wondering if the suffering would end. Seeing someone you love suffer is not easy - however, much easier than dominating two world records. We had to be strong. The moment Arielle came back (around the last 20km/100km), all of our shoulders relaxed in relief. "She's back!" We shouted with tears. Then she started talking to her Uncle Paul about prime rib, and we knew she was going to make it.
It was a pleasure crewing her with new friends in the Calgary running community. Thank you for staying calm, Joanna! Mike and I came from Vancouver to see how hard work turns into magic. This girl has supported me through lows, never questioning anything. Having the opportunity to try and reciprocate that support was an honour. It was incredible to witness light emerging from the darkest of darks. Where there is dark, there is light. And usually the darker it is, the brighter the light is at the end. The process is a process is a process.
While Arielle is off answering questions from the media, I am happy to answer questions about how to crew an ultra on the treadmill. #treadmillsaretrending
- treadmills are trending
- crewing treadmill ultras are surprisingly similar to trail ultras
- when someone tells you they think they are your soulmate, believe that shit
- it is possible to urinate while running on a treadmill
- perhaps the stampede can be our kind of 'scene' (the event took place on stampede grounds)
- even if there's no time to beat, you can still race yourself
- tough times don't last, tough people do (Thanks Ellie Greenwood for this mantra)
- a good pair of sunglasses can change everything
- the 2nd 'birthing an ultra experience' is often more difficult (i.e. you know it will hurt)
UltraDirt Podcast Interview on Arielle's experience: