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Written By Clare Wilkes - March 20 2020
We welcomed Rachel Cliff to the VRC family 18 months ago, and as well as celebrating all her incredible achievements as a runner, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her personally too. Rachel often trains as part of a group, but logs plenty of solo miles too; read on for some ideas on solo workouts, and how she went from running with her mom, to making the Canadian team.
Tell us a bit about how you first got into running.
I started running in elementary school, just for fun. My mom had got into recreational running and was training for half marathons. At that point I wasn’t competing seriously but would jump into the end of her runs, and I did a few 5k and 10k fun runs. In high school I played soccer and rode horseback, but by Grade 11 had made the full switch to track and field, and cross country. I joined a local track club and bought my first pair of spikes. I’ve got more competitive over the years and haven’t looked back.
What's your favourite route to run in Vancouver?
I grew up close to Pacific Spirit Park and the trails there are my absolute favourite – it’s where I fell in love with the sport, and being in those trails reminds me of being a kid. That said, it’s tough to beat the iconic Stanley Park seawall on a sunny day!
Do you have a favourite workout that anyone can do on their own?
I love hill repeats when I’m on my own, and my coach agrees they’re better done solo. It’s really easy to gauge your own effort and get a good workout in, and when you’re with someone you’re likely to stress and change your form without meaning to. Plus, you get a nice strengthening workout in, great for someone who can’t go to the gym!Give this workout a try:
Your proudest achievement as a runner so far?
Qualifying for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in the 10,000m was very special for me. I’d just missed the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was a difficult thing to go through, but I overcame those demons, put my head down and qualified for my first senior track and field team.Canadian Women's running is on a roll right now - why do you think that might be?
I think there are now more opportunities to stay in the sport longer. This is largely thanks to community support and sponsors, as well as understanding how to train smarter and harder, while making sure we protect our longevity as runners.