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Daily Dose — When a Marathon Isn’t Challenge Enough

Ari Lord
By Ari Lord
March 22nd, 2023

When Jazmine Lowther, 30, found out she was the 2023 Sports Ambassador for Nelson, she felt honoured.

“It felt especially fitting because, in 2022, I was breaking into the international trail and ultra running scene. And becoming more involved in the community, from coaching people to raising money. I appreciated that my actions and pursuits were being noticed.”

The Sports Ambassador, selected by Council annually, is awarded to an individual athlete, group, or team who has achieved a high standard of excellence in their athletic pursuits.

The timing to receive this honour was fitting, she says.
“I’m transitioning into a new career, which has been daunting and scary, leaving my career for the time being as a biologist and embodying a full-time professional athlete with a significant pay cut, so having additional support through the transition is mega appreciated.”

Ultra running is a growing sport, says Lowther.

“Ultra running is anything over the marathon distance of 42.5 km. So, it can be anything from 50 km upwards to 250. My forte is the 100 km distance.”

Lowther plans to work as an Environmental Consultant in the future but now, is a Professional Athlete, Running Coach, and Columnist for UltraRunning Magazine, where she writes about environmentalism, women’s health, and social inclusivity. 

“I need to believe in myself and have faith that it’s possible and dreams can be realized and take this opportunity and privilege, go step by step where it takes me and enjoy the ride,” says Lowther, who says that funding is a major challenge.

“There’s not much funding for athletes in Canada and less for non-Olympic sports. Competing at an elite level can be very challenging to make ends meet. Especially in a sport like ultra running when you train over 20 hours a week, not including recovery and travel time.”

The vigorous sport can be challenging in other ways, explains Lowther.

“It can be hard on the body, physical and mental. There is a lot of tissue damage, so you have to be careful after races, typically taking a week to two off of running and additional caution for a month post-race, depending on the distance.”

Her life is on the road, and she trains and races in the Kootenays, Rockies, States and internationally.

Born and raised in Nelson, Lowther had an active childhood with sheep and goats on a small farm outside town.

“It was pretty active with my parents and brother; it was great. I ran cross country. We would often have meets down at Lakeside. I went to Rosemont. Then, I played a lot of soccer and was into a lot of dance disciplines.”

In her early adult life, she ran as a hobby and did backcountry skiing and alpine climbing until, one day, everything changed.

“In 2019, when Travis Hauck and Dave Stevens organized Tackle the Toad 50 km, I signed up," Lowther explained.

"I hardly trained, and I surprised myself and came 1st and 3rd overall. That was a pivotal moment where I realized I had innate talent in the sport. I switched to running and training. Dave Stevens coached me for a year and pushed me toward the sport, so big thanks to him."

Now she’s been training for three years and competing for two. She recently raced the TransGranCanaria Classic, a 128 km race with over 7000 metres of vertical climbing in Spain, placing 2nd female and 16th overall. She was the first Canadian on the podium at this race.

Lowther’s next race is Canyons 100 mile in Auburn, California April 28th. The event will be streamed live for people to cheer on and watch. She will be a member ofthe Canadian Trail Running Team, representing Canada at the Worlds Trail and Mountain Running Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, on June 9th, for the long course division (85 km). 

This September, her most important race will be the UTMB Finale Race, UTMB 100 mile in Chamonix, France. 

“I got into the sport later in life. But that is the cool thing with ultra running that older athletes often can still pursue at an elite level. Fingers crossed that I can keep at it for another 5, 10 years,” says Lowther.

This Spring, she will offer workshops at Trafalgar Middle School on Embracing Discomfort While Pursuing Passions and will hopefully meet the Kaslo Cross Country Team for fun running. If schools, teams, or kids’ groups are interested in workshops, please get in touch with Lowther. 

Lowther is organizing a Community Invasive Plant Pull at Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS).

“I hope to encourage runners, hikers, and recreators to come out and help pull the invasive plants growing along our trails,” says Lowther.

Come out, learn about invasive plants, and help to remove them from the Pulpit Rock Trail on Saturday, May 6th, from 10 am to 12 pm. See the link for info and registration: https://ckiss.ca/2023/03/may-6-2023-pulpit-rock-community-weed-pull/

Follow Lowther’s journey through Instagram here:   

https://www.instagram.com/jazminerosalynn/

Jazmine Lowther is all business during the TransGranCanaria endurance race, February 24th, 2023 in Spain. — Photo courtesy The Adventure Bakery

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