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Ambassador Spotlight: Kevin Lionais

Ambassador Reports

Tell us a little about yourself

I'm an east coaster transplanted on the west coast. About ten years ago I left Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to check out Vancouver and I've never really turned back. My first love has been the ocean, I grew up sailing dinghies and keel-boats on the east coast. Not too long after arriving in Vancouver I made friends with great people and we bought a sailboat and cruised up and down the coast of BC. We were island hoping and exploring vast inlets every summer. Along the way I started to explore the mountains and running really started to take over from the sailors life. Not to mention a pair of running shoes is a lot cheaper than a sailboat!

Currently I'm working at Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver. This has been a pretty awesome job to support my running. I get my mornings out in the mountains - the trails are usually all to myself since everyone else is at their day job. I love it!

I've been working with my running coach, Jim Finlayson for over a year now. I had a pretty amazing season last year due to his coaching. I came 9th in the Canadian Mountain Running Championships in Canmore Alberta, finished third at Sun Mountain 50k, 1st place at Round the Cape 25k and peaked at 4hr17min this past December at Deception Pass 50k, placing 7th. I pretty excited about these accomplishments but I'm looking to go even further and faster this year. I plan to race a couple 50k races but also gear up for FatDog 70miler and The North Face Challenge 50mile in San Francisco. 

So if I'm not on the trails or on the water, sailing, you can find me at the climbing gym or maybe this summer at the crags in Squamish. 

One more thing, and not many people know this but I love love reading comic books with a great cup of coffee at home.

 

Has running always been a part of your life?

Running is relatively new to me. I never really considered myself much of an athlete growing up, however, I was always active - whether that was sailing, hiking, cycling or a pick-up game of soccer. Around 2012 I had a meltdown. Work was causing all sorts of different stressors that I didn't know how to cope with. I had chronic back pain and migraines. Debilitating, really. I was often staying home from work. I was irritable and snappy and just not a fun person to be around back then. I felt lost in the world, I had low self confidence and lashed out at the people around me. I more less let everything go. I quite my job, left my girlfriend and moved up to Cortes Island to get away from everything. I hit the reset button hard.

When I got back to Vancouver, a good friend of mine, Keighty Gallagher, convinced me to come out running with her new crew. I feel in love with running. We'd go for chill runs around the hood but every other week Keighty would school us at the track. I was slowly getting more confident and as a group we decided to enter a 5km race. I couldn't believe how well I raced - it felt awesome. That afternoon when I got home, I signed up for a half-marathon. From there I went on to running some local mid-distance trail races and then in the winter of 2015 I ran Deception Pass 50km and I was hooked on ultra running. There was no turning back. 

 

What's in store for Hella Running in 2018?

So, first off, if you don't know about Hella Running, we're a multi-day running retreat based out of the Chilcotin Mountains. We take runners on hut-to-hut running adventure, after being flown via float-plane into remote a alpine lake. A typical weekend is about 55km over three days with over 8000 feet (2500meters) of elevation gained. The brilliant thing is that all you need to bring is clothes and personal items you might need over the three or four days. Each day our host serves up a hot breakfast, packs us a lunch for our adventure on the trails. Once we get to the next hut we get another hot meal to sit down to. While still backcountry, these are some amazing cooks serving up some delicious and fresh meals for the group.

This season we have two events, July 6-9th and Sept. 7-10th.

The first retreat will be run-in only (no float plane) but we'll cover some amazing terrain, skirting mountain ridges, passes and meadows. 

The later retreat will fly-in via Whistler via float plane and we'll have four days taking us to multiple mountain huts. Registration opens up Feb 1st - so keep your eyes peeled, they're will be more exciting some coming out along the way too!

 

What are your top three Hammer products? And why?

You know what, the recovery products are actually some of my favourite Hammer products to use. I love using Recoverite after big workout at the gym or a long day in the mountains. It helps my muscles feel good and I find it speeds recovery. I almost always us Recoverite with Tissue Rejuvenator. TR reduces swollen joints, discomfort and for me at least, it can clam my stomach. These two are crucial when I'm training hard or coming back from a big effort.

Just about everyday I start out with a Fizz in my water. This loosens up my joints and rehydrates my body when I first get going in the morning. From there I'm ready to take on anything...a coffee doesn't hurt either!

 

Where can we follow you online?

I have a fun Instagram account where you can follow my adventures and training here: @kevlions

You can also follow Hella Running @hellarunning. We've some amazing pics from last September's retreat by Chris Thorn.



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