(CNS Local Life): For the second year running, local real estate agent and ultramarathon runner Kerri Kanuga has been accepted to enter what is considered the most demanding and extreme running race on earth, the STYR Labs Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon in Death Valley in the US, set for 10-12 July this year.
Although Kanuga only ran her first marathon in 2010 and attempted her first ultramarathon in 2015, she has completed five ultramarathons in the last year, including the Brazil 135 (she completed the 160) and Mt Gaoligong Ultra 100 in China, among the world’s most challenging endurance competitions.
Kanuga will travel to California for the Badwater event in July, following her first participation in the Marathon de Sables, the Morrocan-based multi-stage race that tests athletes in the Sahara Desert, one of the most hostile habitats on earth. Kanuga will have to carry her own food and equipment for six days over 250km.
She completed the 2016 Badwater in 36 hours and 15 minutes, placing sixth among female competitors, a result that has been a strong motivation, she said.
“I am 47 years old and, despite my age, I am the fittest and most motivated I have ever been in my life,” Kanuga said. “I was astounded at my Badwater 2016 performance and it has inspired me to train harder and push my physical boundaries.”
KKanuga is often spotted on Cayman’s roads as she trains with “Tyrone the tyre”. She also supports many other athletes in their quest to get fitter and achieve more. Kanuga has recently been sponsored by local coach Virginia Czarnocki, who has combined training and diet programmes to get the best out of her performance.
Kanuga relies on a range of support and travels with a crew who make sure she is safe and taken care of during her races.
Combined with her achievement as an athlete is her commitment to Hannah’s Heroes and the St Baldrick’s Foundation, who supported Hannah’s fight against a rare childhood cancer. Kanuga has raised more than US$36,000 so far in support of St Baldrick’s and said both Hannah and her family have been an inspiration.
“The strength of character of Hannah has shown throughout her cancer treatments and the determination of her family to give her the best support possible has been an inspiration to me. If such a young girl can handle the physical and mental stress of extensive treatment with such gusto, I can push my body harder and complete some of the hardest races in the world, and it sill pales in comparison to Hannah’s journey.
“I train and compete for me – but I do well and push the boundaries because I have been inspired by Hannah and all the children like her. Being accepted to Badwater 135 this summer means I can really help raise the profile of St Baldrick’s and increase my donations to this amazing foundation.”
To donate to the St Baldrick’s Foundation – all proceeds go directly to helping the fight against childhood cancer – email Kerri Kanuga