In running – as in life – it’s building towards some bigger and better version of ourselves. It inspires us, motivates us, and leaves us craving more.
Meet James Lamers – travel runner, blogger and all-around dream chaser. His courage to leave a comfortable situation for something unfamiliar can be terrifying, but so very transformative. It’s his nomadic passion for the unknown journey ahead that has us questioning – where to next James?
Growing up in the great north of Canada, James was immersed in the curiosity of the wilderness and the passion to run towards it. Like most athletes, he found community in his teammates, but little did he know it would spark a lifetime of running ahead of him. Turns out, James was pretty good at this running thing. His success in high school track and field led to a spot on the University of Toronto cross-country team and his distance treks keep on coming. Soon, he would move to Vancouver, B.C. in pursuit of a life on the run – literally.
As James put it, “I laced up, quit my job, and started chasing my dreams.” As a Vancouver local now, he’s an active lead member for both the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club and the East Van Running Crew. His passion for competition is second to his love for community. He remembers begging his mom to sign him up for the local soccer team, because like most little dudes, his buddies were a part of the team. This relentless sense of community is what he craves. It’s an opportunity to come together as a team to celebrate the work we’ve all been putting in – but more so – the unconditional pursuit to push each other to do things we could never have done alone.
When the pandemic hit, everyone felt a loss of community to some degree. His first marathon was on the horizon, and like all events in 2020, it was cancelled. James was already out of his comfort zone taking on the marathon distance for the first time, but he wasn’t about to give up. His team mapped out a course that was four grueling laps in scenic Stanley Park. No formal crowds or aid stations to pick you up. Just James and his GPS watch – or so he thought. When his girlfriend, coach and team showed up along the route, he was blow away by their support. They fueled him to the finish, proudly holding the tap for his first marathon finish. Truthfully, I was fading until they showed up, but they picked me up when I needed it most. Community is so courageous.
Today, when James isn’t running or working as a civic engineer (yes – he has a “real job”), he’s out pursuing his hobby as a long-distance backpacker. This nomadic journey marries his curiosity for photography, new places, and journaling through his new blog platform where you can read about some of his proudest achievements in thru hikes of the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails. It’s out in nature where he’s pushed the limits most. The forces of nature and even his body seemed to be protesting against him, but embracing the gratitude of being immersed in the most beautiful landscapes, walking trails built by the hikers before him, is how he got through this incredible treks.
Is it terrifying to leave a career that was progressing nicely? You bet. But it’s made James the person he is today and wherever it takes him, it’s undoubtedly fulfilling.
Pushing your limits isn’t just for running, that’s for sure.