Fascinating Adventure & Expedition Talks

This past week, on March 30th, we took the stage at Canada’s FEAT Awards to share and present how Run Like A Girl is changing peoples lives.


featnoun, a noteworthy or extraordinary act or achievement, usually displaying boldness or skill.

FEAT, Fascinating Expedition & Adventure Talks, is an annual evening of time-limited presentations. Each presenter speaks for seven minutes; no more, no less. With images. Although the speakers are invited because of their achievements, presentation themes focus on an aspect of their expedition – not the entire extended expedition. With stories of adventures on land, water and in the air, you will be enthralled.

Originally created by adventure racer and writer Lisa de Speville, FEAT brought South Africa’s adventurers together. “Most people would love to embark on an expedition; but most are tied to ‘real life’ so they settle for feeding this desire with organised sporting events,” she says.

“It takes a different, special kind of courage and drive to abandon socially accepted norms (day job, family, home) to set off – often solo – on self-motivated and self-organised expeditions. Whether the adventure involves oceans, countries, continents, rivers or mountains, these achievements are extraordinary. I’ve yet to meet a person who is not captivated by tales of adventure.”

Through these Talks, FEAT aims to publicise the achievements of adventurers and be inspired by their feats.

FEAT Canada is organised by Sean Verret and supported by numerous adventurous speakers, who make these evenings possible.

In turn, FEAT Canada supports a new local charity each year with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales.

If someone says you run like a girl, say: THANK YOU!

The Run Like a Girl organization started 4 years ago with the intention to create a community… an inspirational outlet that aims to redefine what ‘Run Like A Girl’ really means.

The founders of Run Like A Girl are ultra runners Courtney, Dayna and Hailey. Their passion for pushing themselves to extremes (which a lot of people find hard to understand) is what they strive for. They are and forever will be fascinated by their ability to see no limits.

Together, they have dedicated their lives to motivating others to live limitless. They inspire others from all around the world to follow their dreams and to dream big! Run Like A Girl was created with the intention of showing that everyday people can do extraordinary things. So…do it!


Courtney and Dayna took the stage to share Run Like A Girl… in 7 minutes… if you missed the show here is our story!

This is how the show began, When, Kevin the FEAT MC, explained that the FEAT Awards consisted of people who have done the undoable, people have gone against the “norm” to achieve their dreams, people who no matter what followed that dream and have put their stake in the sand, I couldn’t help but get emotional. Because that’s what we have done. It’s a crazy dream, it’s a take a big risk dream, but we never looked back. We chose the DREAM. We put so much of ourselves into what we do and to have an audience recognize and appreciate the dream we have achieved felt like nothing else! I am so proud of us for getting up there and for being nominated to be up there!

Well it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy… writing a 7 minute speech that is… we are not professional public speakers but we sure do have a lot to say. Up until we were standing back stage just moments away from going on stage to speak in front of 650 people, calm, cool and collected we were. I looked over at Dayna, she put her hands out they were shaking… My legs began to shake…


The MC, Kevin Vallely, starts reading our introduction: “Just over three years ago Hailey, Courtney and Dayna created and guided their first ever Chakra Adventure and Wellness Retreat. The lodge is located in a very special place nestled between 2 national parks in the mountains of Costa Rica, Chirripo National Park and La Amistad International Park. Over the last three years and moving into this year, 2017, 130 people have let down a wall of fear and what ifs for a split second, signed themselves up for something they do not know the outcome of… Joining our retreat means that for 7 days you are choosing to complete challenges such as hiking to waterfalls & mountaintop summits, climbing trees, rappelling waterfalls and practicing yoga to the magical sound of tropical birds on a “challenge by choice” motto basis. Our retreat lodge offers no electricity, no cell phone service and jungle views that will leave you breathless.”


“We want to tell you a story about 3 three girls who live their lives engulfed in the mountains running ultra marathons, who have no idea what limits are and cannot find enough wild adventures to satisfy their curiosity.

We are the 3 girls who think nothing is impossible.

We see no limits in our own lives and therefore we see no limits in anyone else’s lives.

We felt in our hearts that to really live our lives to the fullest we needed to do everything we could to help other people also live their lives without fear and without these illusion of limits that all people seem to create.

One sunny day as we stood at the top of a mountain, the birds were chirping, rainbows arched in the sky above our heads and we thought to ourselves… how can we REALLY change people’s lives?

Sure we can share motivational quotes and images, host running groups or races and get people outside but how do we really CHANGE a person…

What changes a person? There are so many things that can change a person, but if we think about how each of us has changed and grown it always goes back to the outdoor adventures, the races, and the mountains.

So we need to be the creators, we thought… we need to make opportunity happen for other people.

