The athletic community has meant so much to each of us in terms of friendships, life goals, emotional and physical health. Our hope & dream is that we can continue to share that on an even larger scale through our ambassadors that share the vision of a supportive community of bad-a$$ people pushing themselves to do bad-a$$ things. Check out our 2023 ambassadors' stories below!
Meet The 2023 WausaUltra Ambassadors
I am SO incredibly happy to be back for year 2 of being a WausaUltra ambassador. This community has changed my life in such amazing and positive ways. Let's start at the beginning. I am a proud slow runner now, but that hasn't come easily. It started innocently enough in 2019, running to try to lose weight. I did a bunch of road 5Ks and a 10K, and then someone asked me to do a half marathon. I said they were crazy... and then signed up. I was so proud when I finished... that I promptly signed up for 2 more. The next year, I wanted to push myself, so I signed up for a full marathon. I spent hours and hours training, and I did it (virtually because #COVID). Then I saw WausaUltra on Facebook, and convinced my crazy husband to try this weird backyard style race. And I fell in love with trail running while he was crushing some insane miles. I realized that I enjoy running out in nature, enjoying the trail, and going my own speed. Since then, I have started tackling some trail races. I did the WausaUltra Double Down Relay in 2022 (and kicked some major ass). I then did the Spring Superior 25K Trail Run and the Ironbull 25K this last year as well. This year, I plan on crewing and pacing some badass runners at their races, including my husband and some other cool cats at the Bigfoot 200. I will also be doing the WausaUltra Double Down, tackling 2 laps this year. I'm not signed up for any other races yet, but I keep thinking about a 50K, so that will likely be in my future. I just need to find the right one that will let me travel at turtle speed with some enjoyable views for me.
So why do I do this? I do this because I can do this! I want to experience everything that this body can handle! No, I'm not fast, but I like to push myself to see what I can accomplish. I also do this for my children. I want my kids to grow up understanding the importance of movement. I want them to understand that when you set a goal, you take steps to reach it. I want them to know that they can do anything they put their minds too.
A pretty common answer as to why I started running was like a lot of people, to lose some weight and get in better shape. When that happened fairly quickly my why evolved into something greater than myself, which occurred approximately right after the WausaUltra double down in 2021.
Now it’s evolved into showing my kids that you can accomplish hard things. Also increasing my mental toughness and finding out if my mind will allow my body to keep pushing when the suck level is at its highest. It’s easy to be comfortable and seeking out races that challenge you, is how I believe you grow as a person.
Races I’ve done:
WausaUltra double down
Wausau 24 1/2 marathon
Rumble on the Ridge
Rumble on the Ridge
Dawn to Dusk 24 hr
There’s also some talks about finding a 100 miler this year. TBD
I started running back in high school as a way to stay in shape for other sports, but it quickly became a big part of my life. What really pulled me into running was the community around it. That's what I love about WausaUltra. It's a community of runners building each other up.
Like any good endurance runner, my past has been littered with many times of saying "I'll never...." and then later signing up and doing whatever crazy thing I said I'd never do. The best example occurred after finishing my 2nd Ironman triathlon. A fellow endurance athlete commented that he was going to transition into ultra running. I said very firmly, "I will NEVER run more than 26.2 miles." Well, it's 10 years later, and I've completed a bunch of 50k races (my favorite distance), plus longer races of 50 miles, 100K, 100 miles and 18 hours at the WausaUltra backyard. Saying "I'll never" has become just a fun joke among friends.
I love being a part of the community of building up runners. Whether it's helping someone complete their first 5k, pacing/crewing a runner to a 100 mile finish, coaching a high school cross country team or watching my daughter run, I love to be a part of people having success through running. I'm so excited to be a WausaUltra ambassador this year and can't wait to see all of the success everyone will have this year!
Each time I find myself signing up for a new race the big question always comes up... Why? The more I run the harder it seems to be to answer that question. I think this is mostly because i don't have just one "why" anymore. Over time I just keep finding new reasons to chase the next adventure, It all started when I found myself at a point when life got really hard, and I decided that I needed something new in my life. So I started running again, and I had gained about 10 years questionable decision making and at least 100 extra pounds since High School cross country.
There were a lot of brutal one mile run days at the start, but those days led me to new "whys". I started reaching new weight loss and fitness goals, I was finally able to run a half marathon and then ultimately a full marathon and a 50K. At this point I started looking for a new challenge I stumbled across WausaUltra. The idea of a race that didn't have a set finish line was something I couldn't turn down. My first WausaUltra was where my passion for Ultramarathon type events really got started and its where I feel like I really started to discover the running community, I found people who were out there doing the same crazy things I was or were putting hours, even days, into making sure I could keep going to that finish line. That running community became one of the biggest "whys" that keeps me coming back for more. All of my adventures started with me trying to make the hard days a little easier and now I find myself trying to find just how hard it can get... usually with a goofy smile on my face of course! I guess that's a really long way to say that the reason I do this is because every time I step up the start line I find a new reason to do it!
Races I've Done:
WausaUltra Backyard Ultra
Crater Trail 50k
Galena Sky Trail 8 Hour
Whiterock 50 Mile
Midwest States 100 Mile
WausaUltra Backyard Ultra
Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
Midwest States 100 Mile
Barkley Fall Classic
Mines of Spain 100 Mile
My why has and will always be my daughters. For many years, I was paralyzed by self-doubt and perfectionism, and it greatly affected my believe in my capabilities. Once my girls were born, I knew I didn’t want the same for them. In order to help them believe in their limitless potential, I had to start believing in mine. Running became that very black and white way for me to set a goal, see that progress isn’t linear, and I can accomplish great things even when things aren’t perfect.
Races since last year’s Double Down:
Brew City Half Marathon
Women Run the Cities 10-Mile
Twin Cities Marathon 2023
Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge 2023
Hot Dash 10-mile
WausaUltra Backyard Challenge
Circle of Life Half Marathon
Twin Cities Marathon Weekend Loony Challenge
Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge 2024