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Running on

Jen Segger leaving Quest



Early last Monday morning, the streets in Squamish belonged mostly to the rain, sheets and surges of it lashing store windows and peppering puddles, no movement but for a few cars and Greyhound busses.

And Jen Segger. The endurance athlete ran from her house in Amble Path to the Chief, and then back again, all before dawn began to break.

"I usually put in a solid two hours before work most days," she said over coffee a few hours later. "And it's usually in the dark."

She laughed when she said that, which isn't much of surprise. This is a woman who trains four times a day, whose e-mails are enthused by exclamation marks. The Duncan-born endurance athlete is an international success, one who has applied her skills in places like Mexico, Costa Rica and, in recent years, the Sea to Sky corridor.

All that expertise landed her a job at Quest University as recreation programmer and coach. Almost two years ago, when the school was just opening its doors, she joined three other people in the department, and their office was bare except for a desk.

"I wanted to be a part of it," she remembers.

But that same desk wound up pushing her out the door. This week is her last at the private university in Garibaldi Highlands, and Segger is preparing to return to her business, training and competitions. When her boss was promoted to vice president, she found herself spending more and more time behind that desk, and less and less working with varsity teams and other aspiring athletes.

"It became so desk-oriented - very administrative," she said. "It meant I couldn't work with the teams anymore. I feel like my strengths are working with people. My passion is doing stuff with them, training them."

And so Segger resigned, though not with a sour heart. She was able to apply her sizeable skill set, a professional framework that includes a degree in recreation and tourism management a plethora of certifications for all kinds of training avenues. She spent time tooling yoga and mountain biking programs, working with basketball teams and coordinating travel for school athletes.

"It was awesome," she said.

But now it's over. And with closure up the hill comes opportunity most everywhere else. She'll be focusing anew on her company, Challenge by Choice Coaching, which focuses on high performance trail racing and mountain biking, among other things. Some sessions she offers are introductory, while others push athletes into more arduous personal tests, like Comfortably Numb or Stormy.

She's also looking to put together a team for the seven-day Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.

"It's life changing," she said. "It really is."

And she'll continue to work with Impossible2Possible, a non-profit that ties recreation with environmental stewardship. Under those auspices, she'll be doing the Vancouver Island Epic race this spring.

Finally, she'll return with renewed gusto to her personal pursuits. She'll continue to race with Dart Moon, her Washington-based team, who have a world championship coming up in Portugal. Also on the horizon is Rock and Ice, a seven-day marathon in Yellowknife. Two weeks after that, she'll be off to Costa Rica for another race.

"I feel like if I'm not pursuing this other half of myself, I'm not going to be fulliflled."