Only a handful of people can say that they’ve completed a marathon or long-distance race at some point in their lives. Even fewer can say that they’ve participated in an ultramarathon, which is classified as any race farther than a marathon’s 26.2 miles. For Sara Davidson, by the end of 2019, she hopes to complete her eighth 100-mile ultramarathon.
Someone who’s always been the sporty-type, Sara didn’t start participating in distance races until she joined a charity team in Virginia in her early 20s. After running two seasons with the group, and completing her first marathon, she got into trail running and eventually ultramarathons. Then she was hooked.
Although she claims that it isn’t all running and that some of the ultramarathons involve hiking, Sara still has us in awe of her athleticism. Her record ultramarathon clocked in at 241 miles of perpetual movement, which she said took her about 87 hours.
According to Sara, trail running for long-distances is all about the social aspect and she really loves the people and camaraderie in the sport. Learn about Sara’s role at AVIAN and all about her love for communications and her addiction to running until someone tells her to stop.
1. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT AVIAN AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH US?
I’ve worked for AVIAN for just over a year as a Strategic Communications/Multimedia Specialist supporting the Naval Air Systems Command and its Acquisition Management System. I do some marketing and promotion, but also support with strategic direction and process mapping. Right now, I’m focusing less on consumer facing materials and more on strategy.
2. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST IMPACTFUL MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
In past jobs I’ve had the opportunity to report on some really fun stories. I went out to Death Valley in 2012 to cover the Badwater 135-mile ultramarathon. That was something I just pitched. I wasn’t even writing at the time I was a graphic designer and I went to the Features Editor and said, “there is this person running this race and we should cover it.” And she sent me out there.
At AVIAN, I’m realizing that I can be a resource for everybody. I’ve gone from starting in newspapers to marketing teams and now to communications work. In this position, I can use my background and experience and be a huge value to my customer. Now, with the support of the AIMS team, the senior-level work I’m doing no longer feels outside of my comfort zone.
3. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST EXCITED TO SUPPORT OUR TRAINING, MULTIMEDIA & CONSULTING SECTOR?
I get to do all sorts of new things and learn on the fly. Everybody gives me the freedom to choose which path I want to go down and then support me doing it. My customer has started to value my ‘read’ on things, even if I’m not directly involved, just to see if it makes sense.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
I’ve never worked for a company that cares about its employees so much. Through training and support and company culture. I am given a lot of freedom to go do work and report back if I have questions as opposed to being micromanaged. So, there is a big layer of trust with that. Although everyone is available if I need help.
Even though my office is offsite, the team is always an email away. I can just send a message to the group and get a response in minutes with suggestions and thoughts. I’m not here [headquarters] often, but I don’t feel disconnected.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
1. NAME ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES YOU.
Jared is number one. My special man friend, and now fiancé. He is super enthusiastic and an excellent cheerleader. I keep telling him he should go into motivational speaking or coaching. He works really hard, which is contagious.
2. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “PERK” ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
I just have so much flexibility. It goes everywhere from schedules and time to what I want to do and training.
3. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAM JOB?
I wanted to be a scientist, I was a big nerd in school, but I went to journalism school because that’s what you do when you go to the University of Missouri.
I also grew up riding horses and probably wanted to be some sort of competitive equestrian.
4. IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I hate to keep it so runner centric, but I just read Deena Kastor’s book [Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory] she was the Athens silver medalist in the marathon, and she was fascinating.
I’m also on a big Brandi Carlile music kick right now I think she is delightful.
There is also Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I just read her book. That is the more intellectual choice. She’s brilliant to be an advocate for women’s issues by finding where men are getting screwed in gender equality and just to show the imbalance and just to use that to say, “ok we all agree this man is being discriminated against for being a man…what about all of these women?” Jared even bought me an RBG action figure.