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Interview with rising star marathoner Becky Wade

becky wadeBecky Wade, at only 26, is set to rise to stardom in the international running community. Not only did she run a marathon debut of 2:30:41 at the tender age of 24, the Texan is also in the midst of writing a book about global running culture.

After graduating from Rice University, where she studied history, psychology and sociology, Becky Wade secured a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a grant designed for college graduates that show unique promise. The fellowship offers recipients the opportunity to travel for one year outside the United States and pursue a project of their own choice and design.

“It just seemed natural for me to look more closely into running,” Wade says. “It interests me on so many different levels.” During her year abroad, she visited 22 different countries, ran approximately 5,600K and wore out 11 pairs of shoes.

She is currently in the process of weaving together her travel experiences into a book with the runner_becky_wadetentative title Going the Distance. She’s also training for the U.S. Marathon Championships.

Canadian Running got the chance to chat with Becky about her forthcoming book.

CR: What were some of the most memorable moments on the trip?

BW: That’s so hard to say—there were so many. I met so many amazing people and saw so many beautiful places. If I had to choose, I’d say Ethiopia really stuck out to me. It was so wildly different than any place I’d ever been. I had to drop all my habits and assumptions while I was there.

CR: What were you hoping to discover throughout your travels?

BW: I really just wanted to explore the culture of running. I looked at different training styles in different places, did some races, a lot of watching and a lot of interviewing. I wanted to see how running is different in various geographical regions, as well as how it is the same around the world.

CR: How is the writing going?

BW: I’m almost halfway through writing [the book] now. The completed manuscript is due in October, so it has really been my big focus outside of running right now. Even though the book is an exploration of my own travels, I’m trying to avoid making it about me. If I had to call it something, I’d say it’s more like a travel narrative, with some elements of a training log and some recipes thrown in. I want it to be a travel guide for runners that shares the stories of running around the world. I want my book to give specific tips and details that will be helpful for people that do want to check out these places. I’m focusing on ten major countries.

CR: What’s up for training now?

BW: I’m about two weeks away from the L.A. Marathon. It’s the U.S. Marathon Championships event this year. It hasn’t been the perfect buildup, but it’s the marathon so I’m not sure it ever is. This will only be my second marathon ever and I’m running alone, so those thoughts are a bit daunting, but mostly I’m excited. I’ve been with the same coach (who coached me throughout college) for eight years now, so I’m very comfortable with my training program.

We’re excited to read Going the Distance as well as follow Wade’s running achievements. You can follow her on twitter @bexwade89.