It’s a weekend, so Judy Fisher is probably outside refusing to act her age. And she’s probably racing her way to another running award.
Fisher started running in 1982 and hasn’t really slowed down. Adjust race results for age and you’ll usually find the Auburn resident’s name near the top of the list.
In October, Fisher ran her 100th marathon, the Portland Marathon. She won her age group. Pretty standard stuff for the 72-year-old. Also, Portland Marathon officials post age-adjusted results. These results showed Fisher, who finished in 4 hours, 11 minutes, 59 seconds, was third overall (out of 5,716 runners) and the first of 2,951 women.
When The News Tribune compiled age-adjusted results for the 2014 Sound to Narrows, Fisher was the fastest of the more than 1,000 women in the 12-kilometer race.
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Fisher isn’t just fast for her age. She’s faster than most. If she’d run the Portland Marathon in the 35-39 age group, she still would have been faster than 349 of the 464 runners.
Fisher is humble about her speed and her accomplishments. She travels to races with her husband, Bruce, and says she runs because she loves the sport and the people.
Her first marathon was in Honolulu. She ran the Boston Marathon in 1993. She ran a 106-mile race in 24 hours in 1997. Fisher has also climbed most of the major peaks in the Northwest and finished some of the toughest bicycle rides.
A member of several running groups, Fisher runs about 8 miles per day and enters 60 to 70 races per year.
She recently slowed down long enough for us to ask a few questions:
Q: Is there a trick to staying free of injuries?
A: Well, I’m a vegan. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I’m pretty consistent. I race almost every weekend. … I’m afraid to back off. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get back into it. I’ve been very lucky health-wise. No injuries.
Q: So did you choose to go vegan because of your running?
A: No. The reason I became a vegan was for animal rights. And that was about 30 years ago. … The more you read about the injustices done to animals the more apt you are to become a vegan. That’s mainly the reason I do it, but it is a healthy lifestyle too. … I don’t preach about it. I don’t know if it helps or hinders my running, but it’s just an ethical thing. I feel right doing that.
Q: What is your typical race distance?
A: There are more 5Ks than anything else. I do 5Ks, 10Ks and I’ve done 12 ultras as part of my 100 marathons, but I haven’t done one of those in probably 10 years. But I’d still like to try an ultra again. I always had fun doing them. They are a true test.
Q: What’s your favorite distance?
A: Probably 5K. Because there is no stress about it. You get finished faster. Less training. Easier on the body. But they’re all good distances.
Q: Is there a reason you chose Portland for your 100th marathon?
A: I think it’s just one of my favorite marathons.
A: It’s well organized. … It’s just a fun one. It’s rather flat. It’s not that difficult. It’s a nice size, one of the smaller of the big marathons. And it’s a nice vacation. It’s not very far away so we can go down and back in two days. My husband goes with me on all my runs.
Q: What’s the next marathon on the schedule?
A: My next one is Yakima (April 2). And I signed up for Tacoma (May 1). And I want to get in to the Light at the End of the Tunnel (June 12, from Snoqualmie Pass to North Bend). It is a fun one to do, but to get in is very difficult.
Q: Do marathons become easier after you’ve done a few?
A: Physically, I would say no. Mentally, probably yeah, because you know what to expect.
Q: What else do you like about running?
A: I love being outdoors. I used to go to a gym, but I don’t like going to a gym even for swimming. I just like being outdoors. And that’s how I start most of my mornings. … I think everybody needs to get out of their house if they are able to and breathe in some fresh air.
Q: How long do you plan to keep running marathons?
A: As long as I can. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment afterward. It’s just a lot of fun.
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