Member Spotlight: Sally Canata


Where are you from? What brought you to Missoula or kept you here?  

I grew up in Seattle and came to Missoula via Alaska. I lived out of a backpack for 6 years and was a tour guide in Alaska and Mexico.  I met my husband in Alaska where the odds are good but the goods are odd and he came here to go to school. Missoula has wonderful trails, great music, and little traffic – a great place to live and raise kids.

When did you start running and why?

I started running in middle school.  I took a class called Outdoor Fitness and the teacher Fran Call gave us all sorts of challenges. I ran my first Ultra with her (29 miles from Seattle to Tacoma via Vashon Island). Fran also led a self-supported bike trip from Seattle to Glacier National Park. I broke my leg skiing in my 20’s and didn’t really run again until my 40’s.

Roads, Trails, or both?

I prefer to run on trails.  I have run into bears 5 times in the Rattlesnake but they have always ran away from me. My favorite trail race is 11 Miles to Paradise. My favorite days have been long run/hikes in Glacier and The Beaten Path trail near Cooke City. Hells Canyon and running across the Bob Marshall have been great adventures. I also love Bloomsday – super fun girls weekend!

You’ve done some big runs lately including Bridger Ridge Run, and have the Rut 50k coming up. What is your advice to a new runner who want’s to work towards longer mountain races?

My motto is if you go slow enough, you can go a long way!

What is your go to tracking method for your runs? What data is most important to you?

OnX maps – download the maps for where you are headed, then use GPS to track your progress even without cell service – it is amazing!  I’m pretty laid back and probably under train compared to most distance runners.  I like to feel well rested and I prefer to run at a conversational pace with friends. The trail classes through Run Wild Missoula have been a great way to stay motivated and I’ve made some wonderful friends through the classes.

Do you run throughout the winter, or do you have another go to training method when it’s cold?

In the winter I like to cross country, downhill, and a little back country and skate skiing. I go to Momentum (thanks Kiefer and Rhea) twice a week and take a treadmill class with Courtney (way more fun than it sounds!). I run less in the winter, but stay active in other ways.