Daughter of Distance of the Week: Terry Toffelmire


One of my goals this year is to support more women in endurance and help them connect to each other. There are so many of us out there, grinding out those miles and sometimes feeling alone in our awesomeness.

I thought: What better way to promote female athletes than to feature one Daughter of Distance each week? These will be women who love and embrace endurance sports of all kinds. They are not necessarily elites, though they can be. The majority of them are “regular” moms and wives and girlfriends and friends, balancing work and kids and training.

This week’s Daughter of Distance is: Terry Toffelmire!

Check her out:


Who Is Terry?

I’m a 41-year-old mom to two girls, ages 3 and 5. I work full-time in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and I love to run, train and race. I’ve been running for more than 15 years.

Running started as a casual hobby to stay fit, and I would run half marathons here and there. Since having kids, running has become an even more important part of my life. It is what I do for myself. It is my meditation, my time with myself, with friends, with God, my time to renew my own well-being. I also hope that as I feed my own needs, my daughters learn to grow up feeding their needs and become strong, empowered women.

Over the last couple of years I’ve fallen in love with trail running. Trails feed my soul and give me a connection to myself and to the world. Moving up in distances has happened naturally. Last year I ran my first ultra, a 50K. I am excited to see how far I can push my body, to see where my limits lie. It is amazing to me that we are always capable of so much more.

What is your most memorable endurance experience?

Last August my running partner and I ran a trail marathon (The Moose Mountain Marathon) in the mountains near Calgary. Getting snow year-round, randomly, is the norm here, and this weekend did not disappoint.

We arrived at the starting line to see a few inches of snow in the parking lot. If there was snow in the parking lot, there would surely be snow on the race course, as it went up to nearly summit a mountain and back down again.

As we started out, I knew that my legs were not lively that day, but my running partner and I are both positive people. On this particular day, we decided to make a game of it, to try to think of #brightsides to this crazy weather and day.

We laughed and chatted for 5.5 hours as we ran up and down this mountain, and had one of the greatest races ever (experience-wise, not performance-wise). It just goes to show that it isn’t always about time, or performance, often it’s about your attitude and how you look at things.

I wrote up my race report based on the list of all the #brightsides we thought of. You can read it here: https://terryruns.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/brightside-moose-mountain-race-report/

Tell me about some of your goals and plans for 2016.

May: Calgary Marathon. I hope I can BQ at this one, and am focusing more on road running through to this race (with the occasional trail adventure just for fun).

I also plan to run Powderface Trail Marathon and Ironlegs 60k trail race over the summer. I ran the Powderface Half last year, and loved it. The Marathon is 44K and had almost 1700 m’s of elevation gain!

In September I plan to run Lost Soul 100k. Lost Soul is my big “take a risk” race. I almost always set myself up with goals that might look difficult, but that I know I’m pretty sure I can achieve. This one scares the crap out of me! It’s a long race and I don’t know how it’s going to go down, but I’m excited to find out.

You can connect with Terry any of the following ways:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terryrunsthings

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerryToffelmire

Instagram: http://instagram.com/terryruns

Blog: https://terryruns.wordpress.com

What does it mean to be a female in endurance sports?

This series is inspired by my book: Daughters of Distance: Stories of Women in Endurance Sport. Here, hundreds of women open up about their realities as athletes, wives, girlfriends and mothers. From the intimacy of the bedroom to the community of competition, some of these stories will encourage and uplift. Others will surprise and infuriate. Welcome to the beautiful and complicated world of strong women.

Check out the Amazon reviews and purchase at tinyurl.com/daughtersofdistance

Will you be our next Daughter of Distance? 

Interested in being featured as a Daughter of Distance? Shoot me an email at vanessaruns@gmail.com.

This is a project to feature one woman in endurance each week on social media. The goal is to connect strong women across sports and across the world in celebration and appreciation. Each Daughter of Distance will receive a copy of my book, Daughters of Distance: Stories of Women in Endurance Sports.

And don’t forget to tag your photos and stories with #daughtersofdistance to connect to this awesome community.

See you on the singletrack!


You May Also Enjoy:

How to Balance Endurance Training and Family: Tips & Tricks for Parents

Milk-Dispensing Mamas

Menopause Management Tips for the Active Endurance Athlete


Other Books:

The Summit Seeker