Altra R.E.D. Team Ambassadors Zachary Friedly and Meg Fisher are para-athletes who have found their strides on and off the trails. While one found peace and solace in stepping back from competition, the other thrived at the highest levels in the World Championships and Olympic Games. Both credit their lost limbs with helping them discover just what they needed. 





Dr. Meg Fisher hiking on a scree field



I have achieved more with one leg than I ever would have with two. 

If someone took one of your legs tomorrow, what do you think your life would become?  Would you give up?  More than one person has told me that if they lost a limb, they think they would rather die than continue living.  This comment always makes me pause.  What are they trying to say?  That they can't imagine living in my shoes?  Is that a compliment or a glimpse into their psyche? 

My life after losing my leg and sustaining a life-threatening traumatic brain injury is far richer and grander than anything I could have imagined.  In the nearly twenty years since my injury, I have earned gold and silver medals at the London 2012 Games, then silver and bronze medals at the Rio 2016 Games as part of Team USA.  During my tenure with Team USA, I won ten world championships. Since retiring from Team USA, I have summitted some of the highest peaks in Ecuador including Cotopaxi at 19,374', and I became the first person with a physical impairment to finish the grueling 200-mile gravel race called Unbound, formerly known as Dirty Kanza.  I am also the first female parathelete to finish an XTERRA triathlon, which led me to win two World Championships in Maui.  

I believe we are all more capable than we know, and I take every opportunity to prove that to myself, my patients, and clients.     

All that said, please know that living with limb loss is challenging. Access to prosthetic care is an obstacle, and the cost of prosthetic limbs economically limits many people.  I am honored to volunteer with The Range of Motion Project (ROMP), an organization that aims to provide access for those in need.   


I believe we are all more capable than we know, and I take every opportunity to prove that to myself, my patients, and clients. 

     - Dr. Meg Fisher


Like any athlete, I wear many hats.  I work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in my hometown of Missoula, MT and internationally for a professional cycling team.  I also keep busy as a coach and motivational speaker.  When I'm not doing those things, I train for long distance gravel and mountain bike events as a sponsored cyclist.  My favorite training partner is my dog, Pax. 

There is no way to know how my life would look if my accident had not happened.  There is no way to know, and I refuse to waste my time wondering.  This is my life now, and I'm going to live it.


Check out all the incredible ways Meg enjoys life at @megfisher




Zachary Friedley standing at the top of a canyon



As a congenital amputee born missing most of my right leg above the knee, I grew up as an athletic kid who gravitated towards competitive sports. I always wanted to be the best at what I did. I wanted to win. 

I was a wrestler as a kid, and a good one too. Then, at age 22 I received my first "blade,” which opened up a new world of running to me. I even competed at several Para-level track meets between 2008-2014, attempting to make the Paralympic team. I never even came close. In my frustration of not being able to “make the team,” not being able to win, I just thought that running was over for me. I wasn’t good enough. It was simply not meant to be. 

As my athletic career derailed, so did many other things in my 20s. I had a life that on paper must have looked great, but inside I felt directionless: I didn’t know who or what I wanted to be, but I knew I needed to find out. I dropped all my athletic goals, and shortly after taking one of my last steps on a track I left Kansas City, where I had lived all my life, and moved to Philadelphia to nanny two young girls who had just lost their mother. The experience was life-changing, but when the school year was up, I knew I had to keep moving and searching...which is how I found myself working on a farm, deep in the mountains of Humboldt County, California several months later.  

The work I did on that farm challenged my body in ways I hadn’t ever considered and maybe never thought possible before that. I began to use my body differently: less to be an elite athlete, and more as a means to survive. I dusted off the old track blade and begin running around those mountain hills, and as I did, I started to understand what it was like to move in my body without a goal of making some sort of team or satisfying my ego.


"It was in this moment that my own past experiences and my future goals came into focus. Movement is not about winning. It is about living."

     - Zachary Friedley


The missing jigsaw piece in my own journey to find my way back into my body - to embody who I am - occurred in the summer of 2015, when I moved to Mendocino, CA and met a shaman known for his somatic bodywork. This bodywork changed the way I physically and energetically inhabited my body, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could really MOVE with ease, without pain, and without inhibition. I started running on beaches, trails, streets, everywhere...and broke all my prosthetics in this process.  

For the first time in my life, I understood what it really meant to not have the ability to physically move. 

It was in this moment that my own past experiences and my future goals came into focus. Movement is not about winning. It is about living. At 22, I thought my worth was defined by medals and championships and accolades. Sitting on a Mendocino beach, looking down at yet another broken prosthetic leg a decade later I almost had to laugh: all I REALLY needed was reliable leg tech, a trail, and the clarity to be grateful for the abundance I had all around me in my life.   

It’s now 2021 and I recently ran my first Ultramarathon in Utah. I DNF’d at 24.4 miles and it was honestly THE BEST RUN OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. 15 years ago, I know I would have felt differently, thinking that not crossing that finish line was somehow a failure. But these days running is something I do for me, to explore my own limits and hopefully inspire others as I move through the trail and the world. I am also working on my nonprofit Mendocino Movement Project, to support people of all abilities, limbs, and levels to get out there and move. I can’t wait to see how far we can go.  

And in the meantime, there are more ultra-races on my horizon, like the Lake Sonoma 50-miler later this year, and many in between. I have a bad-ass Team USA running coach, awesome sponsors, an unbelievable prosthetics team, my support crew of friends and loved ones around me, and I’m doing what I love. Every day I get to wake up and run IS a win all on its own. And that feels pretty good to me. 


You can see the miles of trails Zachary covers on his Instagram account: @zachary_movement