Journey To Ultra



Everyone has a story. We dive deep into the journeys people take to becoming ultra marathon runners. Get ready to hear about overcoming loss, addiction, tragedy and everything else that life throws our way. We promise you'll be inspired!


  • Dennis Begley: How this couch potato became a Fat Dog, Crohn's disease, and a running joke.

    03/05/2020 Duración: 02h24min

    Dennis Begley is an avid backcountry skier and ultra runner from North Vancouver, BC. As a kid, Dennis loved to play sports and after years of post-secondary education and travelling the world he ran his first 10k. After finishing business school Dennis found himself in a job he hated and decided he needed a change. He  applied for a job at Mountain Equipment co-op and his life changed forever. In this episode, we talk about growing up with 2 older siblings, being diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 12, travelling Europe and Australia, school, working at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), and how he went from couch to 50k...and beyond!!! Follow Dennis on Instagram @Begsler Subscribe to Dennis's YOUTUBE channel: Begsler Follow this podcast on Instagram @Journeytoultrapodcast Follow your host @nicola.gildersleeve email the host:

  • Arden Young: Big goals, big heart, clean teeth!

    01/04/2020 Duración: 01h23min

    Arden Young is an ultra runners and Dentist who lives and works in Calgary, BC. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Arden grew up a self proclaimed math-lete. With 3 sisters to keep her in check, she also ran cross country. In University she joined the triathlon club and did her first marathon in 2007. It wasn't long before she was introduced to trail running and with some training broke 3 hours in the marathon. Since then she has won the Kal Park 50k, Laugavegur (Iceland) 55k, Lost Soul 100k, Nimble Bear, Broken Goat 50k, Lewiston ultra 50k, and Sinister 7 100 miler (and more!).  In this episode we talk about what it was like growing up with 3 sisters, getting into running and eventually competing at an elite level as runner, dealing with injuries, her biggest adversities and life lessons, and how to take care of your teeth as an ultra runner.  Follow on Instagram  Follow Arden @Ardenly Follow the podcast @journeytoultrapodcast Follow Nicola @nicola.gildersleeve Contact us:

  • Mike Smith: How to survive running 150 Hundred Milers!!!

    21/03/2020 Duración: 01h25min

    Mike Smith is a 62 year old ultra runner who has completed 150 Hundred Milers, countless more ultra's and somewhere around 230 marathons! He's completed a marathon in all 50 states and one on every continent. And he shows no signs of slowing down either (well maybe a few less races this year due to COVID-19)! This year he finished the HURT 100 with only 5 seconds to spare!  Listen to find out how he became an ultra marathon runner and how he keeps up a crazy race schedule without injuries!  Mike isn't on social media so you will have to find him at one of the many races he does throughout the year :) Instagram: @Journeytoultrapodcast @nicola.gildersleeve Have feedback for the show or have a guest you'd like to hear on the show email Want to support the show, please leave an iTunes rating and review :)    

  • James Varner: RD of Rainshadow Running, Hardrock Vet, and a life of adventures!

    15/12/2019 Duración: 01h47min

    James Varner grew up near the Appalachian mountains on the East Coast. His love of mountains eventually brought him out to the West Coast where he started Rainshadow Running - A series of over 12 ultra running races in Washington and Oregon. His races are hard, scenic, fun, and sell out very fast! James has been running ultras for over 18 years and is a 5 time (maybe more) Hardrock finisher. In this podcast he talks about life growing up on the east coast, hiking the Appalachian trail, what made him move to the West Coast and the exciting way he got there. How he got into ultra marathon running and starting Rainshadow Running. We also talk about what's up next for James and what's exciting him these days!  Follow James: Instagram: @jamesvarner77 and @rainshadowrunning Follow the podcast: @journeytoultrapodcast @nicola.gildersleeve If you have any feedback for the show or have a guest you'd like to have on the show, email me at

  • Kerry Ward: Living life at full tilt

    26/11/2019 Duración: 01h38min

    Kerry Ward is an ultra adventurer who lives his life at "Full Tilt". He's been running ultras since 2008 and has completed distances upwards of 240 miles. Kerry has a famous YouTube channel called FullTiltWard where he films and documents many of his travel adventures and running races. Go on a journey with him through the Tahoe 200, Moab 240, Everest base camp, Burning Man ultra, Climbing Cotopaxi and much more.    In this episode we dive into his Kerry's childhood growing up in Michigan, living in LA, the dance and acro scene, clubbing with Hugh Hefner and dancing with Bette Midler, how to make the most of your airport layovers, living life to the fullest, why he films/documents his adventures and of course --> ultra running. 

