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2019 Golden Shoe Awards: Trail Runner of the Year–Kathryn Drew

Kat Drew had a year of exceptional results on the ultratrail scene

For many years, Kathryn Drew has been one of Canada’s most talented endurance trail athletes, but in 2019 she started turning heads beyond our national borders, too. She rang in the new year in January by going straight for a Western States Golden Ticket at the Bandera 100K race in Texas, where although she only finished in third place, she still made a name for herself by beating 2016 Western States winner, Kaci Lickteig. A few months later she won the prestigious Chuckanut 50K, which saw the snowiest conditions Drew had experienced in her six years racing there.

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Western States 100mile!! It’s hard to put into words what an incredible day this was. There were so many things that made it special but the most important to me was my crew. I can’t say enough about these amazing people who took time off work and came out to support me through this 100 mile journey. I couldn’t have done it without them. Whether it was Pre-race organizing, shoving calories at me, spraying me with sunscreen (sometimes right in my eyes 😝), changing my shoes or making a Beastie Boys music video at mile 80, this group ensured I was set and ready (and in great spirits) to run 100 miles. They helped me squeak in under 19hours and landed a spot as 8th female – which means I get an automatic entry for next year! Woo! I’m forever grateful to @runningwithboris @capmodel @codycallon @peak_power @jessebooi @aldipsn @supersocco and Jeremey for coming on this adventure with me! . The power pack of women was back! The women’s field was insane this year and it was so fun to get to run with so many of them – especially through the snowy patches at the start. A special shout out to @kaytlyn_g and @ladiahallie for keeping the energy high and working together after dusty corners ❤️(Yay for pnw women!) Also, A huge congrats to my fellow Canadian @magnusgoatrunner for finishing top 20 and powering through a tough day! . Getting to see coach @addiedoesstuff and @meg_runs_happy at the 100k mark for an ever so helpful pep talk and at the finish line was another highlight- David encouraged me to pursue this goal of running Western, and Im so grateful that he has always pushed me to ‘dream big'! Thanks to both of you for being such an awesome duo that brings so much joy to the running community! . @wser you put on an incredible event and have some of the best volunteers and aid stations out there. It’s hard not to stop and hang out with them all day! Can’t wait to come back next year 🤗 . A HUGE thanks to @kintecfootwear and @pipvass for believing in me and giving me support towards these races- especially Western States! #worldatmyfeet #wser #westernstates100 #kintecfootwear #katfromcanada #gottabekd #teamswap #trailrunning #intergalactic

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In April, Drew headed south again, to snag a Golden Ticket by winning Canyons 100K. Her Western States taper kicked off with a quick three-day trip to Portugal to race 44K and represent Canada for the second time at the Trail Running World Championships.

RELATED: Kat from Canada crushes competitive 100K

The first half of 2019 rounded out with Drew’s incredible performance at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. At mile 80, Drew and her crew broke out in a dance party on the trail, and she still finished in eighth place with a time of 18:59:08 in a record-breaking year. After some recovery, Drew raced to first after falling three times at the Valley to Vertikiller 25K race. 

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Im not usually a clumsy person but falling in races has turned out to be my specialty! I raced Valley VertiKILLER 25k last weekend and although it is a super fun (and hard) course, I slipped off a wooden bridge ~5km in and took a dive into a small creek. I didn’t notice any pain at first, so I continued on (breathing deeply was a bit of a challenge). I was able to finish the race, thanks to my pal adrenaline, and the pain showed up afterwards. Turns out my ribs are injured/possibly broken, and I will need to chill out a bit until the pain eases. I still had a great time at the race – the volunteers were especially amazing, and the finish line was top notch! It has been a fairly rocky process getting back into some solid training since the summer, but here's to hoping this is the last hurdle! 🤞🏼 . 📷 @muehlebachdaniel #worldatmyfeet #kintecfootwear #valleyvertikiller25k #slipperyseal

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RELATED: Western States’ fastest Canadian dances to top 10

If the running world didn’t know who Kat from Canada was before 2019, they do now.