Erica Summers enjoys challenging herself, every year, to do something different.
Running a 50-kilometre race today in St. John’s certainly qualifies as something different for most people.
“The biggest thing would be to pace yourself and really just enjoy it,” she said of her mindset going into the race.
“Enjoy the emotions and everything, all the stages — just roll with it,” she continued. “And don’t push yourself too hard because, if you do, you’ll run out of gas too quickly.”
The race begins in Pouch Cove at sunrise and ends at sunset in Quidi Vidi. Fellow Corner Brook residents Mike Russell, Jonathan Grandy, and Eileen O’Brien will also be tackling the task.
The distance will be a new personal high for Summers, who has been training for this race specifically for the last five months. She’s hit 30-km on a run before, so she’ll be just a little outside her previous comfort zone with this one, to say the least.
A native of Conception Bay South, Summers does have the benefit of familiarity with the East Coast Trail. The terrain, she said, varies, but she is well aware of where the most challenging, grueling sections will be.
One of the final legs that leaves the Ocean Science Centre in Logy Bay and goes to Quidi Vidi is one she points to in particular, as is the route from Pouch Cove to Flatrock.
An avid member of the Humber River Runners group, Summers took up the activity seven years ago. She wanted to train for the Tely 10, as one of those aforementioned annual self-challenges, and the experience hooked her.
“I’ve been running ever since,” she said. “I run the Tely 10 every single year. It’s the one race I feel I absolutely have to participate in.”
She has recently switched from road running to mainly trails due to an injury, however, but has grown to enjoy it more.
“It has a lot more benefits, in my opinion,” she said. “So, I’m definitely going to stick with that.”
She loves the social aspect of the sport. She says she’s made lifelong friends along the way that, when coupled with the health benefits, has made it easy for her to stay dedicated and motivated.
Her original goal this year, upon turning 30, was to run a marathon.
“But instead of that, I just kind of stepped it up to an ultra,” she said with a laugh.
She anticipates the run will take about seven hours, depending on her nutrition and how she feels during the race.
But there is no personal goal for a final placing, or a best time. The experience is strictly for just that — the experience.
“Fingers crossed, it goes well,” she said.