  • Shanda Hill: The first Canadian to finish the Double Deca Triathlon

    12/11/2019 Duración: 01h07min

    Shanda Hill is an endurance athlete who lives in Vernon, British Columbia. She recently became the first Canadian and 3rd female ever to complete a Double Deca Triathlon. This involves a 76k pool swim, 3600k bike, 844k run. In this episode I interview Shanda about her training and lead up to the race and how each stage of the race played out. We talk about some of the adversity she faced and what kept her going mentally.  To learn more about Shanda, including her traumatic brain injury and journey to becoming an ultra endurance athlete check out Episode #2 of the Journey to Ultra Podcast Follow Shanda on IG: @shandahillultraathlete Shanda's FB page: Shanda Hill Ultra Athlete Follow the podcast on IG: @Journeytoultrapodcast Follow me on IG: @nicola.gildersleeve  

  • Claire Johnstone: It's the shit we Under Go that helps us grow

    21/10/2019 Duración: 02h05min

    Claire is an actor and voice over artist who also happens to enjoy spending all of her spare time outside. Her favourite hobby is to run silly distances in incredibly scenic locations with her two dogs and a handful of crazy friends. When she’s not running, you can find her on a mountain bike, rock, skis, kiteboard, paraglider or stuffing her face with plants. She is also the host of the UnderGo Podcast. In this episode we dive into being raised by a single mom and growing up with 3 sisters in Northern Quebec, how she got into acting and sports at a young age, how she initially used running to combat insomnia and anxiety, overcoming an eating disorder, getting into triathlon and Ironmans, ultras, her first 100 miler, all the crazy activities she enjoys (paragliding, kite boarding, mountain biking, skiing), and love!  Follow Claire on IG @runlikethewild or @undergopodcast Follow Claire's Podcast Under Go Follow the show on IG: @Journeytoultrapodcast Follow me on IG: @nicola.gildersleeve Have any feedback for t

  • Jennifer Pharr Davis: The Pursuit of Endurance

    01/10/2019 Duración: 01h15min

    Jennifer Pharr Davis is a hiker, author, speaker and National Geographic Adventurer of the year who has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance hiking on 6 different continents.  In 2011, Jennifer covered the 2185 mile Appalachian Trail (AT) in 46 days, 11 hrs and 20 minutes and she became the first women to set an overall record. She received the ultra runner performance of the year award for this feat.  In this interview we talk about growing up on the AT, playing sports, and transitioning into the world of endurance sports (running, ironman, ultras). At the age of 21, Jen had a feeling that she just couldn't shake and knew she had to go hike the AT...solo...without any backpacking experience. Little did she know this experience would change her life and set her life on an entirely new trajectory. We discuss hiking while pregnant and with small children, working through adversity on the trail, how she got her trail name and so much more!    Check out Jen's website Check out the Blue Ridge Hiking Company 

  • Nicola Gildersleeve (your host!): My interview on the Trail Running Women Podcast

    10/09/2019 Duración: 01h31min

    This is an interview I did with Hilary Spires, the host of The Trail Running Women Podcast. She recorded me about my journey in life and in running. In this episode we talk about my early days growing up as an athlete, how my parents influenced/help to develop my skills, playing varsity basketball at Cap U, walking onto the UBC track and field/Cross country team, a subclinical eating disorder I developed while in college, becoming an ultra runner, my 13 years of running and racing and life beyond running.  Follow Hilary @Hilsport55 Follow me @nicola.gildersleeve Follow the podcast @journeytoultrapodcast Check out my blog!  If you have a guest you'd like to see on the show email me at  

  • Hailey Van Dyk: life transitions, big dreams, what defines you

    01/09/2019 Duración: 01h57s

    Hailey Van Dyk is an ultra runner, wife, dog mom and ER Nurse living in beautiful Squamish, BC. In this episode we talk about her early days growing up with 2 brothers, becoming a nurse, the organic creation of the popular Facebook page "Run like a girl" (RLAG), the behind the scenes/realities of someone who travels the world, the ups and downs in deciding to part ways with RLAG, what types of adventures are firing her up right now, dreaming big and making those dreams a reality.  Follow Hailey on IG: @haileyvandyk Check out her blog:   Follow the Journey to Ultra podcast on IG: @journeytoultrapodcast Follow me on IG: @nicola.gildersleeve Have a guest you would like to see on the show or feedback about the episodes, email me at  

