A girl of our own heart, Svitlana, a runner and ice-climber combined. Currently pursuing a masters degree in Architecture at the Royal College of Art, focusing on researching the relationship between built environment and the biosphere. Integrating her understanding of our planet with internal feats to keep her mentally excited and physically fit, we couldn’t have stumbled upon a more fitting girl to be our newest ambassador for league collective.

Born in the south of Ukraine, in Odessa, on the the coast of the Black Sea, Svitlana moved to London in 2009 to study Interior Design before working for an architectural practice for 3 years, which eventually brought her to her current masters at RCA.

To escape the office 9-to-9 working rhythm and after attending a talk by a British mountaineer, Svitlana realised she wanted and needed to be in the mountains.

“As a starting point of my training, I signed up for Royal Parks Half Marathon. I was never a runner and the longest distance I had run at that point was 5k. I was trying and miserably failing at sticking to a fixed training schedule.”

Above: Running on the Isla of Skye wearing League Collective leggings. Shoes by On Running

“I guess I was always into sports. When I was little, I spent 7 years doing choreography and at the age of 9 I started synchronised swimming. I participated in various competitions and was a member of National Junior team of Ukraine.”

When Svitlana found out about Tribe via Instagram and joined one of their weekend 8k runs, that is when things began to progress. What Svitlana treated as her running club to make herself run every week soon turned into her running family.

“Before I knew it, I finished my first half marathon and was convinced to sign up for my first full marathon. After completing 26.2 miles, I fell in love with running – Yes, only after putting myself through those hours of struggle I found something that appealed to me in running: winning over your own weakness and pushing yourself beyond the limits both physical and mental.

“Soon running became an escape from the stress of everyday life, a sort of pressure release valve. When I run, I use the time to spend with myself, to be self-aware, but at the same time to just not think about anything (if that makes sense). It is difficult to explain what I think about when I run, it is more of a moving meditation for me, I guess.”

“Ice climbing came as a natural part of ‘being in the mountains’ experience. There is something very satisfying in reaching the top of a frozen waterfall and that sense of accomplishment stays with you for a long time. ”

While climbing frozen waterfall in the Alps is great day or week out, mountaineering expeditions ask for a different mindset.

“Strangely enough, I find living in a tent, high up the mountain a very sobering and honest experience. My own little bubble of security and comfort is reduced down to my sleeping bag and the trust in your climbing partners has to be absolute. Last year I went on a mountaineering expedition to Ecuador, where I spent 3 weeks climbing volcanoes and trail running. I wrote a blog entry about the summit day, which you can find here.”

As for the upcoming adventures, there are a few projects in the pipeline. Tribe’s Run for Love in June/July which we are very excited to be following will be a big challenge for how Svitlana’s body feels during multi-day ultra marathons.
After running 100km in Scottish Highlands last year she has been more drawn towards trail and ultra running.

“I am planning on running Ultra Pirineu this September, a mountain marathon with 2000+m of ascent. One of the aims is to see if I can get needed experience for Ultra Trail de Monte Rosa 2018. Another trip planned for this fall is the ascent of Matterhorn and some more trail running in the Alps and Carpathian mountains in Ukraine.”

Above: Svitlana in Eduador

For the next year, Svitlana is planning an attempt to ascent the French Direct route on Alpamayo in Peru and to advance her ice climbing, running and rock climbing skills.

“I cannot distill a single reason of why I run or climb. I am constantly asking myself that question, but to be honest I have not found an answer I am happy with. I know I cannot not do it. If I am forced to not run due to any particular reason, I always find another physical activity to pursue. I have a need to move. I become in sync with my own body that way.

I donʼt run or climb to compete with other runners or climbers, I am not an elite athlete. I train today to become better than yesterday, I train to be able to enjoy the terrain and to go further.”

With so much planned over the next year and beyond, we cannot wait to follow Svitlana’s progress. Here is an introduction to an ever evolving and incredibly exciting journey of a very determined lady.

We hope you enjoyed this post! For more information on League Collective, get in touch via our email: [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you! and we will get back to you as soon as we can.