Becky Wade, elite marathoner, Olympic hopeful, world traveler, and food enthusiast is currently in Sululta, Ethiopia, where she first drew inspiration for her recently published book, Run the World. The book describes her year-long journey of logging more than 3,500 miles in nine different countries after becoming a recipient of the Watson Fellowship from Rice University in 2012.
Wade didn’t set out to write a book, but after her return to the U.S., her book was the aftermath and processing of her journey. “I was initially reserved about not being able to do justice to the places I explored and the people I met. But when I framed it more as a chronicle of some highlights of the year and as a large ‘thank you’ to the incredible individuals I intersected with, it became a more manageable and meaningful project,” Wade explains. Wade’s Run the World takes you on a dream journey into cultures, food, running, relationships—and we caught up with the world traveler while on her book tour to share some of her favorite parts of the journey, and what’s in store next.
You describe so many delicious meals, but also cultural food experiences in your book. What was one really memorable food experience you had?
“Food was a massive part of my trip, and one of my favorite parts about traveling! I kept a recipe collection the whole year, and whittled those down to include one per country for my book. I’d say that one of my most memorable food experiences was a make-your-own-sushi feast that Susan and Tim Griffen hosted in Tokyo. I described it in Run the World, but I still dream of the fresh catches, straight from Tsukiji fish market, and flavorful toppings that filled their dining table that night. Devouring it on their living room floor with a room full of new friends completed the experience for me.”
What inspired you to go back to Ethiopia?
“I’ve been wanting to travel again since I touched down in the U.S. (after a few weeks of recuperating at home, of course), but didn’t have a good opportunity to leave the country until recently. A conversation I had with Sara Hall at the Houston Marathon got my wheels turning, and within a few days, I booked my tickets to spend three weeks in Sululta, Ethiopia, one of my all-time favorite places in the world. I figured that right after a marathon was a great time to go, while I’m still recovering a bit and don’t have to worry so much about the jet leg and unknowns of travel. I’d love to come back here again for part of a build-up in the future!”
Now that you’ve written a book, do you have other goals in mind? Can we expect another?
“I don’t have any plans for a major project like another book (yet!), but I’d love to continue doing some smaller-scale writing for running, travel, and food publications. While training, I also work part-time at an awesome company in Boulder called Black Lab Sports, a sports tech incubator that celebrates the intersection of business, sports, and art. I’m surrounded by driven, purposeful and energetic people (many of them athletes), and it’s been a great complement to my running.”
How was your first hometown marathon experience in Houston where you placed third?
“My recent Houston Marathon experience was just the remedy I needed! After a smooth and successful marathon debut (2013 California International), my next two were tough, both condition-wise and personally. So, to have a positive experience, and a ton of fun on the course I know so well, meant a lot to me! My boyfriend Will and friend Cal helped paced me, and my parents and coach Jim Bevan were all over the place. The whole race just solidified that I’m called to the marathon distance and that I have a long way to go to reach my goals.”
What’s your favorite post-run, go-to brunch?
“Favorite post-run brunch: Sous vide (60 degrees) eggs on homemade sourdough with avocado and lots of salt and pepper. One of Will’s epic smoothies on the side (a whole Vitamix loaded with over a dozen fruits and vegetables). Probably some coffee too, unless I’m about to nap.”