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She Runs North: Jessica Leska's 197 kilometre journey through Wood Buffalo

Last Updated Apr 10, 2021 at 6:50 am MDT

Photo courtesy of She Runs North on Facebook

Fort McMurray runner covers nearly 200KM in one weekend

To Anzac and beyond, how one Fort Mac runner cleared 197KM in just four days


FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) — Jessica Leska ran from Fort McMurray to Anzac, looping around Stony Mountain Wildland Provincial Park before running back to Fort McMurray. She left Fort McMurray on Friday, March 5 and was home by Monday, March 8. Leska ran 60 kilometres on Friday, around 37 kilometres on Saturday and Sunday respectively, before running the final 60 kilometres and arriving home on Monday.

“I had some photographers follow me and they captured some footage and some photos, making a documentary about the adventure, and demonstrating how beautiful it is in the region,” Leska says, adding that she’s excited to see what they produce.

AUDIO: 660’S Devon Banfield speaks with Jessica Leska about her journey through Wood Buffalo


Originally, she was training to run the 2021 Iditarod in Alaska, a 350 mile run. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in that plan, but she says she’s proud of her 197-kilometre run. Jessica told My McMurray that the highlights of her trip were the simple things, “drinking water with pine needles in it, waking up to an owl in the middle of the night, the sunset on the third last day,” she lists, “and then finally coming down Draper and seeing people on the hill, having people at Waterways Dog Park cheering me in, those were definite highlights.”


A part of the Fort McMurray Runners, Leska leads organized runs for people just getting started in their running journey. She says that she encourages people just getting started to take “baby steps,” adding that she only began running back in the winter of 2015.


Jessica says she’s already planning her big run for next winter, and she wants to up the ante.


“This time I was pretty spoiled with outhouses and a fire pit. I kind of want to try the more remote ‘out of cell signal’- where you have to bring an inReach and you don’t have those luxuries.”


To see footage and photos from Jessica’s journey visit She Runs North on Facebook or Instagram.