Wildway Crew Stories: Catrina McAlister (Distance Running)

Wildway Crew Stories: Catrina McAlister (Distance Running)

Our Wildway Crew highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things.


Within each of us lies the potential to live life to the fullest. We have the ability to choose our own destiny, live without fear or limits, challenge ourselves and grow, do and be whatever makes us happy. We have the ability to be free. It's how you live a Wildway of life and there are people all around us inspiring others with their actions. We want to celebrate that by highlighting and honoring those who #LiveWild.  (More on that here)


Meet this week's featured Wildway Crew member:



Catrina McAlister

San Clemente, California
Wildway of Life = I'm a distance runner, seeking the Olympic Trials, challenging boundaries, and hoping to inspire people to never give up.
Outlook = Keep running.  Run to the unknown, run to your deepest fear, run through it all, but most of all remember who runs your world: you.

Wildway of Choice = Hot Cereal

Meet Catrina.  After being kicked off her high school track team for wanting to practice with the boys, Catrina went on to accept a scholarship to run for the University of Colorado at Boulder.  There, she suffered a series of injuries that left her defeated and doubting herself.  She took some time off to heal and refocus, got back into running, and now Catrina has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics.  She has a can't stop/won't stop attitude that we love, and we are proud to be cheering her on as she races her way to Tokyo.

Here is Catrina's story in her own words:

"The wonderful thing about adventures, is that they never really end. Every finish line becomes the start line of a new journey. And if you believe you can do anything, adventures become who you are.   And while I have had so many adventures, the only thing that has consistently taken me to places I never could have imagined is running.

Running had become my life and future: winning races, getting college letters to countless schools, being invited to races and running camps all around the country.  It was a journey I never imagined could take me so many places.

I decided my freshman year of high school that playing frisbee with the girls' team wasn't going to make me a good distance runner.  At the time, the girls' team workouts were more about making friends, playing games, stretching, and jogging short distances. The girls' workouts were also more about the team as a whole, not how you could individually improve. Because of this, if we did run, we weren't allowed to run too fast, because then the team wouldn't be "together." It made it difficult for any of us to get faster, we were all holding each other back.

Meanwhile, the boys' team adventured on trail runs, endured hard workouts with long runs and repeats, and were given specific times to run in order to help each runner improve as an individual. 

When my Mom suggested I go run with the boys' team, I thought she was crazy.  A year later, when I was running in the front pack, surrounded by the varsity boys' team (a soon to be State and National Champion Team) everyone else thought I was crazy too.  The girls on the team took to bullying me, my principal told me it was against the law, and the Superintendent advised me that I was a girl and 'girls can't run the way boys do because their hips are too weak.'

Unfortunately, I was eventually kicked off the team because I refused to go to the girls' practices. It didn't seem right to me that the boys' team was allowed to run and work hard, but the girls were cautioned and confined. By then I was on my way to college, I had broken countless records, and was ready to start a new journey. They couldn't hold me back.  


When I signed a scholarship to run for The University of Colorado at Boulder, I couldn't have been more thrilled. It was, and still is, one of the the best cross-country teams in the nation, and has produced more Olympic track athletes than any other school. But, as I journeyed through my years and seasons, I became plagued with an unforgiving series of injuries. My days became dark and I started to doubt myself.

But I couldn't stop running.  There was still a part of me that sought more.  After graduating college I continued into the unknown and was thrilled when I was accepted into a professional track club: something I never thought would happen after being so injured.

For almost two years I dedicated myself to living in the high mountains of Big Bear Lakes, CA.  I focused on a change of scenery to strengthen myself and my dreams. My injuries couldn't hold me back any longer.

I have since then moved back down to sea level and have found an amazing group of people that have continued to support my dreams and ambitions.  I am stronger than ever, having seen the good and bad that make up this journey called life.  Through it all, I have and continue to meet amazing people and experience unforgettable adventures.

The Olympic trials are set to be in Southern California in 2020 and I plan to be there.  And while this goal seems a little scary, and a little out of reach right now, I know that I can do anything I put my mind to.  If your dreams don't scare you a little, then what's the point?  I haven't come this far, only to come this far."

Live Wild. Run Wild.