Tackling trails with boundless energy and joy, Sally McRae is one of the world’s leading trail and ultra-runners. Hailing from Orange County, her life’s journey has taken her from the relaxing beaches of Southern California to some of the most intense racing environments in the world.
McRae has always been an athlete but running wasn’t her first love. She competed in gymnastics and soccer growing up, eventually going on to captain the women’s soccer team at Biola University. After college, she took up running to stay in shape and competed in a handful of marathons before discovering trail running in 2010.
While McRae took an immediate liking to the sport, a series of injuries early on required rethinking her training regimen. But she persevered and came back better for it, as she learned the importance of resilience and balanced training. And that balance would pay off even more after having children.
The rigors of caring for kids might deter some from such a demanding sport, but not McRae. “It’s actually great training,” she tells Outside Magazine. “...the chance of a race going as planned is a rare gift,” McRae commented while discussing the similarities between raising children and running. “If you’ve trained properly, then you have trained your mind to not break down when things start going wayward.”
That sense of determination and persistence paid off in 2021 when she won the Badwater 135. Known as the world’s toughest foot race, the ultramarathon sends competitors on a 135-mile course through California’s Death Valley that takes over 24 hours to complete.
When she’s not training on her favorite trails in the San Gabriel Mountains, McRae loves spending time with her family, often going on runs with her two children. She also runs a coaching and consulting business with her husband, helping other runners to reach their goals.
Sally’s dedication to nurturing everyone around her is truly inspiring. CamelBak is honored to support all her endeavors, and we look forward to watching her tackle new challenges both on and off the trails.