I got involved with the Academy of Lions in 2016 through a fellow member, Chris, I followed the Academy on social media so I was somewhat familiar with them. Chris had mentioned there was a cool class that the Academy was holding focused on run training.

Not only was I running half marathons at the time, but I was also searching for a regular outlet to get out of my head, experience new things and find new challenges. I had been dealing with some deaths in my family and was doing a lot of soul searching, I was searching for a healthy and challenging outlet to help me figure things out.

"I was searching for a healthy and challenging outlet to help me figure things out."

The run training was great, it was a weekly routine that helped me meet new people, improve my running and decompress when I was feeling stressed out. Eventually, I started to build an interest in the Academy's metcon classes after I learned how its focus on high intensity interval training, cardio, form and plyometrics could help me improve my running. I was registered for the Good Life Half Marathon so I figured it couldn't hurt. I was timid at first, I wasn't sure if I'd fit in - But I wasn't going to let that stop me.

After trying one metcon class I was hooked. My concerns about fitting in disappeared instantly, everyone there was welcoming and had varying levels of fitness and skill. I discovered that the only person I had to compete against was myself. It challenged me in ways I didn't expect - physically, mentally and emotionally. I also didn’t realize exactly how much it would help me with running, after I actually completed the Good Life Half Marathon, I was on a high, I blew passed all my goals.

From there, I set a goal to develop my cycling skills and get back into swimming. Naturally, I started to feel the itch to compete in triathlons. I relied heavily on the Academy coaches for advice and the community for support, they’ve helped me develop and have kept me accountable.

"I wasn't sure if I'd fit in - But I wasn't going to let that stop me."

My next big challenges will be completing the Toronto Triathlon Festival for the 2nd time (I'd love to see if I've improved) and the Chicago Marathon. It’s intimidating, I’ve never done a full marathon, but I know I have a great network of support in my personal life and the Academy.

I consider myself an endurance athlete, so to anyone interested in any sport, whether it’s running, swimming or cycling, I’d say the number one piece of advice is to let fear be a driver to your goals. It’s the same reason I signed up for the Chicago Marathon, it scares me, a lot. I think this applies to more than sports, conquering your fears and being affirmative in your decision to conquer fear applies to anything in life. It’s okay to be scared.

Right now, I’m fortunate to be feeling both physically and emotionally healthy so I’m trying to tackle all my goals. Things like starting a blog and volunteering at TRIEC, an organization that mentors recent immigrants acclimatizing to new local cultures through resume building, job networking, etc. I’ve also joined a NFP board called Cultivate Toronto that focuses on sustainable and locally sourced fruit and vegetable.

"Being affirmative in your decision to conquer fear applies to anything in life. It’s okay to be scared."

Some fun Mallory facts:

I’m a ridiculous peanut butter fan, I can knock off an entire jar.

I once rode in an uber with the artist Future, but had no idea.

I’m not someone who snores when they sleep, I whistle.

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