When you first think of Canada, vegan cookie dough ice cream probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Jenny Quilty might be campaigning to change how you feel about that. Jenny is one of Canada’s best ultrarunners punching her ticket to Western States at the Doi Inthanon 100-mile race in Thailand in 2022. During a particularly fast year, Jenny finished 11th at WSER (the fastest ever 11th place finisher) and has been chomping at the bit to get back. Jenny has also won the Ultra-Trail Harricana, Squamish 50/50, and the Squamish 50-kilometer in her trail running career. Though we might take issue with “vegan ice cream being better than regular ice cream” (girl have you tried MILKBAR???) – I cannot fault her for enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Whether it’s winning a golden ticket race or walking her dogs, Jenny does it all with a smile that’s contagious. Cause this sport is supposed to be fun, eh?
Who are you and what do you do?
Hiiiii, I am Jenny (she/her), a mostly outgoing introvert who loves time outdoors and dogs and good coffee. I do many things like; I keep two big floofy dogs happy, fed, and exercised and I spend a lot of time running on trails on the west coast in Canada. I usually have less than 10 toenails at any given time, I think that’s a core element of who I am at this point! I really enjoy eating bread and bread-like foods. I love learning, process oriented projects and I am a full time running coach.
Do any of your group chats have names? If so, what are you willing to share? How did they get that name? What is a major topic of discussion in them?
My one social group chat is called Cdn Mountain Bobsled Team. It’s myself and two other trail runners (Hilary and Tara) and we slid down snow on a mountain instead of running and decided we were so good at it we should actually be the canadian bobsled team (not a hit at the bobsled team, they’re probably much better than us and this isn’t actually bobsledding at all which makes it even better). We don’t talk much…we are all introverts. The last message is about the air quality index, from August.
If you could change one thing about your favorite social media platform, what would it be?
Well recently in Canada they banned news sources from being able to use social media (meta), uhm, so I’d change that back.
What is a book of fiction that you really enjoyed, for no other reason than you liked it?
I really enjoyed Greenwood by Michael Christie
I read a lot of nonfiction and as my netflix would tell you, my books are the same, I tend to pick books with a “strong female lead” lol. This year I have really enjoyed so many non fiction books from women authors.
What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat recently?
Acoustic covers of taylor swift songs because no, we are not over her. We are here for her always. Haters gonna hate but they are largely outnumbered here 🙂
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you love?
Working from home, I always chuckle when I see people biking to work and think “aw that’s a fun commute” and I’m out on my morning dog walk, and realize that is my morning commute if I just frame it that way.
OH – and big thick sandals being in style, you can wear those thick slides anywhere. That might have happened around 2020.
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you hate?
Hmm maybe delayed flights and lost luggage?
What are the last three emojis you used?
🤣 💓 😬
What is the last thing you bought online?
A waterproof, fleece lined rain poncho so I can change easily at the trailheads after rainy runs over the next few months ahead. I’m proud of this purchase.
What is your most controversial food opinion?
Good vegan ice cream is better than cow ice cream. I’ll snowball fight you on it.
What three videos are at the top of your YouTube recommended homepage?
Ha – a bit of a perfect time stamp and I will take each of these recommendations:
1) Why I won’t be racing Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB – Jeff Pelletier
3) Grand Journey | Short film – Apres Visuals
Which Allie is your favorite?
Alie Ward!! The host of the Ologies podcast, my favorite “non running” podcast. If you see me running and laughing or making funny faces, blame Ologies. Unless I dont have headphones in, then it’s just me probably in a great conversation with myself.
What argument in mass media do you not understand or think is a worthless issue?
Oooo I love this question, there are probably many I don’t understand or arguments where I really struggle to understand the view that differs from my own, but I don’t think I’d say any are worthless. For the sake of choosing one I’ll go with any arguments discounting the reality of climate change, we don’t have time for that.
When you go home for the holidays, what is the food or tradition that it wouldn’t be the holidays without?