  • Tara Holland: A passionate teacher, runner and cancer survivor

    24/07/2019 Duración: 01h19min

    Tara Holland grew up in the Eastern townships in Quebec. After completing 2 University degrees, she got her masters and later PHD in Environmental Geography. Her work took her out West where she got a job at Quest University in Squamish and began trail running. On her first training run in her new town, Tara found herself in the middle of the Squamish 50. Tara's interest was piqued and she decided to sign up for her first ultra (Squamish 50k) the following year. Training was going great until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of that year. Running has helped Tara overcome many of life's challenges. It has been her constant and although she has had to take forced breaks from running, it's something she knows she will always go back to. Tune in to find out about Tara's childhood growing up in Quebec, how she got into running, how running has helped Tara get through life's biggest challenges, and what is up next for Tara! Don't forget to subscribe! Follow Tara on IG @tara.trails Tara's Blog: In the lon

  • Kat Drew: Consistency and the Western States 100

    17/07/2019 Duración: 01h12min

    Kathryn Drew was born and raised in Sidney, BC. She grew up on 7 acres and spent a lot of time playing in the forest with her brother. Although she ran cross country in elementary school, she spent most of her high school years as a dancer. After moving to Vancouver she picked up running again and joined a road 1/2 marathon clinic.  While working at a restaurant she met her friend Michelle who took her on her first trail run and together (with a couple others) they co-founded the Fraser Street Run Club. A bunch of them decided to sign up for the Squamish 50k and the rest is history! Kat's success didn't happen overnight. It has taken her years of consistent focused training (now with the help of a coach) to get where she is today. In 2019 she placed first at the very competitive Chuckanut 50k and Canyons 100k where she got a golden ticket into the Western States 100. In her debut Western States she placed 8th and came in under 19 hrs. I am really excited to share her journey to ultra with you.  Don't forget t

  • Nick Elson: The Silent Mountain Crusher

    07/07/2019 Duración: 01h27min

    Nick Elson is an all around mountain athlete and he's inspired by adventures that blur the lines between different mountain disciplines that require a combination of physical fitness, technical skill, and mental toughness. He holds many FKT's including the Grand Teton Traverse and the Stein Valley traverse. On ski's he holds the FKT's on the Spearhead, Mcbride and Tantalus Traverse, Garibaldi Neve, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier ascents. He has the course record for the Knee Knacker 50k, has twice won the Squamish 50 miler, and is a 2 times Canadian mountain running and skimo champion.  In this podcast we get into his early childhood experiences growing up in Campbell River (British Columbia), getting into climbing, running on the varsity track and xc team at UBC, getting into ultras, FKT's, the accident with Adam Campbell, competing against Kilian Jornet and so much more.  If you enjoy the episode, subscribe to the podcast and consider leaving a rating and review on iTunes.  Follow Nick on IG @nicksethelson Nick'

  • Joanna Ford: The Vert Queen

    27/06/2019 Duración: 01h23min

    On this episode of the Journey to Ultra Podcast, I interview the incredible Joanna Ford. Joanna is an ultra runner based in Calgary, BC and does most of her training in the Rocky Mountains. Joanna may have gotten her start in road running but she loves to climb mountains. In fact she has a goal of climbing (on foot) 25 new summits and completing 1 million vertical feet. In this episode we talk about what it was like growing up with 5 other siblings, her mothers influence on getting her into the mountains, being competitive, setting big goals, how she got into ultra running, her near epic miss at this years Bighorn 100, and everything in between! Tune in to hear her story. I promise you'll be inspired.  Follow Joanna on Instagram: @jford.welsh Check out Joanna's Blog: Joanna Runs Follow us: @journeytoultrapodcast If you have any feedback for the show or have a guest you'd like to see on the show email Don't forget to subscribe!!!

  • Hilary Spires: The Scientific Athlete

    16/06/2019 Duración: 01h38min

    In this episode I chat with ultra marathon runner and Trail Running Women Podcast host, Hilary Spires. In this episode we talk about her life growing up as a competitive hockey player, the struggles she faced when her career in hockey ended, becoming an MMA fighter, her love of the science behind peak performance, getting into triathlons and trail running, her experience running through her pregnancy and the recent public backlash she faced as she gets ready to tackle the Grouse Grind challenge at 7.5 months pregnant. Hilary truly does put the "Spire" in "Inspire" and I am excited to share her journey with you.  Hilary is an endurance coach and personal trainer - check out her services at Rugged Conditioning Hilary is the host of the Trail Running Women Podcast Follow Hilary on Instagram: @hilsport55 Follow this podcast on Instagram: @journeytoultrapodcast If you would like to leave any feedback or have a guest suggestion email Enjoy the podcast? Want to show your support? Please

  • Daniel Goddard: The bet that changed his life!

