Dream Big.

When we became run ambassadors for lululemon in October 2012, we didn’t realize the impact it would have on our lives, nor the path it would take us on.  Initially, we thought we’d simply be product testing some run shorts made by a company famous for their black-stretchy-pants –  instead, we got a whole lot more than anticipated.

Our vision was to give back to the community – to connect with others and help them overcome fears and courageously take on their dreams. To inspire 10 people, in hopes that they would then go out and inspire 10 more. Surprisingly, what happened as this process unfolded was that we gained a deeper understanding of ourselves – the meaning of gratitude and compassion. We learned how to create a long-term vision and set the short-term goals that would guide us.  Initially this was overwhelming, but as we began getting comfortable envisioning the future, it became easier to define what that might look like.  Through community connections and run events, photo shoots and ambassador summits, as we stretched out on yoga mats and took time to breathe, we learned to challenge ourselves – to think big, then BIGGER, then small, then SMALLER.

At the same time, our triathlon and run adventures that began in 2003, were forming the building blocks for our desire to explore more, and push the boundaries of possibility.  We also discovered that our travel and race experiences were most rewarding when shared with like-minded individuals. At some point, everything clicked and our goal setting ability brought our vision into clear view. RunTrippers is the result of that vision, with the goal to travel and run in different countries around the world, sharing the journey with anyone who wants to come along – literally or virtually.

In January 2017, we decided to leap forward and take our first official RunTrippers travel adventure – why wait until all the stars align and the timing is perfect – right now is perfect!

This spark was initiated by our friend Johany Jutras, who had photographed us in the past, with a vision to document our trip so we could tell our story.

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She also suggested we bring along her videographer friend Annie-Claude Roberge to capture some footage of the journey. The question was, where would we go, and what would that destination represent.
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We knew the purpose of our trip was to venture to a place that would challenge and inspire us, and we wanted a landscape that offered incredible scenic beauty.  The choice was obvious – Iceland.  Who else but a couple of Canadians would travel to Iceland to go running in the middle of winter!

We put together a lululemon gear selection consisting of a Run for Cold Jacket, Cool Racerback II, WunderUnder and Inspire II Tights for Kat – and a Surge Warm ½ Zip, Metal Vent Tech Hoodie, Surge Warm Tights and a Pack It Jacket for Kev.  With our plan in place, and our travel packs loaded, we were ready to experience running in Iceland.

We flew into Keflavik on January 27, 2017 and for the next week, we ventured around the island exploring the extreme landscape and delving into the culture. From adventuring through the quiet city of Reykjavik with its soft glistening lights, to running across barren landscapes of the South Island with every-changing weather conditions – Iceland resonated with us very deeply.

The first three nights were spent in Reyjavik – catching the sunrise on Mount Esja, visiting the Old Harbour, Tjornin Pond, and the Opera house – with visuals that were beautiful and striking.
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We explored the Ellioaardalur Valley – right in the heart of the city, and ran along the scenic Reykjavik marathon course.

We drove the Golden Circle route and found ourselves trekking through deep snow across the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates as the sun began to rise.

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Onwards to Pingvellier –  a UNESCO World Heritage site – then stops at Geysir and the Gullfoss waterfall. The air was so incredibly fresh and the vast landscape simply breathtaking.
 
We spent the next three nights in the countryside, living like locals in the beautiful remote setting of Hella. Our days were filled with adventure as we trekked 4km out to the black sand beach at Solheimasandur to visit the 1973 US Navy plane wreck. We hiked up and over the Langjokull and Vatnajokull glaciers, descended into the ice-caves and visited the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon – 370km from Reykjavik!

As we navigated through our itinerary, we also took the time to explore the unexpected places that seemed to appear at every turn in the road.
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With our journey complete, we headed back home knowing there was still so much left to see. This trip taught us how valuable it is to slow things down and take a breath – to step away from everyday life and really look around.

Travel brings an opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and look back on the road we’ve wandered upon, to see where our compass guides us next.  Being courageous enough to take a leap and forge your path is when life truly begins!

We are already planning our next trip and have a long list of places we’d love to run through. It’s a great big planet out there and adventure awaits!

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