Episode 070: Stacey Shand -- Ultra-distance athlete and adventurer


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What we cover: "I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." -- Robert Frost

Today’s guest is Stacey Shand. If there is a woman more easy to have a Girl Crush on that Stacey Shand, I have yet to meet her.

Stacey is an ultra-extreme endurance athlete and adventurer. She is affectionately known as ‘Racey Stacey’, and she has been keeping a promise she made to herself from her hospital bed following a near tragic auto accident a number of years ago. When she was faced with the realities of what could have been, she vowed never to take her physical abilities -- her physical and mental strength -- whatever that might look like, for granted again. She went from being virtually inactive and even skipping gym class… to giving her first 5km a try at the age of 25… to the woman she is today – someone who has done approximately 100 marathons, and a woman intent on completing what are known as the toughest races on the planet. I’m not just talking about Ironman, I’m talking about Ultraman and Marathon de Sables and Badwater.

One of the things she and I talk about is the idea of "the road not taken” – a concept popularized by the poet Robert Frost. So for this episode, I dug out my copy – a copy I have cherished since the mid-1980s when the dad of my best friend Erin – his name was Gordon Simons – was dying and he knew I wanted to be a writer and he shared that his favourite writer was Robert Frost, and he gave me two of his collections. The following year, this poem was read at his funeral. I have it here – so if it’s been a while since you’ve really considered the words and the message, here it is:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.


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