Below Armour Variety Sequence: Winnipeg’s Samantha Powderhorn


Below Armour has teamed up with Canadian Operating to provide the Below Armour Variety Sequence — an unique characteristic content material sequence designed to spotlight and promote people and organizations who’ve demonstrated a dedication to develop the game of working, help those that are underrepresented and assist others. The sequence will characteristic tales and podcasts highlighting these extraordinary Canadians who’re making a distinction of their communities and on the nationwide working scene.

In just some quick years, Samantha Powderhorn’s life reworked from one among battle and hardship to 1 full of accomplishment and resilience. Lower than 10 years in the past, she was fighting weight problems, battling most cancers and dependancy, reeling from the lack of her brother and going by a divorce and homelessness. Powderhorn’s journey has been arduous, however in 2021, every little thing modified when she began working.

Time for a change

Powderhorn is initially from the Sayisi Dene First Nation, a small reserve at Tadoule Lake, a fly-in group situated half an hour (by airplane) from Churchill, Man. She skilled dependancy, neglect and trauma whereas rising up, and in 2015, she was recognized with most cancers. Two weeks later, she misplaced her brother.

Samantha Powderhorn
Samantha Powderhorn. Picture: Ian McCausland

Later that yr, motivated by a want for a greater life for her and her children, she left her abusive marriage and moved to Winnipeg. “I used to be homeless with 4 children, pregnant, with 4 suitcases,” she says. “I overcame so much that might break lots of people, however I usually take into consideration how I grew up, and the way I don’t need that for my youngsters. I’ll work exhausting to ensure they don’t have that.”

Throughout the pandemic lockdown, like many individuals, Powderhorn took the chance to be extra energetic. She sought solace by bodily exercise, and in April 2021, she began working.

The primary time she went out, she might solely run for one minute, however she was decided and prepared to problem herself, so she pushed herself out the door once more the following day. Every day, she ran slightly farther than the day earlier than. Over time, she was capable of run farther, and commenced to consider that change was doable. Lastly, someday in mid-April, she was capable of run two full kilometres with out stopping. When she lastly paused, a tune by her brother’s favorite band started enjoying by her earbuds. “I began crying, as a result of I felt that non secular reference to my late brother,” she says. “He was all the time telling me to get wholesome and reside a more healthy way of life, and that’s after I started to like working.”

Samantha Powderhorn
Picture: Ian McCausland

Earlier than lengthy, two kilometres grew to become 4, then 5. “After I run, I actually really feel that it’s my time to only assume, really feel, cry, scream and speak to myself,” she says. 

An enormous achievement

Powderhorn ran her first 10K race in November 2022, on the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill. That’s the place she met Jim Scott, who grew to become her coach, serving to her discover ways to practice successfully for longer distances, and how one can keep away from harm. “Sammi has adopted the tradition of working, and has superb self-discipline, difficult targets and willpower,” says Scott. “She is an inspiration.”  

A yr later, Powderhorn returned to Churchill, desiring to run the half-marathon. As a part of her coaching, she participated within the 2023 Reconciliation Run from the previous residential faculty in Birtle, Man., again to the reserve at Birdtail Sioux First Nation, organized by Trechelle Bunn. Then she grew to become injured and needed to cut back her coaching, however she nonetheless went to Churchill to run so far as she might.

Samantha Powderhorn
Picture: Ian McCausland

“I began working, pondering I used to be solely doing the half, as a result of that’s what I used to be coaching for,” she says, “however I ended up working the complete Polar Bear Marathon. I’m the primary lady of Sayisi Dene First Nation to finish the complete marathon!”

The 2023 race had 20 contributors line as much as battle -26 C temperatures, working totally on a gravel path. Every participant has a driver accompany them with snacks and water and for cover from polar bears, that are routinely seen on the course. “No person bought within the automotive, however I did see a polar bear,” she says. “I’d say, about 15 km into the race, not too far-off… far sufficient that I wasn’t nervous.”

Powderhorn was the primary feminine to cross the end line, in second place total. “I’m nonetheless absorbing it proper now,” she says. “Two years in the past I couldn’t even image myself doing that–I used to be sitting on the sofa consuming chips and ingesting slurpees and watching TV. It’s superb how one can change your life.”

Operating Towards Reconciliation

Operating to encourage

Powderhorn sees herself as an inspiration and motivation to others, notably youth. And he or she’s proud that her children are capable of take part in sports activities. “I have a look at my dwelling, and I feel, that is fairly superior!” she says. “I went from being homeless to driving my very personal automobile. I’ve a pleasant dwelling and my children are wholesome.” 

Powderhorn can also be deeply happy with her Indigenous heritage, and says that, not solely has working helped her develop into match and wholesome, nevertheless it has additionally sparked a want to reconnect along with her Indigenous heritage. She desires to instil a way of self-love and cultural pleasure inside her folks as she, herself, learns about her cultural traditions and embraces her identification as a member of the Sayisi Dene First Nation.

She is proud that her achievements in working are serving to shatter obstacles inside her group. By changing into the primary feminine from her group to finish a marathon, she is difficult limitations and inspiring others to embrace their potential. “I’ve modified so much previously two years,” she says, “and working has actually helped me. I by no means thought I’d name myself an athlete.”

Samantha Powderhorn
Picture: Ian McCausland

An emblem of hope

Powderhorn’s journey from adversity to triumph is a testomony to the transformative energy of working. Overcoming weight problems, most cancers, dependancy, abuse and numerous different obstacles, she discovered solace, power and a way of function by working.

“There’s a lot linked into my working,” she says. “I come from a small reserve group of 350 folks, and I used to be all the time so within the nook—you may solely do that and that’s it, you’re set there. After I moved to town I knew there have been extra doorways to be opened, and for myself to have the ability to come from not having the ability to run one minute to working a full marathon, I’m nonetheless absorbing it proper now.”

By way of her outstanding achievements as a runner and her dedication to inspiring others, Powderhorn has develop into a logo of hope and resilience. Her story serves as a reminder that our previous doesn’t outline our future, and that with willpower and self-belief, we are able to overcome even probably the most daunting challenges. 

As a part of the Below Armour Variety Sequence, Below Armour Canada can be make a $5,000 product donation for Samantha Powderhorn to proceed her mission and assist others get into working.

 



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