When Andrea Kladar sets out to run the Island Runner Ultra 100K race on Vancouver Island on May 11, she will be pushing her body to run more than twice as far as she’s ever run at one time before.
But this is the same woman who — when she committed to her first triathlon in 2009 — hated running, and had never been on a road bike or swam a lap in her life.
Since then, she has completed the famed Ironman twice.
“It’s all about taking on challenges. . . . But I do have a coach, thank goodness. Because I really have no idea what I’m doing,” Kladar says with a laugh.
The Calgary woman, whose day job is in the local banking sector, thrives on pushing her limits.
She is spurred on in part by memories of a traumatic youth. Kladar was born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, fled the war-torn country as a teenager, and lived five years as a refugee in Croatia before coming to Canada. She wants to make every moment count.
Kladar says her painful past is one of the reasons she runs for charity. In the lead-up to the Island Runner Ultra 100K, for example, the animal lover and vegetarian hopes to raise $10,000 for the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society as well as Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals.
She has raised money for other causes with previous athletic events.
“From a wealthy, comfortable life in the former Yugoslavia, boom, everything vanished. Everything was gone in a very short amount of time,” she says. “Canada definitely feels like home to me now, but sometimes it is surreal. Canada is an amazing place to live, it’s such a great country, and because of that I think we have a higher obligation to help those who are suffering.”
To be recorded as having officially completed the Island Runner 100K, Kladar must finish in under 12 hours. So every week, she laces up her shoes and puts in the distance — 20 km one day, 30 km the next, and so on. She is looking forward to checking the race off her bucket list, and handing over a healthy amount of money to the animal welfare charities she is racing for.
But as determined as she is, some things haven’t changed.
“I still can’t say I love running,” she says with a smile. “But I’ve learned to work with it, let’s put it that way.”
More information about Kladar’s campaign, “Running 100 km to Save 100 Animals,” is available at http://100for100.me
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