Earlier this year, we spoke with Jessica Leska of Fort McMurray, Alberta, following her 200km, four-day journey through the wilderness surrounding her community, Wood Buffalo, Alberta. She completed the entire run self-supported, which meant she had no aid stations or helpers along the way and had to carry everything she needed for eating and sleeping on a sled that she dragged behind her. A photographer and cameraman followed her along behind her to document her run and the final short film of the experience was released on Thursday.
Along the way, Leska battles unseasonable conditions while rediscovering her home and the community that has been there all along. Her goal for the film was to showcase the beauty of the area she lives in and to show that it’s more than just an oil town, which she certainly accomplishes. Running through forests and up mountains, she shows viewers a different side of Fort McMurray than they’ve likely seen in the news, and talks about the resilience of her community.
“We’ve been through so much as a community and it’s what motivated me,” she says in the film. “I chose to do it when we had the flood, and all I could think of was how strong we are and how I wanted to be able to convey that.”
The same goal is what motivated Leska to start her Instagram page, @sherunsnorth. She uses her page to share the beauty of her home and to motivate others to get out into nature, and has now started a thriving trail running community in the area. She hopes the film will be given a spot in next year’s Banff Film Festival, so she can share her journey with even more people.