Running on veggies.
Taking up challenges fueled by plants.
Expanding my boundaries.
One jar of peanut butter at a time.
My name is Vincent Smets, 30 years old, living in Leuven (Belgium). I am a phd student at the KU Leuven where I do research about sustainable city planning in the future. More specifically my research is about how vegetation in an urban context can improve the hydrological balance by letting more rainwater infiltrate in the soil to replenish the often depleted groundwater table underneath cities, instead of losing the water through runoff over impervious surfaces.
I have always liked being active and in my free time sports take up to majority of my time. I’ve been training frequently in gyms since I was 16 and during the past 5 years I also worked as an instructor a few evenings each week. Two years ago I found a new hobby: running. It started as a challenge between friends to run a marathon. Three months later we completed that challenge and I ran my first marathon in Valencia (November 2017). Happy with my result I wanted to see how much further I could go. That’s when I found ultra running. Three months after Valencia I did my first 50k and since then I have competed in several 50 – 70k races. Something about the combination of pushing yourself both physically and mentally in the middle of nature really got me hooked. This year I want to take it to a new level and start running 100k- and 100 mile distances.
As you probably guessed by the name of this site, I’m doing this on a whole food vegan diet. I’ve grown up vegetarian and 4 years ago I switched to a vegan diet. Never looked back since.
The sinister 7 is a ultramarathon held in Crowsnest pass, Canada. With a maximum finish time of 30 hours and 6300 m of vertical gain, this 100 mile race is considered one of the toughest endurance events in Canada. I have never run this far before and with a finish rate of only 20-30% each year the odds are against me, just the way I like it!
De Ark van Pollare is an animal shelter for farm- and meadow animals that was founded in 2014. It differs from a classic animal shelter because they don’t try to relocate all of their animals. Animals that were severely mistreated or neglected stay there for the remainder of their days. Old or disabled animals also stay in the Ark for the rest of their lives. When visiting the Ark, you are greeted by cows, lamas, horses, pigs, chickens and many more of its inhabitants.
Another difference between the Ark and other shelters is that they work with young people who got a ‘time-out’ card from school and people who need to do community service. Letting them take care for their animals is a win-win for both people and animals. People with a burnout, depression, autism, .. are also welcome as caretakers for the animals.
De Ark van Pollare is a licensed shelter but doesn’t receive subsidies. They are completely dependent on fundraising and donations. Because the philosophy that the Ark embodies, finding a connection between humans and animals for the benefit of both, really resonates with me, I have chosen to donate all the money received from pledges to them.