Fuego y Agua Events brings amazing groups of people together in unique places for incredible experiences. We like to recognize and feature some of these athletes in order to encourage and inspire others to step out of their comfort zones.
Our Featured Athlete today is Kelley Koehler, she competed in the Fuego y Agua Survival Run on Isla de Ometepe this past February:
Kelly Koehler is not your average endurance athlete, of course one of the things we love about this sport is that nothing is average. As Kelley says herself "If it's not more than just a race, I don't want to do it."
Stepping out of her everyday life as a wife, mom, grandmother, and full time spa operator, Kelley admits that she wasn't even sure if she was going to compete in this year's Fuego y Agua Nicaragua Survival Run because she took the Race Director's 'this is a SURVIVAL race' warning seriously -- especially in light of some health issues she'd been facing. Kelley says that she had registered for the race because the idea of running with a chicken like the competitors in the 2013 Nicaragua race had become a life goal. "One thing that really motivated me to sign up was the idea of carrying a chicken while running for five miles. I was bummed that this year's race didn't require us to run with a chicken; I feel so incomplete about not running with a chicken. I mean, that's living!"
This hesitation was put to rest during the ferry ride over to the island. Kelley was awestruck by the majesty of the volcanoes looming powerfully on the horizon. Such might, such power, such beauty but so quiet and serene. This, this was something that resonated within the soul of this nurturing yet fierce woman. "That's when I said 'Okay, I'm going to do this. One obstacle at a time.' The idea of running with a chicken got me to sign up for the Survival Run Nicaragua, but it was the volcanoes that called my soul to run that race."
The race was brutally challenging for all competitors involved and Kelly recounts her own personal terror of the cistern dive. "Drowning is my biggest fear and having to dive to the bottom of that cistern several times and bring back a rock from the bottom nearly made me quit then and there. But I just kept thinking 'One obstacle at a time. Focus. Breathe. Be here now and do this.'"
Kelley completed the cistern dive obstacle and many others and was one of only a few to make it up the second volcano. There are few playing fields as even as a Survival Run; they are brutal on everyone. You can't size people up. Just give them a chance and people will amaze you.
In Kelley's own words:
"My running has changed a lot over the last ten months. It's more Zen based. I'm at a phase in my life where I'm not concerned about kicking ass so I'm surprised when I do. I think that just being present, being tranquil, allows me to do what I would not otherwise be able to do.
"Maybe it's just age, maybe it's just how full and busy my life is but when I go to a race it's not about proving anything, I just want to immerse myself in a different culture, to learn from the locals, to be so challenged that my soul has to be deepened just to survive the race. I love races that push me to grow; races that require me to be resourceful and creative and in my experience, top on that list is the Fuego y Agua Nicaragua Survival Run ."
The next Fuego y Agua Event will be The Celts in Wales on August 23rd. Click here to Learn More
Momento Mori. Momento Vivere.
Remember you must die. Remember to live.