When I first met Jan, I was instantly attracted to her potent positive energy and her always present smile. We were at the Coastal Challenge, a 6 day stage race in Costa Rica, which if you have followed us for awhile, I am sure you already know a bit about. After the first day of the race I remember sitting with her at a dinner table. Her and another guy, Mark, were talking about these ridiculous sounding “Adventure races”. I had done an 8 hour adventure race… but these crazy people were talking about 6 day plus adventure races. Naturally, being crazy myself, I tuned in attentively to the conversation andwas immediately facinated by these athletes! (And adding an expedition race to my bucket list naturally!) Over the course of 6 days I spent a lot time talking to Jan and on the night for 4th day, she told me all about her wordly, year long trip across the planet, finishing in Costa Rica with this crazy race! She told me how excited she was to return home to Australlia to her fur family. After the race ended, I followed Jan’s adventures on facebook. Completely inspired by this amazing woman, I asked her to share her life with everyone.
Here is Jan’s story:
Who am I??
Someone who is still very much on a journey….
In fact, since turning 50 and becoming Vegan I feel very much like I’m at the start of a new one….an even more exciting one! I’m 52 now…vegan for 2.5years. Spent last year global roaming solo, returned and am in the last few months of finalizing a 33 year career in the cops. I’ve always had a strong sense of following my instincts, always fully immersed when passionate about something… Training police horses, Motorbikes, Adventure Racing…. Now it’s Veganism, Animal Rights and Ultra Running….
Long time divorced, happily single with no kids but lots of fur family. Independence grows as does confidence and excitement about all the amazing places, people, events and experiences there are still to see, meet, absorb and explore! I was always an outdoor person, crazy for country life and animals…liked to go exploring on my own by foot, roller skates, bike or pony later….See a track and follow it…
I was never in to team or traditional sports. Naturally slim and active but not sporty as such. Mad for weight training for a few years with thoughts of competing in Bodybuilding till the time drew close and the whole looming posing on stage in a bikini thing got too real…And I gave it up. Ran off and on….never more than 10km which I thought was so far…
Did aerobic classes… I even had leg warmers in the early 80’s
Did some other things here and there, multi day bush walks a few times, a multi day charity cycle along with about 5000 others!!!
Didn’t start racing in any shape or form until I was 45….
I only started international travel after I turned 40 with three trips planting seeds…(not literally …) one trekking to Everest Base Camp and a couple to Africa, one to climb Kilimanjaro. It was that last trip. After a successful summit that got me thinking….I was looking for more challenges, that also had a component of socialising and “community” that I could do closer to home.
Though I’d never been on a MTB (in fact hadn’t cycled for 18 years!) or Kayaked or Navigated, I chose Adventure Racing… Absolutely loved it and did quite well for the three years I raced. Highlight was a mid field finish in XPD Cairns 2010 after 9 days of non stop racing.
Got into some mountaineering around 2009-2011. The man I was dating was a very experienced Alpinist so I was fortunate to be able to step away from trekking a and climbing companies and just the two of us would go. I successfully summited Aconcagua (6962m – one of the 7 Summits) in the Andes and a smaller but more technical peak called Ausangate (6384m) in Peru. I was glad to have had practice of long periods of discomfort for both…During a 17hr summit day the final descent on a 200m headwall into an electrical storm was memorable….
The Coastal Challenge was my first Ultra. And my first athletic event since herniating a disc in my lumbar spine in Sept 2011. A long slow recovery fraught with frustration and self doubt. I finished as 10th female (although waaay behind you and the other girls up the pointy end Hailey!!) and coped better than I even dared hope for. My goals had been to complete and NOT be injured!!
I also raised $2300 for Animal Liberation Victoria, the Animal Rights organisation I am an active member of. I now always compete in an Animal Liberation Racing tech T. My aim is to promote both the health benefits of Living Vegan as well as bringing Animal Rights into people’s minds.
A 75km Skyrun in the Australian Alpine area, a 60km and 100km Coastal runs back in Australia followed with a mountain 100km coming up at the end of November. My plans for 2015 is to run a miler in the next few months and then Fat Dog, Canada mid year as my fundraiser. It’s 120 miles non stop in mountains so a big challenge for me!!
I will also look to do something else smaller in the USA a few weeks before and explore the beautiful National Parks and catch up with friends! I’m in love with Joshua Tree NP after camping and running solo there last year…. I hope to run in more NP’s!
The big gnarly audacious goal is to do a new race called Transpyrenae on the G10 haute route of the Pyrenees on the France/Spain border. It’s 898km in length with more than 55,000m ascent! I’ll turn 54 when I’m out there…. I hope!This goal seems almost impossible to me right now but it is the focus of everything that I’m doing from here on! That in itself is exciting….
I’m very much a person who embraces “the journey”….This 21 months of preparation for Transpyrenaes will be amazing….every day, every stepping stone is meaningful to the end goal. My focus is very much what I do today…..but always mindful of the person I want to be, the life I want to live and the kind of world I want to live in! My intention is to keep “embracing the journey” until the day I die….
I really want to be a positive force in the lives of people and animals. I see us as inextricably linked. We ALL share this world together…we don’t matter more just because we think we do. Humanity is the one species on earth who do NOT actually contribute to the delicate balance of this planet…While Eco systems are disrupted by our presence they are not by our absence.There lies the sobering and humbling proof of the part we play on a grander scale!
I have every intention that my life will be filled with many more adventure and joy filled experiences. I feel I’ve only just been warming up to what lays ahead…. I’m very open to what comes next. It’s like an extension of me as a kid heading off on a ride with a rough idea of where I’m going and then seeing an interesting trail and taking that instead.
The best route isn’t always the most direct. I like to be open to great opportunity…
I hope I always will be this way…cos that’s where adventures and growth are found. I can’t see me changing that part of me…