5 Questions with Superhumanitarian Sarah Jamieson

I posted a blog about our “Kicks for Coaching” shoe drive and within 60mins Sarah Jamieson of YogaForm and Fit To Train had gotten to work spreading the word and collecting shoes. I shouldn’t have expected anything less from someone who ran at least 6km every day for over a year and is on her way to raising $1 MILLION by the time she hits 35! She is almost there and I am talking money not calendar years.

Sarah had a few shoes to donate!

5 Questions with Sarah Jamieson:

1. The numbers!
This is always an awesome question! 12 years ago I made the commitment to use my somewhat middle of the pack running as a philanthropic vehicle to raise support and awareness for organization and charities that resonated with my values and ethos. This commitment included the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of raising $1 million dollars before the age of 35; which has two fundamental pillars; (1) Running events (usually marathons and ultras) and (2) Speaking/ educational engagements with both youth and adults. This spawned a partnership between my work as a health and wellness coach and as an advocate for human rights, youth empowerment and women’s specific initiatives. To date I have raised $804,000.00 for well over 40 organizations; and most recently finished a 439 day goal of running 6km per day for 15 months (which works out to 4,077km total)to raise awareness on women’s rights and education and the importance of economic empowerment for women around the world benefiting CARE Canada. For a full list check our RUN4ACAUSE Blog – http://sarahmjamieson.wordpress.com/

2. You decided to run at least 6km every day for a year what was the driving factor behind this amazing goal?
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination, yet they are the most important part of the solutions needed to truly overcome poverty. 70% of the beneficiaries in sustainable development and foreign aid are women, and statistics show us that for every year a girl stays in school she raises her family’s income by 20%. If she receives even just 7 years of schooling, she will marry 4 years later and 2.2 fewer babies. In the developing world, of the 876 million illiterate people, women and girls make up two thirds. Girls are at a greater risk because they are forced to stay at home, walk long distances for water, food and fuel and therefore, are presented with little, or no opportunity to have the choice to lead a deeper more fulfilling life. The average distance a girl walks to collect water and basic life necessities is 6km. Therefore, in 2009 CARE Canada implemented the “Walk In Her Shoes” national campaign that focuses on empowering Canadian to walk 8,000 steps or 6km per day in solidarity with the world’s women and I was the first volunteer to spearhead the campaign in Vancouver. Now 3 years later we have cities across Canada implementing similar campaigns. In Vancouver, we kicked off this campaign on International Women’s Day (IWD) (March 8th) and I made the pledge to continue this momentum in hopes of not only celebrating how far we have come, but how far we still have to go. I have never been one to do things the conventional way – thus the idea of a year-long endeavor combined with a 101km Walk In Her Shoes event (101years of IWD) was a perfect merging of my unconventional nature.

3. In order to accomplish your goal you had to make changes to your everyday life, can you share a few examples?
Changes to my everyday life you ask – yes there were quite a few! As a coach I am constantly coaching my clients on how to effectively implement change into their lifestyle. It is no easy thing to do, yet all it really takes is a shift in mind set, reconnecting with your values and passion and then holding yourself accountable. Seems easy enough right? For me, I had to be creative. Using my commute for the most part was the easiest choice, rather than take transit I would allocate more time in the morning or evening for daily 6km runs, as well as semi long runs home from Arbutus and Kits to the North Shore (roughly 18.9km). Easy mind set – not so easy after an 8 – 12 hour day and 2 hours of commuting for a 15-16 hour day – LMAO. Training for an ultra marathon is no easy “feet.” Clocking the necessary mileage meant getting up before 5am, sometimes 430am and spending every Sunday for 15 months pounding the pavement or trails from the crack of dawn till dinner time and having very little time for a social life. In bed by 745pm on Saturday nights meant “no play time for this superhero.” The amount of food intake exponentially increased (which I did not mind at all), and you have to get used to being sore all the time, all day long – and being meticulous with recovery, corrective movement, and keeping on top rest. And when I say sore, I mean ribs that decide to dislocate from compression of the running pack, compressed femoral joints, blisters of awesomeness, oh and there was that one time I had severe dehydration and had an intestinal blockage – that was RAD. But you cope and move on. Where there is a negative, there is always a positive. The biggest change is that it provided a space for me… to be with me. This space, allowed me to deeply connect with my inner most values; to re connect with my passion in life and to realize that everything we do in life – is by choice. We live in a world where we have the choice to do and be just about anything and anyone – yet half of the world still does not have basic human rights or the freedom to choose. Therefore, my decision to stand tall, stand by my convictions was merely to stand as a representation of all those who do not have the freedom to have the power to choose – I have met hundreds of women and girls, and boys and men throughout my travels, through the CARE Canada blog – and I run for those amazing people, I carry them with me. There is no greater purpose.

4. You must have had some fantastic support to keep you going for over a year, how important was community?
Community is the very foundation from which life is built upon. Without community the human race would perish. Humans are meant to connect, we are meant to commune with each other and with our surroundings. It is the everlasting ebb and flow of continuous energy and the cycle of life. Right before I ran the San Francisco marathon last July, I got a tattoo in honor of this connection and in honor of my mother who passed of suicide a few years earlier. This marathon was held on the anniversary or her passing July 31st. This tattoo is one word and it symbolizes all that I am, that we are – “Ubuntu.’ Ubuntu, mean community or humanity. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu popularized this Bantu, South African word in the 70’s and it has been a residing theme in my work. I have had immense support through this journey and my success is because of the interconnected drive of so many amazing, strong people all over the world. There is no “I” when I run, there is only “WE.”

Asha aka Sarah Jamieson

5. I know you are big into super heroes and you gave a TED talk about being a superhumanitarian, so what is your super name?
I freaking LOVE Superheros! It’s actually a bonified addiction. Truth be told, I watch superhero movies at least once a week and before every long run I play clips of them! My Superhero….MY SuperHumanitarian’s name is Asha. The name Asha is derived from the eastern words interchangeable when translated to mean life, existence, and truth. I exist for social change and social justice. I believe each of us has the potential to be great, and superhero qualities are just a glorified representation of this. Asha is everything that is best in me – she is fearless, strong, resilient and has an unwavering tenacity in her dedication to others. She is all that I hold true. When I was younger, I would lose myself in my running. That scared little girl, who suffered a troubled childhood – was no longer. I was (and am) impenetrable and I am most free, most in balance with my life when I am in the state of running. This is where Asha shines and it is through her where I try to empower others to find their own inner superhero and harness the power behind their talents to create change, engage in cultural exchange and find the freedom to be and do anything they set their minds to.

*Bring in a pair of shoes to the StayFitAnywhere training studio by June 30, 2012 and we will give you a 30min coaching/training session. All shoes go to The Eastside Foot Clinic*

Sarah is living the change she wants to see and won’t stop til she changes the world!
Josh Neumann, BHK
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook