Going the distance: Kim Magnus heads to trail running’s top event backed by the Fortius familyJune 28, 2019 | by Lucy Fox
In the ultramarathon world, the Western States 100-mile endurance run is renowned. It’s the world oldest 100-mile trail race and, with an elevation of 18,000 feet and a descent of almost 23,000 feet, it’s arguably one of the world’s toughest endurance tests. It has over four decades of history bringing the world’s elite athletes onto its course.
This year, Fortius client and Team Canada trail runner Kim Magnus is one of them.
After finishing second at the Canyons 100 km race earlier this year, Magnus earned a coveted “Golden Ticket”: an automatic qualification to Western States. Only 11 women earned the tickets this year at various races across North America.
For Magnus, it’s the chance of a lifetime to run in one of her sport’s most prestigious events.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “The pressure is kind of off for any kind of hope of podium, or anything like that. I’m just going to be in awe of greatness, basically. It’s going to be so cool to be at an event like this.”
It’s perhaps the pinnacle of her trail running career, which has seen her run in races from the local Seek the Peak on the North Shore, to the Trail World Championships in Portugal with Team Canada — a career that has seen her come through the Fortius doors on more than one occasion.
To keep her body race ready, Magnus sees Fortius physiotherapist Graeme Poole and registered massage therapist Adam Harris on a regular basis. She also saw a Fortius sports medicine physician for a stress fracture last year. The integrated model of care and premier team of practitioners has kept her at her best through various bumps and knocks.
“The thing that I love about [Fortius] is that [the practitioners] talk to each other, they write notes and they can read each other’s notes so we’re all on the same page,” Magnus said. “… It’s such a holistic experience to come here and it’s sports focused.”
The fact that a variety of Fortius’ practitioners are also constantly working with professional athletes and teams, and continuing to attend workshops and grow their own practice, also keeps her coming back.
“It gives me a lot of confidence that the people that I’m seeing … have my best interest in mind, because they’re talking to each other, but they’re also continuously learning and kind of forward-focused and not just getting stagnant.”
And there is the additional benefit that Harris himself is an ultramarathon trail runner and understands the strain her body undergoes.
“His experience and his knowledge of what I’m doing and the kind of things that I’m getting into is second to none,” Magnus said.
Harris himself is an indicator of the breadth of the ultramarathon community — a community that has supported Magnus through her years of racing. Whether fellow runners or volunteers, it’s a family out on the trails.
“There’s so much camaraderie and everyone wants to help everyone. There’s a big community of volunteering, and giving back to our community,” Magnus explained. “The focus isn’t just on racing, it’s on adventuring and on supporting other people to achieve their goals in their racing.”
For Magnus, that means added support while she races through her Raynaud syndrome, a condition that reduces blood flow to her extremities and makes eating and even tying her shoe laces difficult in cold weather.
“It seems like a silly problem, but if I couldn’t manage this with help from other people … I wouldn’t be able to keep doing [racing].”
At its core, though, it’s an insatiable love for running that keeps Magnus going — whether that’s through forests, on roads or even on treadmill or track. From marathons to climbing mountains, she has tried it all, and continues to run wherever and whenever she can.
The Western States are just the next stride in that continued relationship with the trails, with the road and with the constant desire to optimize her own performance and health for life.
Learn more about how Fortius therapists can optimize your race recovery: