I love suffering in beautiful places. I find that there is no greater joy than a view earned through effort. I also like how humbling it is. It’s a great reminder of how small we all are as individuals, but it also shows us that we can do things that we didn’t think possible of ourselves. – Adam Campbell
Canadian ultra distance & Mountain Trail Runner Adam Campbell, 33, has always been into sports as a young boy; Having spent the first 16 years of his life mostly in Spain and West Africa, specifically in Lagos, Nigeria, in whose beaches his love for running began. Apart from the seemingly idyllic childhood “running after soccer balls & chasing waves”, it was also his exposure to this incredible, chaotic, multi-culturally rich country, and it’s people tenacity & resilience that has inspired him as a person and an athlete; This same testament to human durability which has served him well in this sport he loves so much.
When he moved to Canada for boarding school and university, his love for all individual athletic challenges quickly saw him jump into the multi-sport world of triathlons and duathlons, and in no time became a member of the Canadian National Team. Adam, who has won national awards as a triathlete & duathlete, remembers being obsessed with the sport for about 10 years and even tried but fell short in his bid to make the Olympic team. “I raced multi-sports competitively until about 2005, but I reached what I thought was my potential in the sport, so I decided to move on.”
Adam Campbell – a lawyer by profession who was called to the British Columbia bar last 2011, and who in 2010, married long-time partner, Lauren Groves, an Olympian and herself, a professional tri-athlete – mentions seeing himself still being involved in triathlons but says his focus is now on the challenge of mountain running and the places that the sport is taking him. “Looking at images of athletes like Scott Jurek in beautiful places, like at Western States, or in the Alps did it for me” and, adds Campbell “Trail and mountain running has always been a long time attraction & I knew that I’d eventually do one.”
However it wasn’t until his first trail race in 2006 in Mt. Seymour when a new love was born and got him hooked on the sport the moment he finished that first race. He then qualified for the Canadian Mountain Running Team in his first trail race and continued to post the best ever finish by a Canadian at a Mountain Running World Championship at the Jungfrau Marathon. Now, after having finished on the podium at major international races around the world, Adam, was also recently named Canadian Trail Runner of the year and placed second at last year’s 100-mile Ultra Trail Mount Fuji race with a time of 19 hours, 26 minutes.
As an active person by nature, Adam is also into other sports such as rock climbing, yoga… biking, swimming etc, but says he mostly just runs as it requires very little equipment and can be done anywhere that “I probably run between 12-30 hours a week”. He ventures to describe the simplicity & fluidity of the sport as having an incredible calming effect on him; “The places my feet take me & the conversations and thoughts that I have while out on a run… this feeling of serenity and grounding that I get from running on trails and mountains is largely why I do it.”
Eventually, it was in recognizing this passion and its importance to Adam’s overall well-being that led him to decide to leave his law practice to give running his full attention and his transition to being a professional runner. “I still think I have some room to grow as an athlete and I feel like I owe it to myself to give it a go while I can… I also noticed that all the books on my bedside table were about running and racing – it was a sign!”
Now considered one of the world’s top ultra marathoners, Adam Campbell still runs trails through Pacific Spirit Park near his home in Vancouver. When not blogging about newfound trails (http://cdamaampbell.blogspot.com/ ) or winning races to raise funds for his favorite charities, he also offers his legal services pro bono to his community. In addition, he is also a coach, motivational speaker, race promoter, freelance writer, product tester and most recently proud co-owner of 5Peaks Adventures.
5Peaks, he says, gives him the opportunity to not only provide a great trail experience to runners of all ages and levels, but to introduce more people to the sport that he loves; as well as encourage them to seek out interesting challenges in inspiring settings.
“While I love the solitude of day to day running, racing is a celebration of that hard work. It not only gives me a chance to experience new trails, it has also provided me a wonderful community of friends…we’re lucky to do what we do.”
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