Featured Runner – April

Wanda Kolida

Age: 49
Job: Government worker
Mantra: Fearless
Hobbies: Camping, Cycling, Reading
Favourite Distance: Anything that allows her to find the zone.


Meet Wanda!

When you first meet Wanda, one thing first comes to mind; man can she TALK! Those who know Wanda often think of her as a boisterous, fun, chatty runner whose focus is on the journey not the destination. She finds the joy in that journey, choosing to focus on the good times and tries to not get caught up in her head about whatever distance she happens to be running. When you spend time with Wanda it’s impossible to come away grumpy. Tired? Sure, but grumpy? Nope. You’ll also probably find yourself in just a few runfies and boomerangs.

The funny thing is that if you truly spend any time with Wanda you start to see that there’s so much more to her than what she puts out there for the world to see. Beneath the mask of a happy, loud, go lucky runner lies a strong woman who has had to endure more grief than any one individual should in a lifetime and grow up far too soon. As a young woman she found herself in a never ending cycle of grief and knew she needed to be the person who would pull herself out of it. She knew that she would have to be the change she so longingly desired. She had to find a way to let go of the anger, to let go of the resentment, to oh so simply move forward.

It’s a common theme with many runners that running came as a way to navigate loss and for Wanda it was no different. Running became a way to release the stresses of the day, became the thing she had control over and became a source of growing confidence for her. Through running she was able to finally release the hold that fear had over her life and slowly found herself turning into someone she was really proud to see in the mirror every morning. Her journey towards being fearless was underway.

When you ask her who motivated her, what prompted her to get into running her answer was succinct, a lifelong friend. She followed her friend on social media and found herself intrigued by the consistent run postings. She wondered if she too could take on the challenge and through much encouragement eventually found herself signed up for a 10km, then shortly thereafter a half marathon. Wanda was hooked.

It didn’t take her long to make the transition to running long and last year ran her first marathon. Some who run a marathon swear never again. Wanda was different; she found herself wondering if she could in fact push herself farther…perhaps an ultra? Currently you’ll find Wanda training for the Oxbow 50km, a locally organized trail run that takes place in Spruce Woods this May. While not an avid trail runner, she’s looking forward to the new challenge and can’t wait to see what lies in wait for her.

When asked about any advice she would have to first time runners her answer was to simply start slow. To not be too hard on yourself if you think things aren’t going your way. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, be the change you long to see. One day you might just be the person whose posts motivate someone else to first set foot to pavement.

Running is hard at first, it is for everyone, but if you put in a consistent effort the reward could just be finding your tribe. A tribe you can’t imagine life without but didn’t even know you were looking for. Family.