Health Services member places second in The Ancient Khmer Path race

Major Kristine Self running through a small village with the children lined up
Major Kristine Self running through a small village with the children lined up eagerly waiting to see all the “foreigners”. Photo: GlobalLimits

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By Kim Fauteux, Canadian Forces Health Services

Imagine running in a foreign country, under clear blue skies, on a six-day, 220-km foot race in temperatures reaching 40C – not factoring the 80% humidity!

“Running in Cambodia was surreal. At times, I didn’t think about the fact that I was running in a third world country because I was just focussing on running. At other times, I would look up and see the people working in the rice fields or the monks bathing in the river and a smile would cross my face thinking how fortunate I am to see the ‘real’ Cambodia with my best friend,” explained Major Kristine Self.

The Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) member and her husband, Maj Mike Mueller, took part in The Ancient Khmer Path ultramarathon in Cambodia this past December. Not only did Kristine participate in the race, she placed second in the women’s category, and third overall.

Kristine, who is also part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) International Military Sports Council (CISM) running team, has been running since she was 16. Three years ago, her husband convinced her to participate in a women’s trail running clinic. She went on her first trail running adventure in France a year later.

After France, the couple was looking for other trail running adventures, when they discovered the race in Cambodia. However, Kristine had never done such a long race before. After some pondering and finding out that they could do the race with the help of the CAF Out of Service competition process (which provides some assistance to help encourage high-level athletes that fall outside the parameters of the current CAF military sports structure), they decided to sign up.

Image gallery

  • Major Kristine Self at a long awaited aid station trying to cool off with bottled drinking water
  • Major Kristine Self running through a small village with the children lined up

Despite the heat, no showers, and having to eat dehydrated food, Kristine really enjoyed the adventure. “This was the most incredible experience that I have ever had. It taught me a lot about myself and gave me a lot of self-confidence”, she said.

Kristine thought that the best thing about the race was being able to run it with her husband. “We ran it together, and we got to experience the true Cambodia together. We saw amazing mosques, and ran through jungles, backroads and little villages filled with happy children. It was amazing.”

Kristine, who has been with the Health Services group for seven years, believes that you need two things to run such races – a good fitness level and consistent training.

“I’m just a normal person, not some super athlete, but I am extremely dedicated and determined and very disciplined with my physical training”, she explained. The couple is thinking about participating in a few more races, in Guadeloupe and in Spain, in the next two years.

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