Cassie Todtenhagen, Product Manager for HVAC, and Maddy Griffin, Key Account Manager for the Pacific region, are JM Athletes, best friends and often train and run together. Both participated in the Beaverhead Trail Run 2020, a mountain ultra-trail race. Maddy did the 100K distance, Cassie ran the 55K. Most people can’t even imagine what it’s like to run these long distances. We asked Cassie and Maddy why they run and about their motivation.
Maddy: I run for so many reasons. Number 1: being that I get to train and share a passion with my best friend and fellow JM employee, Cassie. Second, I always used to put restrictions on what I thought I could and couldn’t do, and running was something I never thought I could do. Now, I see every race and every mile as proving myself wrong, because in reality, I don’t have any restrictions on what I can do. I ran the Beaverhead 55K last year, and even though I came out with stitches in my head and broken arm (and fifth place!), I knew I wanted to come back and prove myself wrong and do the 100K.
Cassie: For me the reasons why I continue to run are truly captured in JM’s Core Values:
- People: The many friends - inside and outside of JM - that I’ve gained from the shared connection of running is unbelievable. The support from my community when I needed it most is the main reason I am still running today. Maddy has been a rock when it comes to getting over my fear of running and keeping me accountable to my training. My friends and family helped me push and grow my limits both physically and mentally.
- Passion: Pushing the limits and finding something that I truly enjoy and can share with those around me, going the extra mile in both my work and personal life. These lessons can be as small as telling myself “Just 5 more minutes and you can be done” all the way through planning and executing a large project over months.
- Perform: I am committed to always improving my running and in ways that don’t always seem obvious. The first time I ran a mile without stopping was an amazing achievement that I celebrated with equal excitement to my race finish. Performance needs to be sustainable, and I take pride in the small achievements knowing that they will lead to bigger outcomes down the road.
- Protect: Running can be a very dangerous sport if you do not take care of your body or prepare for a big run properly. I have done extensive research to learn about proper body mechanics, fuel, and route preparation to ensure I can continue to run safely for many years to come. Additionally, because I wear a running vest it is easy for me to pick up trash left on the trails to help protect and clean our world.
Extra mile with a smile: “It was so worth it”
Maddy and Cassie both finished the Beaverhead Trail Run and that experience was very emotional as they told us afterwards:
Maddy: It went amazing! I did the 100K in 15 hours and 41 min with first in my age group and fifth overall women and a Western States qualification. I beat my goal time of 19 hours by 3 hours and 20 mins. The 100K was definitely the toughest thing I’ve ever done. There were points near the end on the boulder field where I wanted to quit from the burning calves and the burning sun, but I knew it would be worth it in the end. The best things in life don’t come easy, and I had the best support team in the world behind me. My family and friends were texting me the whole way through. The best part was standing on the ridge and just taking in everything. The hardest part was easily the 8,800 feet of elevation gain! Definitely sore, probably going to lose some toenails, but it was so worth it.
Cassie: The race went really well. I finished in 11 hours and 19 minutes which was 2.5 hours faster than last year! This race was a mix of emotions. While on the course I felt happy, scared, angry, loved, and strong. The last 11 miles of the course are the most challenging - physically and mentally. There is a 3-mile scree/boulder field, and then the last 8 miles consist of a steep downhill rocky trail (about 6,000 ft of elevation decline over 8 miles). The race coordinators did an excellent job with setting the race up for social distancing: masks were required in all areas where other people were present, packet pick up was no contact, the aid stations were no contact, and for many parts of the course I couldn’t see another runner in front or behind me. The overall experience was incredible. To have the support of friends and family to help get through training and over the finish line is the only reason I made it. My overall impression of the run is balance. Experiencing the beautiful outdoors while taking care of the trails, participating in a race surrounded by a supportive community while also maintaining social distancing and altering our normal to keep everyone safe, a healthy combination of laughing and crying, and most of all finding my limits and still pushing through until the end. I am so proud of myself and Maddy for getting to that finish line safely and with a smile.
Maddy and Cassie, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Great to see how the JM family is going the #JMextraMile at work and in sports. This is when we are in our element. We are excited to hear about your future adventures.
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