“I had dreams of making the national team after the NCAA, and when I realized that wouldn’t happen, it was very challenging to consider myself anything but a failure. It took a lot of years to accept that there was more to me than hockey. Running became something I could focus on and work towards.”
Hilary Spires’ journey began as a hockey player, where she played in the National Women’s Hockey League and NCAA. Her dream was to make the national team after the NCAA – a dream that never materialized.
After retiring from hockey, Hilary struggled with her identity, as she no longer called herself a hockey player. She felt lost. It was then that she discovered trail running, which brought her an unexpected sense of calm and focus. Racing over mountains became a new goal and passion that she could work towards. A goal that was not only a physical challenge, but also a mental one.
“Racing for me is about far more than being the fastest out there. It’s about beating my personal best times. It’s about pushing farther and faster than I thought I could. It’s not the thought of winning that gets me out of bed at 4am, it’s the rush of the finish line and the sense of accomplishment that follows.”
Last year, Hilary took on her first 100KM distance. The distance resonated with Hilary, and she found the mental breakdown of each 30K to be exciting, making the distance manageable.
“I remind myself pain doesn’t mean stop, it’s only a warning sign and I can dig deeper. After being in labor for a week nothing feels quite as painful anymore. Last year the 100km distance started to really resonate with me….I recently ran WAM 100km and Finlayson 100Km and both were so epic and beautiful.”
Now an avid ultramarathoner, a coach, and a mom – Hilary has found there’s more to her than being a hockey player. She’s a runner.
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