Katheryn Cochrane’s lifelong love affair with running

Meet Katheryn Cochrane, an Ottawa-based coach and athlete, and winner of the 50K Quebec Mega Trail 2021. In her own words, “I’ve been involved in a lifelong love affair with running.”

Cochrane has been running for most of her life, but over the last year, she’s been creeping into the world of trail ultra running. “I like to consider myself an “all surfaces” runner as I love the speed and consistency of road running, but have also welcomed the challenge and unpredictability of the trails. I’ve spent the last decade focused on triathlon training with some trail running on the side with the group I lead (Ottawa Trail Crew X M2M) but with the changing pandemic world, I craved something new. This is where long days on the trails come in.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I still love running fast and appreciate short road or trail events. There’s definitely an attitude in some circles that longer is better, which I am pushing to change. That said, there’s nothing quite like spending most of your day out in the forest; climbing up mountains, cruising along single-track and flying downhill. Throughout 2020, most of my running was on the trails; Lots of hard tempo workouts with Natural Fitness Lab, hill repeat workouts with Mile2Marathon Trail, and cruisy all-day adventure runs with my running bubble. It was different, fun, challenging and exactly what I needed. Fast forward to 2021 and races are finally happening again!”

“In mid-August of this year, I finally toed the line of my first official 50K after many solo/virtual races throughout 2020. Quebec Mega Trail 50K was everything I thought it would be and more, says Cochrane. It’s known for its incredibly beautiful, but brutal course, having some of the most technical running I’ve experienced.” 

“I had the good fortune to pre-run the course at Mont Ste. Anne a few times in the last year, so I went into the race having a pretty good idea of what to expect come race day. It was very hot, with max humidity, but overall I felt confident and strong throughout,” recalls Cochrane. Over the last 10 km of flowing single track, I was able to move up in the field and pass male and female runners. With a few kilometres to go in the race, I passed the first place woman and unbeknownst to me, I was now leading the race! It was an incredible feeling flying to the finish line of my first official ultra, and breaking the tape was icing on the cake!”

What’s it like to be a female runner in the sport of trail running? “In 2021, trail running is still very much a male-dominant sport, but I know we as women, and those who support us, have made leaps and bounds for acceptance, inclusivity and equality in the field. Locally, in the Ottawa-Gatineau region there are many inspiring and badass female trail runners and I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg!” exclaims Cochrane, “I encourage all women to get out and adventure on the trails; see what you like, what you don’t like and practice that. Ask questions and seek advice when needed. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t climb that mountain (and crush it in style)!”

Thanks so much to Cochrane for taking the time to answer our questions and for being an inspiration to other runners both road and trail alike. You can find out more about her coaching with Mile2Marathon here


Be inspired by local runners while celebrating women in running by registering for the 2021 edition of Run to Empower. This event supports and promotes the advancement of women’s running in Canada. Endeavouring to highlight remarkable local talent, Run to Empower includes a performance race for women only, provides an opportunity for all humans to run together in celebration of women’s running, and looks to inspire the next generation by introducing young runners to strong, empowered role models.