A B.C. woman is looking to become the first Canadian woman to ever compete in a punishing triathlon that is five times longer than the Ironman endurance race.
Shanda Hill, from Vernon, B.C., is training to take part in the Quintuple Anvil in Virginia, which includes a 19-kilometre swim, a 900-kilometre bike ride and a 210-kilometre run. In all, the five-day event covers a distance roughly the length of Alberta.
By comparison, the Ironman triathlon consists of a four-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre bike ride and a 42-kilometre marathon.
Hill, 34, started running six years ago and has completed more than a dozen ultra-distance races, saying she thrives on the thrill of the challenge.
"It may take years off my life, I don't know," she told CTV Vancouver. "But I can tell you that the reward is fantastic."
Her forays into triathlons are more recent, having started competing in them only two years ago. Hill says she became a fitness enthusiast while rehabilitating from a traumatic injury she sustained in 2003, when she was struck by a truck while riding her bike up a hill. She sustained injuries to her back, her neck and her brain, "and that just touches the tip of the iceberg," she told CTV News Channel on Friday.
Hill hailed the "healing power of the brain" for her remarkable recovery from the injury.
Despite the difficulty of the triathlon ahead, Hill says she’s only doubted herself once. When she was competing in the Double Anvil in Oregon, which is twice the length of an Ironman triathlon, she was swimming in the middle of the night when she found herself questioning her motivation.
"It was super dark and that was the only time where I thought, why do I do this again?" she said.
However, while Hill is adamant she has no concerns this time around, her family admits they worry.
"I'm concerned about the crashing, if she crashes," said her mother Arleigh.
But Hill is focusing on the positive and is looking to see how far she can push her endurance.
"When you go out there and set your mind to something and you go out there and do it… that's a very satisfying feeling," she said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Kent Molgat