A fleet-footed Invermere woman sparked Columbia Valley pride by winning the women’s Calgary marathon on May 25th, then followed up this victory by winning the local Crazy Soles Trail Run at Nipika Mountain Resort on June 1st.

Eileen Madson Primary school teacher Nadyia Fry set a strong pace in Calgary, finishing the marathon in two hours, 51 minutes and 36 seconds.

“This is the first time I got to break the (winner’s) ribbon in a marathon,” Fry said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

The win comes after three podium finishes for Fry in her previous three marathons. She was second in the Victoria marathon and the Manitoba marathon last year, and third in the Victoria marathon the year before that.

Fry finished two minutes and 44 seconds ahead of second-place woman Alice Ndirgangu, from Calgary, and ten minutes and 31 second ahead of third-place woman Andrea Glover, from Nanton. The race had about 1000 runners finish the full  42-kilometre marathon and an additional 300 or so complete the half marathon, and Fry’s time was good enough for ninth overall.

Winning was unanticipated, said Fry, who spent most of the race in second, slipping past Ndirgangu at the 36-kilometre mark and hanging in for a tricky finale.

“I was a little worried when there was four kilometers to go. I was exhausted and hurting, maybe because I was wearing a new pair of socks,” she said. “But at the same time I knew I was sooo close.”

Despite the streak of podium finishes, Fry says she focuses more on her pace than her results, since results often depend not on personal performance but on how many good runners decide to enter a given race.

“I try to set my goals for times rather than places because that’s all I can control,” she said. “Winning is not something I try to think about.”

Fry is also an avid trail runner, along with her equally speedy partner Jakub Sumbera. Indeed, the couple handily won both the men’s and women’s 25-kilometre Crazy Soles run at Nipika this past Saturday. Sumbera ran at a blistering clip and finished in one hour 36 minutes and 30 seconds, absolutely shattering the previous course record. Fry won the women’s race in 1 hour 50 minutes and one second and came third overall.

“I didn’t expect to go that fast. So I was pretty happy with the time,” said Sumbera, who works at Crazy Soles Running/Yoga Store in Invermere. The store organizes the race together with Nipika.

Running is the couple’s shared passion, according to Fry, adding that Sumbera’s support is what keeps her going. They mix trail runs and regular long distance runs, both in the East Kootenay and further afield. In the last few years one or both of them have run (and frequently won or finished on the podium), the Crazy Soles, the Headbanger Challenge in Radium, Tears and Gears in Fernie, the Powderface 42 trail run in Canmore, Round the Mountain in Kimberley and the Whistler Enduro trail run, among other races.

“Anything that’s local and unique or in a great location,” said Fry, adding she enjoys the concentration of trail running, which involves twisting courses, steep climbs or descents and keeping an eye out for roots, stones and other obstacles, all while passing though spectacular scenery.

“I really like the peace of mind I get when trail running. It’s just amazing to be out in nature. It’s kind of like meditation. You don’t think about anything,” she said. “There’s just such beauty that you’ve covered only by foot.”

“I just like the challenge of running on trails — the harder the better. It’s not boring because it’s constantly changing,” Sumbera said.

The couple lived in New Zealand before moving to the Columbia Valley a few years ago. Sumbera has raced for a long time, but Fry only started running competitively recently, getting hooked by a successful 2010 Calgary half marathon.

“I got the buzz that it’s exciting to meet time goals and go beyond them,” she said.

In other Crazy Soles categories, Anna Koevoet won the women’s 10-kilometre race, Andrew Douglas took the men’s 10-kilometre, Lisa Cochran was top of pack in the women’s five-kilometre, Jonas Aksland was first in the men’s five-kilometre, Noah Schuh won the 10 to 13 year old five-kilometre run and Devin Woodworth was first in the six to nine year old three-kilometre race. The race had 211 participants.