When Alejandra Peralta first moved to her new home in Flagstaff from Southern California, she didn’t know anyone in town. “I applied to work at GORE. And obviously you make friends wherever you go. My trainer asked ‘hey, what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?’ And my response was, I like to run.” she recalls. Alejandra’s life journey has always revolved around running for purpose in her life.
Her New City
Looking to make friends in her new city, she started going to group runs organized by Will Run for Beer, now known as Reak Trail Runners. She hit it off with one of the runners named Austin Corbett, who works at Kahtoola, an outdoor gear company in Flagstaff. Austin recruited Alejandra to model the Kahtoola NANOspikes for some promotional photos.
A Big Part of her Life
Alejandra only got into running in high school when a friend invited her to join the cross-country team. She enjoyed it and found she had an aptitude for it. Her coach helped the team get donated running shoes since many couldn’t afford their own. Alejandra continued running on and off after high school. Over the past six years, running has become a big part of her life.
Memory of a Friend
Alejandra is motivated to run for several physical and mental reasons. She runs in memory of a friend who passed away just a few years ago, thinking of him when she’s out on the trails and runs into beautiful sunsets. “He knew how much I loved the mountains.” Running has also brought Alejandra closer to a childhood friend this year, giving them a shared interest. Health also brings Alejandra outdoors. “It helps regulate my weight, for one. I love to eat…I tell people, the reason I run is so I could eat.”
Creative with Miles
Ultramarathons have become Alejandra’s biggest running challenge. A 50K trail run took her running to a new level of difficulty with the extra mileage and hills. While training, she unfortunately got injured with shin splints. After recovering, she signed up for more ultras but had to defer when the California wildfires forced race cancellations. During training, Alejandra gets creative with miles, taking advantage of her hour break. She also works a second job working at an office, making time management more complicated. Despite the challenges of the winter season, Alejandra laces up with her Kahtoola NANOspikes every day. Despite the icy winter road conditions, she runs comfortably in her winter traction.
Destination Races Abroad
In the future, Alejandra may move back home to Southern California to be near family again. But she plans to continue running ultramarathons, already plotting a 50 miler with her friend. Alejandra wants to travel to run destination races abroad. She fondly recalls running the London Marathon and feeding off the incredible energy of the crowds. She wants to enjoy more of those unique experiences.
Genuinely Loves It
Alejandra stresses that you don’t have to look or train like a professional athlete to meaningfully run. “I tell people, yeah, you don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain type of person. I think if you love to do something, you go out and do it.” Running has given structure, friendships, and purpose to her life. Though the miles and uphills hurt, they help Alejandra push her limits. Most of all, Alejandra runs because she genuinely loves it, whether that’s trail races, enduring marathons, or running on icy roads. Whether physical, mental, or spiritual, Alejandra continues running for purpose in her life.