Representing Canada, VOKRA, & Crazy Cat People: Spotlight on Natasha Wodak

The last couple of years have treated Natasha Wodak very well.  She’s set the Canadian Women’s 10 km record (with an outstanding time of 31 minutes and 14 seconds!), qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and started volunteering once a week with VOKRA. Of all of her amazing accomplishments, Wodak states that she’s the most excited about spending a couple of hours tending to the kitties at VOKRA – okay, this part may entirely be conjecture on the part of the writer. It is true, however, that Natasha has become an amazing part of the VOKRA family, and a volunteer force to be reckoned with.

Photo by David McColm

Photo by David McColm

On Sunday June 28th, Wodak will be leading Team VOKRA in the Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5km Charity Challenge. Despite her record breaking year, Natasha has still found the time to run for fun (something that most people have yet to figure out how to do), and to help out a good cause while she’s at it! She’s expected to place in one of the top positions at this year’s Scotiabank Half-Marathon, but Wodak says she’ll be “having fun, and wearing kitty ears!” 

Yep, Natasha truly has hit her stride, and she cites that her personal success is due to a key aspect she integrates into her life – balance. For Natasha, volunteering at VOKRA allows her to indulge in her self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady” interests, but it also allows her to contribute to her community, and creates an equilibrium with the other, more stressful aspects of her life (like qualifying for the Olympics!). Her system works, and Natasha’s passions shine through in every aspect of her life. She is a “crazy cat lady,” as well as a “crazy runner lady,” and both titles suit her just fine.

Natasha first took the opportunity to combine these interests in a very public way during the 2015 Sun Run. “I was getting weird looks from the other athletes in the elite starting tent for writing VOKRA down my leg with a sharpie” Wodak laughs, “but I hope that it made some people go home and Google VOKRA so they could learn a little about the organization.” Wodak achieved an amazing time of 32 minutes, 28 seconds in the 2015 Sun Run, placing second in the Elite Women’s category.

Photo by Rita Ivanauskas

Photo by Rita Ivanauskas

Natasha says the most distinct aspect of VOKRA is “the people working behind the scenes.” When asked about her favourite VOKRA experience, Wodak cites a time around the holidays when she came in for one of her regular volunteer shifts. The Operations Centre was overflowing with kitties waiting to be fostered or adopted. The next week when Natasha returned, most of the kitties had been relocated – being placed in the homes of devoted fosters or adopted to fur-ever homes. “VOKRA is 100% volunteer run,” Natasha says, “and the difference that volunteers made in just one week was amazing.”

Speaking of devoted foster homes…during her tenure at VOKRA, Natasha encountered a special kitty named Feeona, who had been placed unsuccessfully in 3 different foster homes. Feeona is a nervous kitty, and her litter box habits reflect this fact. After seeingFeeona bounce from home to home, Natasha took her in as one of her own – spreading litter boxes far and wide around her house to try and help the high strung, but lovely little foster.

Natasha and her foster cat Feeona

Natasha and her VOKRA foster cat Feeona

VOKRA would like to salute Wodak for her amazing leadership skills as Captain of Team VOKRA in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, for everything she does for VOKRA, and for all of her outstanding accomplishments. We are so proud of Natasha and all the other amazing runners/fundraisers for their hard-work and efforts. We’re glad to have you on our team.

VOKRA is a Vancouver based, 100% volunteer-run, no-kill cat rescue. To learn more about the work we do, check out our website. To make a donation to our amazing Scotiabank Charity Challenge contingent, Team VOKRA, please visit our team fundraising page.

See you at the finish line!

Written by Rachael Lipetz

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