Last year, I stumbled upon a photograph of a woman running along a rocky edge. Her skin was stained with mud. Her red pony tail whipped back in the wind. The Rockies rolled and peaked in the background. Her smile was big and bright, but it was the kind of smile that doesn’t hide the grit. The woman seemed to be running for the joy and for the pain. Last summer, Ashley Sarauer stared death in the face, taking on the Canadian Death Race, one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons set in the Canadian Rockies. The 125 kilometre course starts and finishes on a 4200-foot plateau, passing over three mountain summits, and crossing the confluence of the Smoky and Sulphur Rivers. What kind of mental and physical stamina — pure grit — would it take to summon the strength to run such a wild path? And why would she, or anyone for that matter, do it?