Jacky Hunt-Broersma is an amputee trail runner and member of the Altra Red Team. This August, she is running the TransRockies 3 Day Stage Race in Colorado
08-12-2019 By: Jacky Hunt-Broersma
Jacky Hunt-Broersma is an amputee trail runner and member of the Altra Red team. This August, she is running the Transrockies 3 Day Stage Race in Colorado.
“I first heard about TransRockies last year on social media. Someone posted about having completed this amazing Stage Race in Colorado and I immediately added the race to my bucket list. It looked absolutely amazing and it just looked like so much fun and I thought, fantastic, I am going to sign-up” says Jacky. Unfortunately, the race was already sold out. Jacky was totally bummed. She thought that she would need to wait until 2020 to be able to run this race, but in March 2019 she spotted a post on Instagram. It was a contest through Hylands and they were doing this amazing giveaway. A chance to run the TransRockies as part of the Hylands team.
“I couldn’t believe that they would actually be giving away an entry to this race. I jumped at the chance and naturally entered the contest” says Jacky. It wasn’t an easy contest to enter. She had to answer a lot of questions about her trail running experience, her racing and she even had to be interviewed before they made the decision about who would be on the team. “I honestly didn’t think I would be chosen, because I thought that they would choose a more experienced trail runner. When I got a phone call confirming that I had won and that I would be running TransRockies, I screamed and cried a little. I was so excited.” she says, but then the panic hit her.
How do you even train for a Stage Race and a race at altitude? Jacky was nervous but set out to answer that question.
Living in Cary, North Carolina isn’t flat, but there aren’t any mountains, which means Jacky had to be creative with her training. Sometimes it meant that she had to repeat the same loop over and over on her long runs just to get the vert in or if she couldn’t find enough vert then she would put her treadmill on 12% incline and run 2 x 2-hour sessions on it. Normally one in the morning and one in the evening.
Another challenge she had was with altitude training. She lives at 384 feet above sea level. A big change from the mountains in Colorado, the she hopped the heat and humidity would make up for her lack of altitude training. Race day will be the test to see how her body reacts to altitude and she’s excited to test her body against high altitude, mountain conditions.
Jacky will be the first amputee running Transrockies, although a few other amputee runners have taken on other stage races. What makes stage races more difficult for amputees are that they struggle more with recovery after each stage. Her stump always takes a beating on long runs and the terrain makes it more difficult for the blade to run on. There is potential for so many other things to go wrong on top of what “normal” runners go through so Jacky always brings duct tape just in case.
Jacky is super excited to take on TransRockies, especially because of its nickname “summer camp for big kids.” Fellow adventurous runners and the views are two of the things that she is really excited about. In addition, a race like this gets her closer to her dream of running Western States 100 someday.
Jacky has been doing a lot of research about the TransRockies and stage races and she has spoken to many people to pick their brains for advice, but what is most important to Jacky is planning and nutrition as they go hand in hand. “You have to make sure that you know exactly what you are going to eat and drink, because you don’t want to fall behind with your nutrition. Every day affects the performance of the next day so you need to plan your meals and hydration properly.”
She has been doing lots of back-to-back-to-back runs so she’s prepared to run, recover, repeat. In addition to being prepared for ever-changing mountain weather, Jacky is also focused on proper footwear. “I rely heavily on my right foot, because most of my grip comes from one shoe. The grip on my blade isn’t made for trails which means I will put a lot of pressure on my right side. For the longer days I will be wearing my Altra Lone Peaks, which are more cushioned. I will use my Superior 4s for the days where there are steeper climbs, because I need the extra grip for the downhills.” she says.