Blueberry perogies..we don’t always have them but my mom reads most things that end up out there about me soooooooo I’m hoping she magically finds this too because they’re the freaking best.
When I say in-seam you say…?
Summer, 5 inch
Winter, 33 inch (pants, these are pants)
When has your ego caused you to do something you sort of regret but also would describe as wild and worth it?
I probably started running ultras as an ego driven thing? I don’t regret it at all, it’s been wild and worth it in every single way.
I tend to be someone who regrets the things I didn’t do more than the things I end up doing. I sort of maybe regret not trying harder with running earlier, like in college, though I wonder if I had done any more serious running then if I would still like it and be where I am now, but I am curious what I would have done if I were more into it at a younger age. But the fun of college without being an athlete was wild and worth it!
What was your worst running fuel decision? What was the surprising best?
Worst – eating half a cliff bar during my first 50km that took around 8hrs… uhm or any time I have to reapply anti-chafe to dark spaces and then grab a gel
Best – VEGAN COOKIE DOUGH!!
What is your death row meal?
(sorry this gets dark and probably isn’t funny) I’d choose nothing to be sure not to give anyone the satisfaction of thinking I was at all ok with the process of death row. Last meal, if I knew I was getting to have it, a fresh chocolate croissant and oat milk flat white, with the barista oat milk not anything else, I have tried them all.
Out and back or looped course? Why?
I think this depends on the distance, in something shorter like a 50km I love an out and back. You get to see where everyone is at and cheer each other on. For anything longer I love a looped course or point to point where you really feel like you are traveling and adventuring over the course of the distance. Novelty is powerful if you can just stay curious out there!
Barkley or 24H track race? Why?
Can I say neither? Barkley, though I want to see more diverse finishers and I would love to see a woman finish it in my lifetime, it won’t be me.
When I say PTRA you say?
THANK YOU! This sport needs this as we grow!
When I say UTMB you say?
See above: 3rd most recently used Emoji and first youtube video recommended.
What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why?
Ghosts and wasps. One makes me swear and scream a lot more than the other but for the sake of this column I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide. And why, Ellie – they’re both freaking terrifying!!! In summer here when it’s dry we get a ton of ground nests on trails and every step on the trail feels like a gamble.
What is a time you felt you didn’t measure up? How did you get through that?
I think we can all feel this way a lot of the time, our brains are wild masters of comparison. I really felt I didn’t measure up after my first serious attempt at a golden ticket at Canyons in 2022. I came 11th and ran a time and race I wasn’t particularly proud of. I thought I could have run at least an hour faster and I sort of hiked in…sort of as in really hiked in, and stopped racing in the last 20km. I felt like I went for a 50 mile run and had a long 20km cool down walk in the forest. I felt like people around me (read as: the women passing me) were more dialed at aid stations, running smoother with easier effort, I just felt like maybe I wasn’t actually able to compete at that level.
I got through it by getting back out there and going after another race and golden ticket. I started off by doing a few shorter races to just play and run fast and practice dialing in my art of racing. I also talked through it for a few sessions with a sports psychologist. I needed someone else to offer me strategies that I trusted and could practice without feeling like I was on my own and just guessing what might work for me. I also reflected on my past races and experiences and thought more about why the experience at canyons felt so different and how I could have corrected that or challenged my thoughts on course and worked mental strategies into my next race plan. We have control over our thoughts and sometimes a few extra gels and some preplanned and practiced strategies can go a long way.
Who is another runner that flies under the radar that we should all get to know?
The Canadians!!! My favorite part of the race live streams is the moments where the announcers are going “who is that, who do we have here, do we know this runner” and the livestream chat is blowing up with the Canadian’s name and their stats! It’s so hard for the people doing race coverage to know who is out there, I’d love to see a more helpful process for them at registration (like a spot where you enter 1-2 past race results, intentions for the race and a fun fact or something so we feel like instant trail fam and can all cheer for that person).