That is when we became creators of opportunity!


What we did was create a scenario… at a far away place that doesn’t exist on a map, where people would have to take risks… where people would have to move outside of their comfort zones in so many different ways and at so many different times that whether someone wanted to or not… they were going to encounter personal change.

Small changes happen in peoples lives all of the time, on a day to day basis… a new route to work, there’s a new barista at the coffee shop, someone has cleaned your work desk and nothing is where its supposed to be… change. So usually when I ask to see a show of hands how many of you out there think that you can “Handle change?!”

Most of you put your hands up…

Not to upset all of you… but instead to motivate you and challenge you… those little things are not exactly the ideas of change we are talking about.

What we are doing at our retreats is offering, with slightly forceful encouragement, activities that literally push people beyond what they considered limits or boundaries. Of course we have a challenge by choice motto, but they are faced with the opportunity to attempt things that they never thought that they could do…


We at Run Like A Girl, see the positive effects from personal change in many ways.

The biggest changes we see are at our retreats.

For some people, its while they are trying to climb the tree, moving beyond their fear of heights and they make it to the top when they assumed they wouldn’t. For others it’s reaching the summit of Mount Ena. We also see change as the distraction of a cell phone and social media are removed. It’s seeing how simple life can be when you strip down to only using and acquiring what a person really needs. ”



“We have met a lot of you out there who really, really, like to resist change!  We have seen the fight… its real, but it’s also something that we want you to be aware of.  You do not need to accept change, or even notice it right away… sometimes we have participants that send us an email weeks or months after they’ve returned home from a retreat, thanking us for changing their lives.  They tell us about something new they’ve taken on, or a new adventure they have started.

We have seen ladies who thought that hiking to the top of Mount Ena was impossible, 32km, 3200m summit, but they did it, and now are signing up for 100km races.

We had an email from one participant who felt so revitalized in life once she got home, that she worked up the courage to leave the job she hated and was hired at the company she always wanted to work for!

We also had a woman who spent her entire life raising children… going to school, and had never in her life traveled outside of the USA.  We officially have the recognition of encouraging someone to get a passport for the first time in their life.


We want to acknowledge one participant in particular.  Her name is Randi.

When we first met Randi, she had never traveled to a “far away” destination, she was quiet, shy, and didn’t like being in groups of people.  She told us that when registering for our retreat, the activity that stood out to her the most was to reach the summit of Ena.

The first day we met Randi, she lingered at the back of the group.  She felt defeated, even during the walk up to our lodge she stopping multiple times, doubting her ability.

As the week progressed we saw Randi conquer every activity, growing stronger, opening up and engaging with her new friends.  We knew she could summit Ena, and she did.  Thirteen hours later, walking her last part of the hike, coming into the lodge in the dark, up the same driveway where she had doubted her abilities in the beginning of the week, came the sounds of cheering from her new friends.  Randi came into camp so strong.

We could see the changes in Randi all week, but it wasn’t until she made it back to her friends that she realized change had occurred.  Randi signed up for our retreat because deep down inside she wanted to see herself in a new way.  She wanted to see a change.  A big change is what she found!

Since then, Randi has come back to another retreat as a leader and full of confidence.  She registered to take on the Inca trail in Peru with us this September, and signed up for the Run Like A Girl ‘Be Fearless Marathon’ in Squamish this June.


As guides and coaches, it is our job to read people and read the situations.  We see how each of the participants react in certain situations.  We are there to care, help, listen, teach, encourage, and change perspectives.  There are many trials that we face when hosting a group of 12-14 people, but what always comes out on top is our dedication to making each person feel they are safe, capable and confident.  From our own experiences, we put ourselves into others shoes and walk with them through the challenge.

There is a fine line between people who think about doing what they dream and people who act, take the chances, take the risks, and accomplish their dreams.

Our goal from this presentation is introduce you to Run Like A Girl and convince you that no dream is too big.  If you can dream it, you can do it.  The hardest part is letting go, letting go of any thoughts you have created that are preventing you from acting on your dream.  Surround yourself with positive people and do what your heart is telling you to do.

Please visit us at runlikeagirl.ca, where together we help you achieve your dreams.”

At the end of our presentation Kevin came over and asked us a question, “since you are speaking about helping others get over their fears… what is your fear?” Courtney: “We just did it!!!” the crowed cheered loudly! and Dayna: “My fear of the ocean, when your taking a group out for a paddle I had to show no fear!!!”

We can’t thank FEAT Canada enough for hosting this show and for all of their time and hard work! It really is amazing! We also can’t thank our friends, families and supporters who came to watch and those of you who have always supported us no matter how crazy our ideas may seem!


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