Hardy became interested in racing when she encountered personal difficulties. “I was just a normal, average person who got into life, had a kid, had a career, very out of shape, got depressed. Nothing was good. My life was unhappy. I decided one day ‘I’ve got to take charge of this,’” she said.
Hardy recognized that she needed to make lifestyle changes. “I was always like, ‘One day. One day I’ll feel better. One day I’ll be happy. One day I’ll get to do what I want to do. One day. One day. One day.’ Days turned into years and suddenly at one point, I just felt broke,” she said.
Hardy turned to fitness and healthy eating. “Racing is really what pushed me because in order to be a good athlete I had to make a lot of lifestyle changes. I totally changed my life. I went from a person who lived a sedentary lifestyle to working out, eating differently, and made a whole bunch of different changes,” said Hardy, a former school teacher who now works for an obstacle race company coordinating and leading workouts all over the country.
At 42 years old, she started competing mostly in Spartan races and obstacle course races as well as some road races. It is rare for Hardy not to place in the top 10 in obstacle racing and on numerous occasions she has placed in the top three.
She competes mainly with women in their 20s.
“That’s my strength and my talent — obstacle racing — because I have the mix that I can run, but I am very strong at the obstacles. I have the endurance that I can go and go,” Hardy said.
In June, Hardy was slated to participate in the Death Race, a grueling race with no specific details of tasks until race day that pushes the racer physically and mentally. Because of a knee injury, Hardy had to withdraw from the race.
“I am having to change my training. I’m not going to let the pain of my knees stop me. I am stubborn. When I want to do something, I’m going to do it. I’m going to find a way to do it. I’ve been told for years that I can’t run,” she said.
“I am a natural, born competitor. There’s something in me, a stubborn streak, a drive. I’m drawn to the competition. It’s not that I have to beat every other woman but I have to be the best I can be, pushing my own personal limits. I am going to see how far I can push, what are my limits, what are my fears, and can I overcome some of those?” Hardy said.
“Because I have been through some tough challenges in my life, it’s a different kind of pressure I put in myself. It feels so good. It gives me so much confidence in my life. It makes me happy to be able to push myself,” Hardy said.