    08/06/2019 Duración: 01h07min

    Daniel Goddard wasn't always a crazy ultra runner.  In fact, he wasn't really active at all. After spending his 20's overworked, poorly nourished, and abusing drugs and alcohol, Daniel made a bet with himself that would change his life forever. Tune in to find out how he went from a hardcore partier and fast food eater to a vegan ultra runner and 100 mile finisher!  When Daniel isn't trail running or listening to rad music, you can find him sharing his expertise on all things running at the local North Vancouver specialty store Distance Runwear.  Don't forget to subscribe! If you want to support the show, the best way you can do this is by leaving a rating and review on your podcast listening platform (iTunes, Spotify etc).  Follow us on IG @journeytoultrapodcast If you have any feedback or guest ideas email

  • Nicki Rehn: The Canadian Australian

    31/05/2019 Duración: 46min

    Nicki Rehn may have been born and raised in Australia but she very much feels like a Canadian. She loves her big mountain adventures and the hairier the better. Her early introduction to the sport of orienteering has given her the tools to feel unintimidated in the mountains...solo. A map and compass is all this girl needs. Nicki is a 5 time Barkley starter, 3 time Tour de Geants finisher (4 starts), and just recently completed the Dragon's Back 315km 5 day stage race in Wales. It's impossible to spend time with Nicki and not be inspired by her amazing attitude and zest for life.  In this episode we talk about her early childhood memories growing up in Australia, what brought her to Canada, the epic races and adventures she's done, her relationship with pain and suffering and so much more.  Follow Nicki: Instagram @Nicki.Rehn Facebook: Nicki Rehn Blog: If you are enjoying the Journey to Ultra podcast, please head over to iTunes and consider giving it a rating and review Don't forget to

  • Sarah Seads: Power of the Mind

    15/05/2019 Duración: 01h28min

    Sarah Seads is a Kinesiologist, Endurance Coach, ultra runner, Yoga instructor and hypnotist living in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Sarah believes we are capable of unimaginable human potential when we learn to harness the power of the mind. She is passionate about both the mental and physical realms of healing, training, and exploring the boundaries of self perceived limitations. In this episode we talk about her unique upbringing, working in the trenches as a tree planter and forest firefighter. what led her to become a runner/ultra runner, 3 steps to getting what you want, her debilitating phobias, and how she conquered her fears using the power of the mind! Dr. Joe Dispenza Ted Talk  Eoin Finn: Blissology yoga teacher  Sarah Seads Blog ELM website training and coaching Follow Sarah on IG @wildseads If you have any questions or comments for the show please hit me up on IG @journeytoultrapodcast or @Nicola.gildersleeve or email    

  • Kim Magnus: The Golden Goat - canyons 100k recap

    09/05/2019 Duración: 25min

    Kim "Goat Runner" Magnus recently went down to California to race the Canyons 100k in the hopes of snagging a coveted "Golden Ticket" into the Western States 100. The week of the event Kim was plagued with sickness (later diagnosed with Bronchitis) and was unsure if she would even be able to get to the finish. With a motto of "forward motion and one foot in front of the other", Kim ran her way into second place and held her giant golden ticket high in the sky! In this bonus episode we chat about other golden ticket attempts, her sickness leading up to the event, how the race went down, and the benefits of sandbagging ;) Follow Kim Magnus on IG @magnusgoatrunner Follow the show on IG @journeytoultrapodcast - Tag us and let us know you are listening! Enjoy the podcast? Don't forget to subscribe! Listening on iTunes? Consider leaving a rating and review :)   

  • Alicia Woodside: Ultrapreneur

    07/05/2019 Duración: 01h39min

    Alicia Woodside is an ultra runner and entrepreneur living in Squamish, BC. She seeks and sometimes struggles to find a balance between kicking ass in races and keeping it fun. She is one of the founders of the non-profit organization Girls Gone Wilderness which is a program for girls who are currently intimidated by or not connected to the outdoor world. When not adventuring in the mountains, you can typically find Alicia working on her new business Teffles Waffles and she sells them at the Squamish farmers market every other weekend. Alicia has raced distances from 10k to 100 miles and her journey to ultra is very inspiring.  Instagram: @funtimes.Woodside @teffles_waffles Do you know someone you think would make a great guest on the show? Email me at  Love the show? Head over to iTunes and consider giving it a rating and review!  Follow us on Instagram @journeytoultrapodcast 

página 1 de 2