I first met Aly when I stumbled across her rad group, the Nous Adventure Co on Twitter. I was obviously intrigued by the group’s name and I mean come on, it has the word adventure in it! Need I say more? HECK NO.
After going on a little internet adventure to visit their page, I left feeling deeply inspired. I learned that Aly was the founder of this group and that it was comprised of 15 everyday women of various abilities (some of them first time runners) who were embarking on being the first female relay to run the Bruce Trail from end to end.
This is where the story might start to sound a bit familiar. Some of you might remember hearing about the Wild Bruce Chase through various media outlets or even from some of the girls themselves. Well, Aly’s group was the original team that blazed the way for those 18 awesome women to break that record, but for Aly’s team, it wasn’t about breaking the record, it was about creating one.
I’m not bringing this up to to tear down or disrespect the undeniable efforts of the Wild Bruce Chase women because they are hands down amazing, but so is Aly and her team of incredible women, and they too deserve respect for paving the way. After all, records can’t be broken until someone else sets them.
With that being said, only one newspaper covered their story, which ultimately made me sad. How could such an amazing story get overlooked? I’m sure Aly asked herself the same questions, but in getting to know Aly this past year, I wasn’t surprised with how she reacted to the whole situation. She has confidently and quietly enjoyed the success of Nous Adventure Co when others could have easily taken to anger, and for that, I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for her.
Additionally, she has a deep love for the outdoors, and strong will to encourage more women to take on not only living an active lifestyle, but to also become adventure enthusiasts. Two things that I too, strongly believe in.
It’s also probably a good time to mention that she’s also one hell of a cheerleader. After telling her that I was racing in my first triathlon this summer, she jumped on the opportunity to come surprise me with a huge smile and real life high five en route while I was waist deep in runner’s misery during that said triathlon. From that moment on I was convinced that she was a pretty special human and that I’d be keeping her around.
Aly, you are one heck of an inspiring woman. Every time we chat I have a smile on my face from ear to ear because of all the positivity you have beaming outta you. My biggest hope for you is that you see your message realized and that the Nous Bruce Adventure is seen as, “…a storytelling project that hopefully any woman would see themselves reflected in.”
My second hope is that the universe conspires to bring the Nous Adventure Co and the Wild Bruce Chase groups together to create an even bigger community for more rad adventures to take place. More importantly, I hope this happens to show all women everywhere that we have no limits and that we do actually “run the world”.
Buckets o’ love to you my extraordinary friend.
You can check out the Nous Adventure Co’s journey along the Bruce Trail in their short documentary film done by filmmaker Julia Wittmann. It’s where I snagged that gem of a quote by Aly herself.
You can also follow Aly on Instagram + Twitter at @alyssagbird.
1. Who are you (in 20 words or less)?
I’m an ever-evolving human passionate about carving out spaces in the world for people to feel comfortable and included.
2. Who or What Inspires/Motivates You?
I’m inspired by underdogs and people who don’t take NO for an answer. I’m motivated by defying stereotypes and pushing boundaries.
3. How did you get into running?
A very encouraging chemistry teacher told me I could be a runner when I was in grade 11. I didn’t really think it was possible before then – I wasn’t fast, I huffed and puffed my way through 6 minute runs in gym class, but she explained that I didn’t have to race or be fast to be a runner. So I got started and have been running on and off ever since.
4. What do you love most about the running community?
I love that the running community is equal parts physical effort and storytelling. It’s not just about the run, it’s also about sharing what running means to you. For many, it’s an expression of creativity.
It’s hard to pin one down and say that its more important than others. For now, inclusion is at the top. The feeling of not belonging or being excluded hurts. I don’t want anyone to feel that way – in running or wherever.
6. If you could be anywhere now, where would you be?
On an adventure or on a public speaking circuit talking about that adventure.
Drinking champagne from a bottle and eating orange slices at 7:30am on May 5th, 2016 at the Southern Carin of the Bruce Trail with my friends Michelle and Morgan. We were having a conversation about what to do next – after having just set the first record for a female relay of the Bruce Trail 30 minutes prior.
8. What is one of your biggest accomplishments?
I’m really proud of what I accomplished with the Nous Bruce Project – but I couldn’t have done it alone. There was an incredible team of people who helped to make it reality.
We all wanted to be a part of something epic and outrageous but very few of us would have ever been invited to be a part of something similar. So, we did it on our own and that felt really, really good.
We put inclusion before competition and accomplished something that had never been done before. Every woman on the team played an important role in getting us from one end of the Bruce Trail to the other. And when we made it to the end, every woman on the team had accomplished something they could be proud of.
I’m really, really proud of what we did.
9. What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Inspirational Quotes are my jam. (Seriously, Pinterest is like crack for me.) Right now this one is speaking to me:
Don’t not try something or start something because you think you won’t be the best. If it makes you happy who cares if there are people who can do it better, faster, or stronger than you can. Oh, and never take no for an answer.