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Meet Our Guide: Jacqui Donaldson

In response to client demand, GirlsTrek have launched some exciting new trail running itineraries for 2020. Jacqui Donaldson has come on board to help with training and guiding these trips. We love her for her down to earth approach to running, especially her attitude that anyone can do a trip like this. You don’t need to be an elite athlete! We quizzed her on her background in this increasingly popular sport.

Tell us about you and how you came to GirlsTrek

I have known Frith for a while and a few years ago, I took my first GirlsTrek to the New Zealand back country and really loved it. We talked about the idea of me doing some guiding, but I was working full-time so it wasn’t possible. Recently I changed my marketing role to part-time which has provided some space for me to explore other things that I love. I am delighted to be on board.

How did you get into trail running?

I used to be a road runner. I got into it in my 20s – almost by accident. I was living in Ohio in America and couldn’t work and desperately needed something to do. I saw that the Chicago Marathon was on in 6 months’ time, so I signed up! I am by no means fast. For me it’s just about enjoying the experience and having the sense of achievement that comes from working towards a goal.

As time went on, I found myself getting a bit bored with road running and that’s when I came across trail running. I tried it and really enjoyed it. I think what I like about it is the variety. You have to watch where you put your feet and think more than running on the road. I also love being in nature rather than on the street. It’s not about the pace, it’s very much about being out there. Walking the up bits is not only accepted but encouraged!

I have made a lot of friends through trail running. Everyone is very friendly and running with someone is a great way of getting to know them quite quickly. It is becoming a very popular sport, especially for women.

Is the training for trail running different?

If you are preparing for one of our trips, we recommend you do a couple of shorter runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend as well as some sort of core strength work such as Pilates. The main thing is to build up the strength in your legs, so hill repeats and stairs are great for this.

If you are interested in joining us on a trail running adventure in 2020, check out our exciting options here.