After finishing third at the AUS championship last year, Kelsey Hogan decided to aim higher and took this season off from competition to train for a 165km ultramarathon.
An ultramarathon is not something that is easily achieved, but the Halifax native and master of sport psychology major has completed more than 10 of them.
She’ll be running The Grand Raid Réunion, also known as la Diagonale des Fous on Réunion Island October 20-23. Its an annual invitation-only 165km race with over 3000 participants.
“Réunion Island is a Department of France located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius,” says Hogan. “The racecourse crosses through the island’s tropical jungles and active volcanoes to traverse from the south end of the island to the north.
The Grand Raid Réunion is referred to as one of the world’s most difficult footraces and has a 66-hour cut off time. It will be Hogan’s first time competing in the event.
“What is so unique about this trail is that you get to experience extremes. It goes from the heat and humidity in the jungle to cold alpine conditions. It can drop from 40 degrees Celsius to 0 degrees Celsius, in a short amount of time,” adds Hogan.
With such rigorous conditions, Hogan flew out a week in advance to get acclimatized and scout the trail with her family and support team.
“I am bringing my partner and my parents who have crewed me at a few races before. Their job will be to meet me at a few different points throughout,” says Hogan.
She’ll be running with a litre and a half of water on her back inside a vest, along with emergency gear and various small nutritional snacks to help maintain her energy level through the duration of the course.
“The course has aid stations which are set every 10-20km apart, some of which can be accessed by the crew so they can help replenish some of the nutrition and water that I carry.”
She has high hopes for this upcoming journey and said she aims to place on the podium.
“I am hoping I can come in at 30 hours or less, and I believe I have a chance at a podium spot,” she says. “I am also going for the experience. Some of the biggest names in ultra running will be there and I have never been part of a race on this scale.”
Although Hogan is taking this season off from competing as a Tiger, her upcoming ultramarathon is viewed as unmatched, and it will inspire all athletes that wear the black and gold.
“I am so grateful for all of the support I have received from the girls on the cross country team, my academic supervisor and my family,” says Hogan. “I will definitely think of them while I am running.”
You can follow and support Kelsey during her race online here.
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