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Local Samantha Powderhorn's Running Journey Lands Her Sponsorship from Under Armor

Under Armour, Canada has recently sponsored Samantha Powderhorn, a local Northern resident, as part of the Under Armour Diversity Series.

Under Armour, Canada has recently sponsored Samantha Powderhorn, a local Northern resident, as part of the Under Armour Diversity Series. The company made a $5,000 product donation to Samantha to support her mission of encouraging others to take up running. This generous donation will enable Samantha to continue helping people achieve their fitness goals and lead a healthy lifestyle.


Samantha Powderhorn's life has transformed from an obstacle-filled journey to one filled with accomplishment and resilience. Less than a decade ago, Powderhorn struggled with obesity, weighing in at 254 pounds. She battled cancer and addiction while grieving the loss of her brother and dealing with the hard hit of divorce, which took a massive toll on her emotional state.


Powderhorn's older brother and mentor, Carl, passed away in April 2015. It wasn't until 2021 that her life changed when she started to run. Powderhorn is from Tadoule Lake and is sending a message to her home community with her accomplishments.


The first time she went out, she could only run for one minute, but she pressed through and was willing to challenge herself. Each day, she ran a little farther. "I couldn't run one minute. I was huffing and puffing. I was like, 'Whoa this is intense.' But the strong, resilient person in me just wanted to go further and further. On April 15, 2021, I ran my first 2.1km straight," she explained.


In mid-April, she was able to run two full kilometers without stopping. She came to a point where she was running consecutively every day for a full five miles. Powderhorn ran her first 10K race in November 2022, at the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill. That's where she met Jim Scott, who became her coach.


Scott helped her learn how to run without hurting herself for longer and stronger. Scott said in a recent interview, "Sammi has adopted the culture of running, and has amazing discipline, challenging goals, and determination. She is an inspiration." She participated in the 2023 Reconciliation Run from the former residential school in Birtle, Manitoba.


Then she became injured and had to reduce her training, but she still went to Churchill to run as far as she could. "I started running, thinking I was only doing the half, because that's what I was training for," she says, "but I ended up running the full Polar Bear Marathon. I am the first woman of Sayisi Dene First Nation to complete the full marathon!" Powderhorn was the first female to cross the finish line, in second place overall.


"I became sober on Nov. 1, 2021, and then two weeks later, I started my fitness and health journey, and I started running."


"It feels amazing to be sponsored by Under Armor, like I never ever thought that I would be featured in a magazine ad. I'm still actually absorbing it," says Powderhorn. "I think part of the reason why my story was so inspiring to Under Armor is that my story takes place in such a short span!"


"I was overweight most of my life, and I hit my heaviest at 260+. It was during Covid when I saw a picture that was taken of me at Niagara Falls, and I realized how I looked. Seeing how unhappy and unhealthy I was, I thought, 'I can't do this.' So one day, I thought I would try to jog. The first day, I could only jog for one minute. But I was determined enough that I kept running and kept running."


"My original goal was to make it to 5 km and then be done, but in 2022, a community member came to me and said that I should try the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill. But I was like, 'I've never run half a marathon, that's 21 km!' So he gave me their contact info, and I contacted them and told them that I'd never run half a marathon, I didn't do any training, and they offered me the 10k race for the first time in my life. It was -32, and that's when I met my coach."


Powderhorn's determination to push herself beyond her limits in running has landed her a sponsorship deal with Under Armor, one of the world's leading sportswear brands. "It's an incredible feeling to be sponsored by Under Armor. I never thought that I would be featured in a magazine ad. It's still sinking in," says Powderhorn.


Under Armor, Canada has recognized Powderhorn's inspiring story and her dedication to running by offering her a product donation worth $5,000. The donation will help her continue her mission to inspire and help others get into running.


Powderhorn's story is a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and hard work. Her journey from struggling with obesity, addiction, and grief to becoming a successful runner and Under Armor sponsor is an inspiration to us all.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.


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