Mandy Currie is pictured on a trail run.

Mandy Currie tackles ultras by making the most of what she has

When Mandy Currie was preparing for her first 100-kilometre trail race in 2016 she was hesitant to tell people about her training.

She had a one-year-old son at the time and logged most of her miles on Saskatoon’s flat roads pushing him in a stroller while her little dog trotted along beside them.

“I just sort of made do with what I had and that’s what I had to work with,” recalls Currie, now 31. “A couple of people that did know (how I trained) sort of laughed at me and made me doubt that I was really ready for it.”

But Currie did finish that race — and has gone on to race many more ultras since.

Today Currie’s son is six and she also has a three-year-old daughter. The pair keep her busy — as does her full-time job as a pediatric ICU nurse at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. She laughs when asked how she makes time to run on top of it all.

“Running is a nice way to stay sane through all of this,” she says.

Mandy Currie finishes the Black Spur Ultra.
Mandy Currie finishes the Black Spur Ultra.

Currie played soccer when she was younger, but didn’t start running regularly until she was in her early 20s when she and her now-husband were spending a few months in Australia. She was homesick, restless and looking for a sense of routine.

“We had enough money to travel there, but we didn’t have a lot for extracurricular activities. I had running shoes there and that’s really all I needed,” she says. “I just started going out casually in the morning by myself. It was really scenic, really beautiful.”

Currie didn’t have a GPS watch and would run by feel for roughly an hour on her outings. She kept running when she returned to Canada and thought it would be fun to sign up for a race. She signed up for the 2011 Saskatchewan Marathon half marathon — and then Googled how far a half marathon was.

After crossing the finish line in 1:52 and feeling good, Currie knew she could run even farther. Running had become such an important part of her life, largely because it had become a way for her to meet and stay connected with friends.

Later that year, a friend was looking for a runner to join his relay team for the Sinister 7 150-kilometre ultra race in Crowsnest Pass, Alta. Currie signed up for a 32-kilometre leg and had a blast.

“We all camped together for the weekend and I was just blown away by the whole environment. Looking at everybody that was out there, you see all different types of bodies out there, all different ages,” Currie recalls.

Mandy Currie is pictured on a trail run.
Mandy Currie is pictured on a trail run.

She was particularly amazed to see people running the whole course solo. “I just remember thinking ‘How is that even possible? They’re so brave for doing this’ And I wanted to be like them.”

In the years following that race, Currie ran several marathons and a few 50-kilometre trail races. After having her son, she ran with him almost every day of her maternity leave as a way to visit with friends, get outside and prepare for that first 100-kilometre trail race.

The chaos intensified a bit after the birth of her daughter and Currie says she would often run with her daughter in the stroller and her son alternating between his bike and the stroller.

“I would joke that we were in the traveling circus,” she says. “It was always a little bit chaotic, but I just sort of made it work and I wasn’t hard on myself. Like whatever worked that day was enough.”

These days, with her kids a bit older, Currie is finding more time to run by herself (even if that means getting out the door by 5:30 a.m.) and can even train on trails sometimes. This summer, she returned to Sinister 7 to run her longest-ever ultra: the 100-mile (161-km) race.

Running solo on the course that sparked her love of ultra trail running a decade ago was a powerful experience, Currie says. And it was made all the more special by having her family cheering her on throughout the 29-plus-hour event.

“I did suffer for sure throughout the race, but I had a really great experience … There were a lot of moments that I wished I hadn’t signed up for it, but I powered through it and I finished and it was pretty surreal crossing that finish line,” she says.

Currie is still running and training — and will keep doing so all winter — but hasn’t yet decided what her next race will be. All she knows is she wants to keep moving and having fun. And maybe run another 100 miler soon.

“(As I was running Sinister 7) I just kept thinking ‘I’m going to finish this because there’s no way I’m coming back to do this again’ … And now I find myself thinking ‘What should I do next summer? Should I run the Sinister 7 again?”

Do you know someone in Saskatchewan with an inspiring running story? Email Brainsport Times editor Andrea Hill at