There are those who are content with weekly runs through the neighbourhood and then there are those who live for their next 250km trail run through deserts, mountains and trails across the world. Tori Leckie, a Scotswoman who lives in South Africa, is one such a person. She’s completed over 20 ultra-marathons (between 50 and 250kms each) and she’s often the first woman to cross the finish line.Over to Tori to talk running, travelling and yoga.
I ran my first race in 2009 – Jordan’s Petra Marathon – and won it by a stroke of luck. The course followed a UNESCO World Heritage site, which started at ‘The Treasury’ in the lost world where Indiana Jones was filmed. After that I wanted a bigger challenge and started to combine my love for mountain-climbing with long-distance running. I participated in single- and multi-stage races, normally self-navigated, self-sufficient and at high altitudes.
My Favourite Races were in the East. I loved the 100km Sundowner race in Singapore. It starts at sunrise and finishes at sunset. Here I discovered just how strong the mind can be. My Nepal races have always been very special too. I love Nepal and the Nepalese and am involved in building schools and helping kids at an orphanage there.
My training is sporadic, unplanned and based on what my body tells me. I don’t believe in training plans or running excessive mileage during training. When training for a 100km race, I would never do more than 35km in one go, but I believe in back-to-back runs. Mental training is just as important as physical. I’m big on visualization and affirmations.
Yoga is a big part of my running success. It helps with physical and mental conditioning. It also teaches the art of surrender and breathing through whatever a race throws at you. It has strengthened my body, given me a great core and is a wonderful antidote to all the pounding. All runners can benefit from yoga. When training for races, I practice yoga four to five times a week.
My job consists of running, writing, blogging, adventuring and travelling – I’ve carved a career from my passions. A few strategic race wins unleashed a barrage of opportunities and I’ve just gone with the flow and enjoyed the ride!
What pays the bills are: PR for cool brands, writing for companies, ghost-writing books and ghost-writing in the media for high profile individuals, writing features for travel, sport and fitness, and women’s magazines.
Travel is the only expense in life that always makes us richer. I’m fascinated by people and places. Having a life full of travel isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity to keep my creative juices flowing. I’m quite a free spirit and like to live to my own schedule, so a major perk is that travelling for ‘work’ allows me to be free and not confined to holiday time sheets or office deadlines.