Grace Panoff is one of three #visorclub Canadian members who feels every bit as connected to the athlete community group as athletes over here. Next year she will be taking the #visorclub flags to races and tweeting daily as part of the group to help share the community hug and support for fellow athletes.
Graces motto for life is: Bring your mind and your body will follow.
We asked her about how she enjoys the group, why #visorclub, what community and belonging means to her, and how she makes sure the international divide doesn’t separate her from the offering.
You are based in Canada; can you still feel part of the #visorclub group from across the world?
Yes, I feel very much part of the #visorclub. I follow quite a few members on twitter and interact with them on a daily basis.
How did you find out about the #visorclub?
I met a fellow #visorclub member (Lauren Percy) at the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in 2016, we ran part of the course together and she did an amazing blog and video. I chatted to her and noticed she had a visor on, so I googled the club. She also did St Illtydsso which gave me the inspiration to do the race.
How often have you met with and raced with the #visorclub?
I have done just the one race in Wales this year so far, but I am coming over in September to do a race and meeting up with lots of members!
What is your preferred sport and how frequently do you do it?
I love trail running! I like to do it 5/6 days a week.
If you could think of a before/after version of yourself, how would you say that sport and event participation in particular has influenced you as a person?
When I first started running, I was overweight, I joined a local running store/club and learned to run! On one of the nights I was asked what my dream race was, I said to run the local Around the Bay 30km, never in my wildest dreams did I think I could do this. I have done so many; 50km, 100km, 100 Miler and two Ironman and it has given me a huge belief in myself!
Can you think of a particular race experience when you proved to yourself you can do more than you thought was possible?
My first Ironman and 100 Miler wow! What a huge accomplishment for me! ‘Bring your mind and your body will follow.’ My favourite quote.
Grace sums her experience up: “I think the main thing about my story is, I was a middle-aged woman who had no real hobbies. The kids were growing doing their thing and my husband was busy with work and his interest. I realised that I needed to do something for me. It has been such a great experience and accomplishment for me personally, and my whole family has been very supportive and involved with my running and triathlons, coming to races to cheer and sometimes taking part in their own training and exercise. So, I’d like to say my efforts have been contagious!!!”
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