06 January 2014

on the run ... with rhonda-marie avery

so with a new year comes a new idea, and a new segment for the rendezvoo point!

it seems that if i have any talent at all it is in getting people to tell their stories.  i mean, who doesn't love hearing a good story?  and the running community is chock full of great people who are living inspiring and colourful stories.  so i thought that maybe i could get a few of them to share their stories with me here on my blog.

the trick is that it can be tricky (especially without coming across as creepy) to get people to share the substance of their stories with you (or me).  most of us have this well-honed defense mechanism called 'small talk' that we use to keep people at arm's length, at least until we've known them for a while or shared a meaningful experience with them.

the way that i figured that i might get around this is to keep these interview segments short and pithy - that way it doesn't seem too onerous to complete an interview, and nobody feels obligated to share more than they are comfortable doing so.

introducing the on the run interview.

the premise is simple:  four multiple-choice questions.  

that's it.

perhaps the equivalent of the content that you might be able to convey while passing or being passed by someone else during the course of a race.  hence, the amount of information you might acquire 'on the run'.

so without further ado, let me introduce my first guest ...

rhonda-marie avery is an ultra-athlete.  she's completed a 365 day run streak, a 100-mile run, as well as a 13.5-kilometre tethered open water swim and a 500-kilometre tandem bike tour.

the tethered and tandem parts are because rhonda-marie is legally blind.

having been born with complete achromatopsia, rhonda-marie only has the 'rods' pairing from 'rods and cones' photoreceptors in her eyes.  limited to 8% vision, she has the most vision at night (and hence fancies running at "stupid o'clock").  but that has not prevented her from raising three children, from working as a registered massage therapist or from accomplishing these awe-inspiring (regardless of ability) feats.

. . . . .

1.  I really started considering myself a runner when:

(a) I got off the treadmill and got onto the road
(b) I bought some gear from a running specialty store
(c) Someone else called me a runner
(d) I completed my first race
(e) None of the above / Other

RMA:  "E" - some day I would like to be a runner ... mostly I think I am just a stubborn girl on a mission.  I think we are far too hard on ourselves.  I think running from the house to the bus stop is still running.  I think being a "runner" puts you in a box.  I think I'd rather be a sphere.

2.  Blogging is: 

(a) Therapeutic 
(b) A chore 
(c) Just part of how I communicate 
(d) For the benefit of everybody else 
(e) Neither here nor there 

RMA:  "A" and "C".

3.  This is what you need to know about my attempt to run the Bruce Trail this summer: 

(a) It’s something that no other legally blind athlete has done 
(b) Everyone needs a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) 
(c) I’m looking to wear out as many guide runners as possible 
(d) The scents and sounds of the trail are really what I’m looking forward to
(e) It’s just a training run for my Appalachian Trail attempt 

RMA:  "A" and "B" ...  and because the only way to create small change is to demonstrate big change.

4.  The secret to my running success is: 

(a) Not comparing myself to anyone else 
(b) Knowing that vision is overrated 
(c) Encountering my limits and then exceeding them 
(d) Counting running itself as success 
(e) What?!? I’m a successful runner???

RMA:  "E".  If I was successful I wouldn't have a new goal, right?

*** for more on rhonda-marie's upcoming adventures, visit envisionsonthebruce.blogspot.ca.


  1. Nice feature, I liked being able to hear Rhonda-Marie's story. And what a cool story it is! Best of luck running the Bruce Trail, that's a great BHAG to shoot for!

    Looking forward to the next interview, keep them coming :)

    1. thanks mike! rhonda-marie is a great person with a fantastic and inspiring story to tell.

      i look forward to being able to share some more interviews to weave our running community a little closer together!