Rita V.

Ultra Runner, mother and grandmother 

What is your sport?

Ultra running and strength training. Love running, especially in forest. I love the challenge of going long distance. I like strength training for the benefits. It helps me recover faster from runs.

Tell me about your athletic history?

I’ve run since I was 13 years old. I grew up in Spokane, Washington. My dad encouraged me to run a local run, The Bloomsday run. I trained and ran it. I continued and it became lifelong. 

Ran first marathon in 1995. Then did first 50k in McDonald forest. Few years later did my first 50 miler. Then did first 100k which I thought was very difficult. Few years after that I had enough courage and confidence to do 100 miler.

List your top 5 athletic achievements so far in your life

  1. Portland marathon 
  2. Nike women’s marathon
  3. Mac 50k
  4. My Hood 50 miler
  5. Waldo 100k
  6. Mountain lakes 100 miler 
  7. Mac 100 miler 

Who inspires or has inspired you?

  1. My dad
  2. My husband 
  3. Meghan Canfield who encouraged me to do first 100k ( she is a elite runner my age who consistently places in top women in races)
  4. Frank and Tia for encouraging me to do 100
  5. Many local runners who encourage my crazy ideas
  6. Kara Goucher
  7. Courtney Dauwalter( ultra runner who shows her joy of the sport in every race she does)

Why did you want to participate in this Female Athlete Project?

I think it’s awesome. I believe their is no age limit for going after your dreams. These women are showing that!

Why do you think it is important to keep active as we age?

We loose strength and flexibility as we age. By exercising we are at less risk of injury by staying stronger and more flexible.

What obstacles have you faced over the years trying to stay active in your sport/compete in your sport?

Injuries, work

What would you tell the younger version of yourself?

Don’t be afraid to try, go after your dreams

What keeps you going?

The challenge to see what else I can do.

Advice to other women about staying active as we age?

Do what you can. Even if it’s only walking around block. Stay active. Pick something you enjoy, otherwise it’s work and you won’t stick with it.

Best memories in your sport?

All the laughter and adventures with friends!

What do you hope you never forget as you grow older?

To have fun and continue to challenge yourself.

Anything else you want to say about your experience with this project?

I am so happy someone notices and is honoring older athletes! I am amazed and inspired! Thank you!