Marina Striker trail running in the Chilliwack Community Forest. (Contributed)

Agassiz trail runner looks to conquer local mountains

Marina Striker has run the equivalent of four Mount Everests in April alone

In April, Agassiz’s Marina Striker climbed Mount Everest four times. Last year, she climbed the mountain’s 8,848 metres 27 times.

Of course, she has no desire to actually make those journeys on the iconic mountain itself.

“It doesn’t interest me to travel to places like Everest or Kilimanjaro,” she said, sitting in the backyard of her Agassiz home. “As awesome as it is, there’s so much to enjoy locally. Like, it’s endless.

“There’s so much to enjoy. And there’s so many trails.”

Striker is a trail runner, someone who not only hikes local trails but races them. A member of the Abbotsford Trail Running Group, she trains to compete in races in Manning Park, North Vancouver and even Whistler.

“I just like the challenge,” the 47-year-old said. “I love the outdoors, and there’s something about being out in the mountains. It’s almost like therapy.”

“But at the same time, when I’m out there trail running …, I like the intensity of the trail,” she added. “When you’re out there running the uphills and the downhills, there’s something about the intensity that after you’re done you just feel calmness.”

The competitive edge of trail running is one of the things that keeps Striker involved in the sport — “I’ve got a taste of competitive. I’ve got an edge of it,” she said — but it’s also the beauty that’s all around the Fraser Valley.

RELATED: New Fraser Valley trail running race series will take place in Mission and Manning Park this spring

During an orientation trail run in Manning Park, Striker said she was one of the first at the top of the hill.

“I literally had tears in my eyes,” she said. “I was just so overwhelmed with beauty.”

Striker’s trail running passion began on the road several years earlier.

When her four kids were still in school, Striker would get up early — around 4:30 in the morning — to run on the countryside roads in Agassiz. Eventually, she tried a half-marathon. Then a full marathon.

Bored of the roads, she found a friend through Facebook to begin experiencing the local backwoods. That evolved into joining the Abbotsford group and running with a group of intermediate trail runners.

There was only one problem.

“Once I was running with the club, I was like ‘Why am I always in front?’” Striker said. “‘I think I’m a little bit more advanced.’”

Striker moved up to the advanced group, and in 2017 decided to get a taste of a real trail race.

“I got a real taste of racing and the competitiveness of it, and it was like, wow,” she said.

That year, Striker did three trail races: a 10-kilometre race in Golden Ears, a 55-kilometre race in Whistler and a 50-kilometre race in Manning Park, called the Frosty 50.

In the Frosty 50, Striker was the first female finisher. From there, she was hooked.

RELATED: Agassiz woman is first female finisher in 50-km trail run

The following year, Striker decided to “step it up a notch,” as she put it, doing six 50-kilometre races over the course of the year.

The races were anything but easy.

In a race on the North Shore, “I fell 17-kilometres from the finish, smashed my knee really bad,” she said. “You tumble the odd time, but you keep moving along.

“The trick is to keep moving,” she added. “If it seizes or stiffens up a bit, you just keep moving, suck it up.”

Now, in 2019, Striker is stepping it up again, this time doing approximately 100-kilometre races. Just this past weekend, Striker travelled down to the United States to compete in a 50-mile race (about 80-kilometres) on Orcas Island, coming in first for the female runners.

In August, Striker is considering stepping it up once again, possibly doing a 200-kilometre race around Manning Park.

“We’ll see how things go,” she said, referring to her 100-kilometre race she still has to do around Vancouver’s North Shore. “I strongly feel that to move up in distance, you don’t just move up overnight.”

“It’s really critical to train within your capacity and within your endurance, providing you’re properly fueled and all that good stuff, to move up slowly.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

The luckiest man in Agassiz finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Missing woman last seen downtown Chilliwack in late April

Family concerned for Rebecca Lynne Sackley’s well-being

Chilliwack prolific offender arrested after four months on the lam

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan in January

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Fraser Valley man dead after car hurtles from embankment west of Campbell River

Survivor of crash rushed to hospital by helicopter in serious condition

B.C. premier hints at twin-tunnel plan for Metro Vancouver’s Massey Tunnel

John Horgan cancelled plans for a 10-lane bridge to replace the 60-year-old tunnel shortly after taking office

Police investigate ‘serious collision’ between motorcycle, truck in Vancouver

Motorists asked to stay away from Blanca Street & West 4 Avenue

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Most Read