Amy, Amy, Amy. My little Brit with a lot of wit. I cannot believe we have been friends for only 6 years because it feels like I have known you FOR-EV-ER. I’m not sure if it’s because of all the belly laughs, sarcasm, and inappropriate jokes or the memories of purple jesus, but you have hands down become one of my closest friends.
I have so many memories with you, including this little “beautiful mess” of a gem below, and as terrible as our twerking is, this picture ultimately reminds me of how I wouldn’t have started running or found the fun in the run if it wasn’t for you.
You constantly seek the path that will make you a better person, and continually invest your time into helping others. You have chosen a career that focuses on teaching and inspiring the minds of tomorrow and to be honest, those little hooligans don’t know how lucky they are to have you!
I want you to know that no matter how you are feeling on any given day that you are an intelligent, funny, beautiful, and strong woman who I am so grateful to call my friend. I want to remind you to never, ever let anyone tell or make you feel otherwise and if you have to come back here to read this over and over again then so be it. But most of all, I wanted the girl who has always believed in me to know that I believe in her. Always.
1. Who are you (in 20 words or less)?
This is always such a tough question! I think above all, I identify as: a passionate educator of little humans (mostly kinder!), a proud family girl and a loyal friend to all the people who continually have my back.
2. Who/What inspires/motivates you?
This is something that I constantly remind myself, whether I’m grinding through a tough race or personal feat – I think of those in my life that inspire me to be and do better.
My mum, for sure, is a massive inspiration to me, someone I am always looking to in times of stress or great accomplishment. I would say I make 80% of my decisions with her in mind, because she has sacrificed so much for me while still accomplishing so many of her own tough personal goals, that it never ceases to put me in awe.
My students, absolutely. They help me grow me everyday. There is nothing more motivating on your worst day, than to walk into a classroom full of bright-eyed, smiley 4-years-olds who are ready to tackle the day, who hang on to your every word and bounce back during adversity. I take it as a huge honour and massive responsibility.
My friend, Carley Elle Allison. One of my earliest “playmates”, Carley was the daughter of one of my mum’s training partners. Along with her two sisters, we passed the long hours together as our mums would hit the pavement. At 17, Carley was diagnosed with a rare form of clear cell sarcoma, which made her one in a billion – something already knew about her, and we all rallied around her as she valiantly fought cancer. When Carley lost her battle a year ago, she became my light. Whenever I have a tough time, whether it be physically or emotionally, she gives me strength, perspective and a smile.
3. How did you get into running?
MAMA G! For anyone that doesn’t know me, I come from a long line of runners. My mum ran for a number of clubs growing up in Surrey, a suburban town outside of London UK, until she progressed to national meets in her early 20s. She emigrated over to Canada with my father years later, and continued to run for the UK until she found her new home at the Toronto Olympic Club (still running! Check them out at: http://www.torontoolympicclub.com/). She represented the UK and Canada at two Olympic games, and if I continue to brag about her, she’ll murder me! Needless to say, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I picked up running cross country in middle school, and started training and competing in 2013, with my first half marathon and I haven’t looked back since!
4. What is one of your biggest accomplishments?
When it comes to athletics, I would say my first half marathon. I had trained for months in gruelling heat, and left so many sessions honestly believing that I was making no progress at all, perhaps even moving backwards. When it came to race day, I went out and ran my first ever PB at that time, even after some serious soul searching at the 16KM mark when I was ready to just give up entirely.
Personally, I would say my accomplishments are in my students. Anything they achieve, brings me instantaneous pride.
5. What would you do if you were famous?
Oh god, for anyone who knows me and my personality, I would probably be a goldmine for the tabloids! In all honesty, I think I would live my life in much of the same way, with less boundaries (read: more money!) I would travel more, give back in more material ways by donating more time and money, and try to do some good with my newfound level of exposure. I think I would really just need to try and stay grounded!
6. What is your biggest passion?
I would say my biggest passion is just that: to live passionately. To always do the things and surround myself with people that I love and bring me joy. To always strive to be better and do better, for myself and for those around me. To make compassionate choices that make me happy and help me grow. To live as many days as I can happy, healthy and begging for more. When things get tough, to honour the hurt. To stay hurtable, open, and human: it’s always worth it.
7. What are you most grateful for?
My support system – family, friends, mentors, trainers – so much that I literally cannot say it enough. I am so lucky to have such a strong community that is there for me unconditionally and constantly. Pep talks before races, life chats to mend a disappointed heart, and the times that I can celebrate their successes in the massive ways that they celebrate mine! I am nothing without those who made me, and for them I am forever grateful.
8. What would you do with a million dollars?
Cry? I literally have no idea! I’d give back, to causes that I believe in, people that have been there for me (I have a lot of friends in student debt!), spoil my family, travel the world (I have terrible wanderlust), upgrade from my mere 400 sq. foot condo, and buy lots of pretty things! I would invest in my future (whatever that future looks like!) and give whatever I can to the education of our next generation through programs, incentive and grants! No one’s future should suffer because of money.
9. What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone else here, and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Never apologize. There are no teams, no buddies. You are on your own. Be on your own. Let your success make you someone else’s hero”
10. What advice would you give your younger self and young girls today?
Things are going to be tough. They are going to be stressful and overwhelming. They are going to hurt. There are going to be choices that seem to back you into a corner. But you will come out the other side, and you will be stronger for it. You will feel like a shell of your former self, but you will survive. Try and see the difference between mountains and molehills. Whatever life has to throw at you, you have to throw it back harder. Do what makes your heart happy, let yourself hurt, make mistakes that you can learn from, and always remember to breathe. You got this, everyone is gunnin’ for you!