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Runner Spotlight: Ultra-Marathoner Jaime McDonald

This week's Runner Spotlight is ultra-marathoner Jaime McDonald. She started running in 2009 when she decided to put her life on a healthier path after battling alcohol addiction for 15  years. Jaime fell in love with running and has spent the last five years completing races ranging from 5Ks to ultra-marathons.

Jaime is currently training for the Grand to Grand, a 170 mile, self-supported stage race through Arizona and Utah that takes place this September. Yes, you read that right...170 miles. Jaime will be not only running them all on her own, but she must carry everything she needs to survive (excluding a tent and extra water) on her back in a pack that she wears for the entire duration of the race.

As part of her involvement with Grand to Grand, Jaime is being featured in a documentary that follows three Grand to Grand athletes through their training, race day and post-race experiences.

Let's get to know Jaime!

Name:  Jaime McDonald

What is your day job:  I promote and fundraise for impossible2Possible, an organization that focuses on encouraging youth to reach beyond their perceived limits by using adventure as a medium to educate, inspire, and empower our global community to make positive change in the world.

How long have you been running:  I started running in September 2009. I started with a 5K and now run ultras, which are anything over a marathon distance.

How did you get into running: After struggling with alcohol addiction for close to 15 years, I knew I had to make a change. I had a good friend who ran marathons and after watching her transform into a healthy version of her old self through running, I gave it a try.  At that point, I was willing to do anything to give myself some hope of getting my life in order. I ran a 5K and when I crossed the finish line, I was hooked!  It was the first time in my life that I was completing something from start to finish that was done by me and me only. I didn’t need anyone’s help and it was empowering to me.


What’s your favorite race distance:  50K.  I find the distance challenging but enjoyable.

What’s your favorite local running route:  I run a lot of trails but my favorite place to go is Latta Plantation in Huntersville NC.  I love the trails and the atmosphere there.

What style of running shoes do you wear:  I wear a variety of different running shoes but my long run/race shoe is the Hoka Stinson Trail.  I have been wearing them for my marathon/ultras for close to 3 years. Can’t say enough good things about the brand.

What’s your must-have running gear:  INKnBURN running clothing. It’s colorful, comfy, and made in the USA.

What’s your favorite music to run to:  I like hip hop and old school rock, with some country mixed in every so often.

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Are you a morning, lunch break or evening runner:  I prefer mornings but with my training schedule, I sometimes have to get in an evening run every so often if I’m doing two runs a day.

What’s one food you couldn’t live without:  Peanut butter!!

What’s your favorite place to hang out/refuel after a run:  I don’t normally hang out after my runs, simply because I’m covered in sweat and dirt from the trails so all I can think about is a shower

What’s your favorite way to cross train:  I don’t cross train. I train for my races 5-6 days a week so not much room for cross training.

What’s your proudest running achievement:  Every day that I get to run is my proudest moment!  I have run everything from 5K races to multi-day stages races that can range from 150-170 miles. Knowing I can get up and do this makes me proud.  I have a good friend that always tells me ‘you don’t have to do this, you get to do this!’

What’s your best running advice:  As my coach Ray Zahab always says, “Running is 90% mental, and the other 10% is all in your head!”  No truer words!