School's out! Off-roading

By CBA/ABC National Students 2014

Paige Morrow takes trail running to the extreme.

School's out!  Off-roading

Running across the Grand Canyon

Imagine running a marathon. Now imagine running ultramarathon Fat Dog 70 —  70 miles of hiking up rugged mountain sides, running over trails, hopping across mini streams and trudging through mud pits. It’s on these trail runs that you can find Paige Morrow when she is not studying for her Master of Laws degree at the London School of Economics (LSE) or performing her duties as researcher at the LSE Human Rights Centre Investment & Human Rights Project. 

Morrow ran her first 50-kilometre race in 2012 after discovering the joy of trail running through a friend. She currently holds the Canadian female West Coast Trail record for completing 80.03 kilometres in 18 hours and 20 minutes. Not bad for a girl who claims she’s not built for speed. She’s clearly built for endurance.

Paige on trail running

At some point I got it into my head that I should run the Grand Canyon. It seemed like a really crazy thing to do but there were lots of other people who had done it so I figured I should give it a shot. Out of the blue, my boyfriend needed to travel to Arizona for work and it seemed like the perfect time. The only problem was that his trip to Arizona was that weekend (it was Wednesday) and it was late winter so there was no shuttle to pick me up at the end of the Grand Canyon. Suddenly the plan was even more extreme: I would have to prepare in four days and I would have to run a half marathon more than I had ever run without any support crew. The idea of running across the entire Grand Canyon and then back again seemed totally insane to me right up until the moment I did it…

I run when I feel like it, never more than a couple times a week, often when I want to eat an entire bag of chips but feel I need to earn it first…I don’t run to beat other people or get a PB (personal best). I run because it's the only time that my head is clear and I think of nothing but where to put my feet. It is entirely possible that I would be a better runner if I trained more consistently but it is equally likely that I would not be able to sustain the schedule and would eventually stop running all together. So I keep running when I feel like it.

Next ultramarathon adventure?

I’m gearing up for the Ultra Trail Marão (121 km) in Portugal. My goal is to raise a bit of money for the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (www.vast-vancouver.ca).

I am also planning to run my first hundred-miler later in the year and have a couple of ideas for solo expedition runs in my back pocket. Should keep me busy and out of trouble!

At Fat Dog 100



5 songs on Paige’s playlist

  1. Reflektor – Arcade Fire 
  2. Pompeii – Bastille 
  3. Silver and Gold – local B.C. band Noah and the Whale 
  4. Glitter & Gold – Rebecca Ferguson
  5. And a guilty pleasure: Roar – Katy Perry

Katya is managing editor of National magazine.

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