South African Ann Ashworth had developed into a very good runner and had a passion for long-distance running, especially her country’s crown jewel, the 90-kilometer Comrades Marathon. Over time, she recognized that she just might have the talent and drive necessary to be among the top competitors at the race. This episode follows Ann’s journey of discovering competitive running in her youth all the way through to seizing her moment at Comrades in 2018. Ann’s story is one of hard work and dedication, overcoming and never, ever letting up. Through heartbreaking disappointment, painful injuries, and financial sacrifice, Ann remained firm in her focus to vie for the top spot at this race that she holds such deep passion for: “It’s not just a running race for me,” Ann says. “It’s a deeply spiritual experience, and it’s something that makes me feel insanely patriotic. It’s just an incredibly special race for me.” This episode is part of our first season, and the theme of this season is experiences in and around the Comrades Marathon, which is a 90-kilometer, or roughly 56-mile, road race that takes place each year in South Africa. It is the oldest and largest ultra-distance foot race in the world.
Every episode we highlight one entry from our long list of recommended resources, which are focused on women and running. And for this episode, the highlighted resource is Lessons In Badassery, a personal blog project written by sports and adventure journalist Katie Spyrka; she features interview-style posts of, well, badass female adventurers and athletes. In addition to sharing inspirational stories of exceptional athletes, this blog features a lot of really nice photography. There are so many incredible athletes here, from a wide range of sports; in the realm of ultra running, I really enjoyed the May 6 post featuring Maggie Guterl, and the April 15 post featuring Sarah Sawyer.
You can find Lessons in Badassery at lessonsinbadassery.com.
Ann Ashworth is on Instagram @ann.ashworth
You can learn more about Ann and Team Massmart on the website https://teamashworth.co.za/