Name: Brenna Coupland
Occupation: Chef and Ultra Trail Runner
Date of birth: November 12, 1988
Hometown: Winnipeg, Canada
Latest achievements: Canadian Death Race, 125km trail run in Grand Cache, Alberta. Winning age category.
Twitter handle: brenna_odette
Sponsors: Tailwind Nutrition, IamSuperbar, Hemptons, Zone Fitness, Soul Running, EqualsFit, Culture Club Cheese
Karoo Running (KR) - What is it that you love about trail running?
I find the trails always give me what it is I need, whether it’s a few hours of peace on my own, or an energizing run in the woods. Sometimes the trail gives me space to think and work things out in my mind, and other times I can think about nothing at all and just enjoy being very human out there.
KR - How did you become a trail runner?
I was a long distance cyclist for years then set a goal of finishing a half marathon in January 2015. I caught the running bug and naturally latched onto longer distances. When I picked up a few injuries, I turned to trail running since it was much less damaging on my body.
KR - What is your favorite trail?
It’s hard to choose! I love running in the Cederberg and recently had a phenomenal time running in the Canadian Rockies. Otherwise, any trail that leads to a forested single track is my absolute favourite.
KR - What are you recommendations for trail running beginners?
Pack the essentials, bring snacks and invest in some decent trail running gear (shoes and pack)! At the heart of trail running is self-sufficiency, so if you’re comfortable out there and are ready for the weather and trail conditions to vary, you’ll have a much better time.
KR - What is your favorite trail running gear? (ex: Shoes, Hydration pack, headlamp,socks)
Shoes – Salomon Speedcross 3’s. I just bought my 2nd pair right before the 4’s came out, so I’d be interested in seeing how the 4’s compare. Those might be my next investment!
Hydration – CamelBak Marathoner. I’ve tried so many bags and this is the only one that hasn’t caused any chaffing.
Buff – I have a collection. Don’t we all?
KR - What is an average day of trail running for you?
It always changes. I recently moved to Grabouw and my new schedule means I have to run whenever I get a break in the day. But whether it’s early morning or mid day or just before dinner, I jog 500m on the road and then I’m right in the mountains. I like to change my route enough to keep things interesting, so sometimes I run a more undulating route around the dam, and other times I pick a koppie and run as high as I can until I have to turn around.
KR - What is your longest distance you have done in a trail?
135km in December 2015. It was the first 7 Passes Ultra Marathon and there were just 2 of us running! This year was 125km at the Canadian Death Race.
KR - How much do you eat when you are training?
I tend to eat quite a bit during my highest training periods – mostly after sessions rather than before or during. I’m a huge believer in nutrition for recovery and supporting your progress with good, real food.
KR - What do you take with you on your long runs? (ex: gels,fruits, snacks, salt tabs)
If I’m training for an ultra, I’ll likely pack a couple boiled eggs, nuts, hemp seeds and/or some homemade banting bread. If I want to do a bit of high intensity intervals, I’ll bring some carbohydrates like Tailwind Nutrition and a Superbar. I often make my own trail bars with dates, hemp and chocolate.
KR- Do you have a favourite running app? If so, which one and why?
Strava – I love the community aspect. So many runners around Cape Town use it, as well as my friends in Canada, so connecting with other runners and finding new routes is really easy. I also do a lot of cross training and cycling, and I appreciate that Strava lets me track that alongside my running.
KR- Have you ever been to the Karoo?
Yes, I have a friend who lives on a farm on the edge of the Karoo National Park and I spent a weekend there last Easter. I had just gotten over a flu but was able to take a few easy runs on the trails while I was there.
KR - When you hear the word "Karoo", what is the first thing that come to mind, other than wide open ard space?
When I think of the Karoo, I think of one wonderful run I did in a valley between these stunning hills. It led me out to the top of some huge boulders on the edge of a cliff which dropped off into the national park. It was absolutely surreal.
KR - Thank you very much for sharing your time, experience and knowledge with us, we truly appreciate it, and hope to see you on some Karoo trails soon.
Top - Death Race Doug Sloane
Bottom - Chris Walley