SPOKANE -- A Spokane mother is striving to make the Olympics for the first time. The 38-year-old mother of three trying to make the Olympics is unusual, to say the least. But that is what Victoria Russell hopes to achieve. She's running the Phoenix Marathon this Sunday and plans to make it her fastest race ever.
Russell is an elite marathon runner. She ran the Chicago Marathon in October at a brisk 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 54 seconds. That's when she realized she was on the brink of something big.
"It was just a little over 2 minutes from qualifying for the Olympic time trials, so here I am. I'm going to try to it," said Victoria
It's not what she thought she would be attempting at 38-years-old. Her age is young by most standards but not by Olympic standards.
"It's very interesting to attend races when I feel like I'm kind of the grandma on the block," said Victoria
Victoria wasn't always the fastest. She ran track and cross country with her friends at Gonzaga Prep. It wasn't until 19 months ago, at the age of 37, she casually decided to run her first marathon without really training for it.
"Yeah, I just went out and did it and then I won. So, I tried it again in Missoula three months later and broke the course record by 15 minutes. I just realized I had a knack for it, I guess," said Victoria.
Victoria has now earned an impressive collection of medals kept in a most unimpressive place. She has all her medals stored in a little baggy.
So how did she suddenly tap into this latent talent?
"There are a couple of studies out there that show American women actually get stronger after their child-bearing years. Why that is, I don't know. But I certainly welcome it," said Victoria.
Now, with the support of her family, a professional coach, and a long list of supplements, Victoria plans to make the Olympic trials in Houston next year.
But first she will have to tackle the Phoenix Marathon this Sunday. If she runs all 26.2 miles in 2 hours and 46 minutes, she will qualify for the Olympic trials.
"It's kind of nice to know I don't have to be the young one on the block to be the fastest," comments Victoria.
In the Chicago Marathon, Victoria finished one place behind 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. Joan was trying to qualify for the Olympics again at age 53. If Victoria makes the Olympic team she will compete in the 2012 summer games in London.
KREM 2 News will have an update on Sunday if Victoria qualifies for the Olympic trials.