On any given weekend, Sue McClure and Colleen McNab would happily run 42 km, navigate rugged terrain, swim until their arms went numb or bicycle over rough, steep forest trails, and do it all for fun.
After-all, endurance events are what these two weekend warriors live for.
Marathons, triathlons, Ironman competitions, endurance biking and the treacherous Canadian Death Race are just a few of the events that these two friends have trained for over the past number of years, all for the thrill of the sport.
The hours spent working out in the gym, sweating through spin classes, swimming countless laps and riding the trails have until now all been geared to one thing, the personal satisfaction of finishing the race.
So what makes a 200 km weekend bike ride through the Rocky Mountains different from any other race these two Red Deer athletes have endured so far? The training will be just as intense, the hills just as steep and the kilometres just as long.
However, finishing this race will be more than just another personal triumph for these two women; it will be a victory for cancer research. This time they’ll be cycling in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, which takes place on the June 25-26 weekend, will benefit the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the money raised will go directly to support patients and families at various cancer centres throughout Alberta. The Alberta Cancer Foundation also provides research funding for many types of cancer.
This ambitious two-day journey will begin in Calgary and take the pair into the Rocky Mountains which is where all of their endurance training will pay off.
After the first grueling day of cycling, the duo will pitch camp and get as much rest as they can before rising early the following morning just to do it all over again.
Like many Albertans, both McClure and McNab have been personally touched by this disease which makes them even more determined to see this through.
“This fundraiser is very important to my husband Ian and me,” McNab says. “We lost Ian’s father to cancer in 2001. I also want to do this ride to help raise money for the cancer survivors in my life.”
McNab’s mother-in-law and her best friend are both cancer survivors.
McClure’s grandfather passed away from colon cancer and her stepfather is a survivor of prostate cancer.
“This ride is extremely important to me, not only for the cancer victims in my life. Statistics show that one in two Albertans will hear the words, you have cancer,” McClure says.
So, what does it take to be an endurance athlete? McNab is an avid biker, runner, swimmer and alpine and cross-country skier while McClure’s passions are biking, running and working out at the gym. Both enjoy hiking and biking in the mountains and regularly travel to Banff for a weekend on the trails.
The hours of training and dedication have rewarded both women with personal victories and life long memories.
McClure says her most memorable finish so far was when she completed the Ironman Canada event in Penticton in 2007.
“I bawled. It was a huge personal achievement for me,” she says.
“Finishing leg two of the Canadian Death Race was my most memorable finish for sure,” says McNab. The Death Race is a gruelling team event held each year in Grande Cache. McNab’s segment of the race required her to make a 26 km trek through rugged terrain and over the summit of two, 4,000 ft. mountains.
McClure and McNab have what it takes to finish the race, but to be an endurance athlete as well as a fund raiser requires even more commitment and these two women are prepared to take it all on.
In order to even start the Enbridge ride, they will each need to come up with $2500, no small task when so much time and energy is taken up in the training schedule.
“We both have full time jobs and we train every day,” says McClure. “It takes a lot of additional time and energy to find sponsors as well.”
In addition to finding sponsors to fund their entry into the ride, McClure and McNab are hosting a snow-pitch tournament scheduled for April 16.
This fun-filled event will not only provide ball teams with a day of slow-pitch competition, it will include food and drink specials at one of Red Deer’s popular pubs as well as a silent auction.
For more information on the ball tournament or to sponsor these women on their ride call 403-598-6702.