Veronique is French Canadian and lives in Abu Dhabi, quite a challenging place to train for ultra marathons! She has been training with Mile 27 for just over six months and recently placed third woman in the Berlin 100 mile race.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
In February 2014 I started to train with Andy. He made a huge difference in my training and has helped me to have confidence in myself. Now I don’t need to stress about whether I am doing my training right or wrong, training with Andy is stress free! I follow his advice and it always works for me. Andy’s approach to training is professional, comprehensive and human. His belief in his athletes makes a huge difference. He helps me to get motivated and achieve goals that I thought unreachable for myself. He has helped me to go further than I imagined possible.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING ULTRAMARATHONS?
I ran my first 50 miles in May 2012; Sulphur Spring Run in Ontario. That was a fantastic run and incredible achievement for me. Now, I have started to run 100 mile races and I just love it.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN THE SPORT?
First of all, I always had a admiration for Terry Fox, what a great model for me. Many years later, when I worked in Senegal, I was amazed by the people who ran there. I saw a lot of Senegalese running in some hot and poor conditions. I had a lot of admiration for these people. They ran in the poorest conditions with smiles and joy and inspired in me the spirit of running. Two years after, I looked for a real sport challenge in my life. I decided to buy my first pair of running shoes and 6 months after that I completed my first marathon.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE SO FAR?
Ouf … that is a tough question … because each race has its own stories, its own life and its own achievement, it’s a very tough question to answer.
My 100 miles in Berlin was for me an amazing run, all the ingredients were there and came together, so that was just an amazing run for me. I enjoyed the race, the spirit of Berlin, I enjoyed the scenery, I was not stressed, I was focussed and I met some great runners on the road. I was so pleased to run in Berlin, and I enjoyed all the good moments. 100 miles along the Berlin Wall!
In 2009 I ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In the middle of the race I start to have a bad run and I knew at that point that I would not be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon (that was my goal), but I decided to just have some fun and smile for the camera each time I passed one. Less then two months later, a friend come to see me and told me that I was the new ‘star’ for the Toronto Waterfront marathon….I could not believe it. During this year I was like a running star, everyone recognised me as ‘Vero the Toronto Star’. I went to run the same race the year after, and a guy told me: I want to thank you, I am here because of you! When I saw the photo of you I said to myself, if a girl like you can do it, I can do it also! What a amazing compliment, if I can inspire someone to run, that is the spirit of running.
In my case, I know that I am a better person because I run, I am more happy, I can express myself through the running, I love to run with others and help them to achieve their goals, running helps me to stay in balance. If I can inspire other, that is fantastic!
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM A RACE?
I enjoy the energy of the start, when I discover a new place, I enjoy the scenery, I am pleased because I can run. And the best time of the race is when the time seems to fade away. I am just there between nature, my body and my spirit. I feel in unity with my environment, and I just live the moment without having the pressure of ‘real time’, that is incredible!
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ULTRAMARATHON ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR ?
Recently, at the end of the Berlin 100 miles, I was incredibly happy to finish so strong, I could not believe that I did a race like that … I never ever imagined that I could run like this, it was not even in my dreams :). And, at the finish line one of the organisers told me that I finished third overall woman! My first reaction was, ‘that cannot be me’. I told him, ‘maybe I am third in my age category, but not overall’, … and the guy showed me the paper to prove that I am in fact third woman overall. What a incredible moment … I was so happy that I just cried from joy, and I couldn’t stop crying!
WHAT IS ON YOUR RACING BUCKETLIST?
Sakura Michi International Nature Run
Ultra Trail Mont Fuji
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM ULTRAMARATHONS? WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE AND YOURSELF?
The limit that we have is the limit that we put on ourselves. We can do a lot more than we imagine we can. We are stronger than we think and sky is the limit if you give yourself the opportunity to reach it. You are for yourself your best and your worst friend, you have to choose which one you will be; the bad or the good?!
My running has given life to my life. I have more confidence in life because I know that anything is possible. I say, doing a race is like life, but in a short period of time. You will pass through some good and bad moments, all will pass, and finally you will have made the impossible possible.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF TRAINING?
I really like my long run, my night run, and the runs that I can share with good friends.
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
Without Andy, I wouldn’t have been able to do all the runs I have. Andy has made a huge difference to my training. I have achieved things that I never achieved before. I can run without stress, knowing that I can follow his advice without being worried that I will get injured. I know that he is there if I have a question. Because of Andy, I can plan my race and have a total confidence in his advice.
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE A FELLOW ATHLETE TO HELP THEM ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING AN ULTRA MORE?
You can do it, you have to believe in yourself. Andy, he’s such a great addition in your ultra running!
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RACE?
Winter 100 in the UK on 18 October.