My name is Kara Leinweber and I am the Race Director of The Lewiston Ultra.
I am a trailrunner, road runner, mountain runner and ultra marathon runner. I am a mom to two incredible boys that are full of personality & talent and a wife to an extremely kind and giving husband. I am fortunate and forever grateful to be involved in many trail and road run communities in Calgary and beyond and am an ambassador with Lululemon, 5 Peaks Trail Series, Apex Massage & Skratch Energy Labs. I believe 100% in giving back/contributing to community; I will always offer up my time, support & energy to others because that is how my momma raised me. I am also one of two volunteer Race Directors for the Moose Mountain Trail Races. In the midst of all of this & my own training, I work full time in the Oil & Gas sector. For the most part I have been able to juggle life and am energized by an incredible family & extended family. I have had the wind knocked out of me when I unexpectedly had to say good bye to my 5 week old niece from a genetic disease, my brother after a tragic car accident and my oldest son was born with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery at 7 days old and nearly two months of living at the hospital. I take nothing for granted and I live each day fully and mindfully as possible.
I have been involved in trail running & community for more than a decade and dreamt of hosting my own sanctioned trail race event. I searched many years for the perfect trail system and envisioned what race day would look like while I trained for my own ultra marathon events. In 2013, I incorporated One Cycle Spin Studio into my cross training and this is when Jessica Janzen crossed my path (Lewiston’s momma). I attended many of her classes and was attracted to her energy and enthusiasm. She was unwavering and I definitely turned up the dial when she prompted me to spin my heart out and give it my all.
My family purchased a home in Sicamous, British Columbia in June 2015 & I immediately started searching out the trail community and trail running options in the area. I came across the Larch Hills Traverse trail and surrounding trail system and pretty much fell to my knees; it was stunning, it was real life Narnia, lush, giving, peaceful and a hidden paradise. I immediately reached out to the welcoming trail community and started brain storming. Several skype, phone and emails later, we had a rough course map and a dream that I was running straight for. The race was about community – showcasing the trails, the support network & sharing a memorable and inspiring day.
In the heart of all of this, I heard of Jessica’s gorgeous baby boy, Lewiston James. One of the communities I am fortunate to call family was coming together to support this precious baby as he was diagnosis with SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). My heart ached and immediately I signed my husband and I to attend the first fundraising spin class at One Cycle Spin studio. We cried and we spun our hearts out. When we came out of the class, Ronnie Olstad was in the lobby with baby Lewiston in his pram. My husband immediately went to Ronnie and they shook hands and shared conversation. I will find out in the car ride home that they grew up in the same community, their parents were connected and Ronnie played on the same baseball teams as my husband’s brother. We were shaken at how close we are all connected. I remember settling for bed the same evening, captivated by how we are all connected and this precious innocent baby. How can I help? What can I do? Without a second thought I said to my husband, the race should be called The Lewiston Ultra. The race was about rising up, giving back, supporting one other and a cause bigger than you or I. I had the race course, the community and the purpose and now we had heart; a reason to run towards your roar, push past your limits and push forward. I wanted to give back to what was soon to be The Lewiston Foundation.
After several emails, texts, meetings and phone calls between Jessica & Ronnie Olstad, I am honored to present The Lewiston Ultra. Ronnie and Jess were on board without hesitation and started planning who would be on each of their relay teams and who was faster. These two are competitive and it will be an interesting race day. I was drilled with what trail shoes were the fastest, what gear to purchase and what tricks I willing to share. They are unstoppable & committed, and I am more than grateful to bring some joy with this trail race event. Side note, don’t mess with them on race day – they mean business!
The Lewiston Ultra will give back to the Shuswap Trail Alliance & will honour Lewiston’s legacy and introduce Lewiston to the trail community and beyond. The Lewiston Ultra is about no limits, no restrictions, going for it and knowing there is community behind you every step of the way. The Lewiston Ultra is about each & every one of you that has contributed and/or will participate in race day. It will be a day full of memories and moments that matter.
I am forever grateful for this community, the health & love to push myself and all the encouragement and support along the way.
I can’t wait to see you at the start line!