While I have only gotten to know Courtney just this past year, my only regret is that we didn’t become friends sooner. That being said, I’m pretty sure their isn’t an expiry date on friendships and I’ll get to know her better as time passes, but here’s what I do know.
When I think of Courtney, I instantly think of how funny she is. Belly laughs are pretty much guaranteed when around her, especially with moments like naming her wetsuit Winnie, but after her sense of humour, the word that comes to mind to describe her is determined. In my mind, she personifies this word to the point of inspiration.
If you know her, then you know the determination I speak of. There is her will to learn and become a better athlete with each training session or dare I say it swim at the pool, but my favourite form of this character trait she possesses is that of encouragement. I say this because I’ve experienced it 1st hand. For every ounce of determination I had in my body to push her away during our triathlon so that she could soak in her own greatness, she was determined to stick together until the very end and share the victory with me.
Courtney, I know I am clinging to this moment like this dog who hates water (http://bit.ly/2hSiUe3), but I seriously mean it when I say there is no one I would have rather shared that finish line with. You are such a positive force to anyone who knows you, and you are an incredibly strong female role model for your niece – something you know I hold close to my own heart.
Please accept this feature as my official heartfelt thank you and way of saying how grateful I am to know you. Now thank you Lord Jesus all of this flattery is over!
Wishing you nothing shy of a stellar 2017 girl. You deserve it.
You can follow Courtney’s inspiring training and maybe even a few craft beer posts on Instagram under her handle @calundrigan.
1. Who are you (in 20 words or less)?
In no particular order: Runner. Triathlete. Girlfriend. Dog mom. Daughter. Aunt. Sister. Frousin (when you’re friends with your cousins – it’s a thing!). Friend. Mentor. Librarian. Teacher.
2. Who or What Inspires/Motivates You?
I am inspired by so many people that it’s hard to choose just one person. My niece motivates me to push myself. I want her to see strong women work hard to accomplish goals. It’s important for her to see both the triumphs and struggles, and the successes and failures. I really want to be a good role model for her, despite living so far away.
3. How did you get into running?
I started running in 2011 to lose weight. I was initially strictly a solo and treadmill runner. In true Courtney fashion, I signed up for a half marathon having not run any other races, so I did a 5k a few weeks before so I would know what to do on race day. I was still a solo runner at the time, so had no idea what I was doing.
4. What do you love most about the running community?
It doesn’t care how fast or slow you are, whether you run on roads or trails, alone and with a group. Everyone is welcome, and it’s always there for you, no matter what.
5. What is your biggest passion?:
Teaching and mentoring. Both are a big part of my day job, and have come to the forefront in my running life over the last year.
6. What is the best part about cheering for others?
That moment when you see a runner struggling, so you start cheering your heart out and you can see that it makes a difference. You see that look of determination cross their face and they straighten up as they dig deep to push forward and finish strong. Cheering is so much fun! I never know what to say to people and I feel like I repeat the same stuff over and over, but who cares?!
About running? I’m cheating and sharing two.
First one is the last 800m of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2014. I was in peak shape and throwing down one of the strongest races I have ever run. I was starting to fade in the last stretch when I turned the corner up Bay, and I saw my Tribe cheering hard. I wasn’t expecting them to be there, and I started to cry. I had barely been running with them for 2 months at the time, and I have never felt so much love from a group of people as on that last stretch when I needed it most.
The second one is this past June when I paced the Waterfront 10. Not only was it the first running of the race, but it was my first time pacing. I have gone on and on about it on social media, but it was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I’ve ever had. So many sweaty hugs at the end. I wasn’t prepared for just how emotional it would be, especially when people came after the race near tears and thanking me for getting them to the finish. I learned so much about myself and the running community that day, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a pacer. I really hope I get to do it again someday.8. What is one of your biggest accomplishments?
Well, naturally I’m going to say crossing the finish line of my first triathlon with you! Seriously, though, when I started to panic in the water at my first triathlon, I had no idea how I was going to make it to the end. I was in a pretty dark place early on in the race, but I somehow soldiered on. I can’t wait to improve in triathlon. I have so much to learn, and now I’ve found another community of awesome people!
9. What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” I think that came from Erin Hanson.
10. What advice would you give your younger self and young girls today?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Self-doubt puts up many barriers and closes many doors, especially for women. The things I have accomplished over the last five years, would have been beyond my wildest dreams when I was younger. You are stronger than you think. Always.