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Wild Rose Rough Runner passes the torch

Friday, 12 May 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Wild Rose Rough Runner passes the torch
Alecia Williams, left, cheers a participant to the finish of the 2016 Wild Rose Rough Runner race.   Photo by Mountain Drift Photography

Wild Rose Rough Runner passes the torch

By Auralea Boldt

“It makes the rest of life that much more vibrant,” says Alecia Williams. “When you’re strong and fit and healthy you have that ability to conquer everything else in life.”

Alecia is the owner of Williams Strength and Conditioning, which has taken on the Wild Rose Rough Runner, an obstacle race that will run June 3.

Alecia, along with Paula Szaroz, brought the race to life for its first year. CrossFit Pincher Creek hosted the race in 2015 and 2016.

Paula, owner of Crossfit and a competitive athlete, was big on ideas but short on time.

Alecia and Paula put their muscle together — and the Wild Rose Rough Runner was born.

Alecia, who has a degree in kinesiology, is a certified mountain guide and competitive athlete herself. She owns Williams Strength and Conditioning, which offers coaching services and also runs athletic camps. Some activities operate out of the same space as CrossFit Pincher Creek.

With growing participation, both locally and from around the province, Paula felt the Wild Rose Rough Runner needed a dedicated person in charge.

“With Alexia’s passion being trail running, it seemed to work best that she takes it in,” Paula says.

Passing the torch may also allow her to continue carving out her own niche in time. She would like to host a CrossFit competition, possibly in September — one that would also include kids and teens.

“We have a great facility here! With the pool, the field and the gym, I think we could host a really cool CrossFit competition that includes several different events.”

Most races of this type involve moving the same obstacles to different locations each year. Alecia sees the Wild Rose Rough Runner as unique in that it encompasses not just the beautiful backdrop of southern Alberta but also the essence of the community.

“It shows off the place and culture as well, with everything from finishers branding their finisher medals to obstacles like hay hauling,” she says.

This year the Rough Runner will move to a larger playing field. It will be held north of Waterton Lakes National Park at the site of the Riviere’s Construction motocross track, bordering the Castle Wilderness Area.

One review for the race notes that while the participant was reluctant to believe a small-town course would measure up, the Wild Rose Rough Runner exceeded expectations.

Alecia attributes the growing popularity of these obstacle-type courses partially to their fun-factor but also to their accessibility to people from all walks of life.

“You run 500 metres, then you get to stop and do something else,” she says.

Williams Strength and Conditioning will also be running an obstacle course training camp this year that will focus on building strength and skills to be successful in this style of race.

“I get super geeky about it, and work to find the best and fastest way for them to train and get better,” she says.

Alecia says the race makes a positive contribution to the local economy and tourism, noting that the event may draw people to discover the area for the first time.

The end of the race will also feature a spectator area with vendors, at no charge to the public.

The deadline for entry is the end of May.

Participants can choose the four-kilometre or eight-kilometre option.

The cost for entry is $20 for kids and $80 for adults. Participants can sign up at wstrength.ca.

Besides having health benefits, Alecia sees fitness as an important confidence-builder. She also believes in the benefits of the outdoors.

“I’m an outdoors fanatic,” she says. “Do some activity outside if you can. A lot of studies are showing additional healthy benefits. It’s like a two for one.”

For those considering making fitness more of a priority in their lives, Alecia offers advice.

“I would say make sure you can do it with a community, even if it is one person you’ve met for the first time,” she says.

“Start small. Every bit of success is going to make you more confident. Make sure you have a chance to celebrate what you accomplish every time you do. Even something as little as five to 10 minutes is something you can be proud of.”

Read more in this week’s online edition here.
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From the May 10, 2017 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze.
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