In 1986 Melissa embarked on solo cycling tour of Europe and Morocco. For over 12 months she cycled alone through England, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco, covering greater than 5000km. Most days were 6-12hours in the saddle cycling remote regions. The arduous mountain climbs often took more than 8 hours followed by rapid, dangerous descents. The adventure was a foundation for understanding, through trial and error, endurance sports nutrition. This helped to set the stage for passionate learning in nutritional biochemistry. Melissa returned subsequent times to Europe for more adventure travel. She once ran the entire Costa-del-sol from Barcelona to Algeciras, one of the most westerly coastal towns before Portugal. On this journey she clipped a fanny pack with bare minimum of supplies and ran from one coastal town to the next covering 15-30kms per day until reaching her destination.
Upon return from Europe Melissa had mastered two languages, had incredible endurance and physical power, and was intent on learning all she could in the field of nutrition.
This athletic prowess had her complete the 1988 Toronto Wang Marathon finishing third behind Canadian Icon Sue Stone. Her inaugural effort caught the attention of local coaches and she settled into competitive long distance running under the tutelage of the esteemed Paul Poce with the Toronto Olympic Club.
For over 12years Melissa competed throughout North America in middle and long distance running. She maintained a Canadian top 10 ranking for most of her competitive career. She won many off-road 5km races and Toronto’s coveted International Half Marathon. With the birth of her daughter Lucy in 1999, Melissa switched her focus back to academia and continued to compete and be ranked as a top masters road runner. She continues to enjoy distance cycling and races 5kms to test her speed and fitness.