Trail running to safeguard the Nadeea tenure

Baylee Woodley tells us about her experience fundraising and running the XTERRA Trail Run on behalf of the “beasties.”

Baylee runs in the XTERRA Victoria Trail Run

The day of the XTERRA trail run felt full of exciting successes – I finished the run under my goal time and exceeded my $500 fundraising goal for Raincoast.

I was a little out of my comfort zone to ask people to donate, but it was so worth it! My fundraising for Raincoast has been about giving back to the natural world that sustains me and that sustains my love of running.

I am so grateful to Raincoast Conservation Foundation and their Coastal First Nations partners for the work they are doing with the Safeguard Coastal Carnivores initiative.

The XTERRA Trail Run

The XTERRA Trail Run was on July 7th at Durrance Lake on the Saanich Peninsula. Holy, folks, that route was tres belle! We ran around the lake first – a gentle introduction to nature’s obstacle course. From there we came back around to cross the dirt road on the left of the lake, and then we started upwards…and then went upwards a little more. This was FOR SURE the part where I thought I was going to be sick. But it was also crucial to the runner’s high!

This hilly bit peaked with a hill named (appropriately) The Beast. It goes steeply up, and the ground gets rockier, and just as it seems to be over it turns a corner and continues going up. Luckily, the section after The Beast was my absolute favourite! I would haul my well-worked butt over the top of the hill, and then the rest of the loop was an incredible, mostly downhill, obstacle course-like trail. When I can run without stopping and bound from root to rock using my arms for extra affect my happiness pretty much peaks.

This high was awesome – and it was largely connected to the amazing nature all around me while I was bounding around pretending to be coordinated as Sun from Sense8 or one of the returning UVic rabbits. It was so energizing!

The raising

I think “energy” is so crucial to my love of running in nature. Every living thing is on the earth just giving it their best go – we follow our instincts and hope for the best. There is so much energy to be had in valuing and realizing the connections between ourselves and the other animals living on this planet with us. It is a dangerous part of our society’s value system that continues to minimize this connection and inflict this unsustainable world view on the natural world. Fundraising for the beasties during my training connected to my broader belief that we need to shift this way of being as part of the process of decolonization.

Running on this trail I reflected on how far away those human-centric values felt from my lived experience. I was so relaxed as part of something bigger than myself – as always when I’m outside running I couldn’t focus on the things that stress me out in my individual life because there was so much to witness beyond myself.

I don’t run to compete so much as to just be with my body. It’s my instinct to run because it’s what makes me feel good. Running and breathing in the quiet of the trails around Durrance Lake created an ideal moment. It also made me mournful of the way the beautiful, meaningful lives of the beasties in the Great Bear Rainforest are so needlessly taken away through trophy hunting.

Trophy hunting does not reflect something healthy – it’s unjustifiable. It isn’t hunting for survival or subsistence, but instead hunting to fuel a toxic part of the human ego. It ignores the reality that we are all connected and living brief, precious lives.

You can become a fundraiser and help us to secure the next commercial hunting tenure in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Become a fundraiser

In summary

Thank you fellow beastie savers! Running and community engagement, local and global, are both irrevocable parts of my person.

This was such an awesome experience of bridging my passions for running and advocacy. I hope everyone finds their own way towards safeguarding coastal carnivores.

Baylee Woodley crushes it in the XTERRA Victoria Trail Run.

Baylee Woodley crushing it at the podium.

Baylee Woodley

Baylee Woodley is enrolled to start law school at the University of Victoria this fall. She’s here for the wild beasties.

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