Running fast and up front at age 57. Meet Trish Richardson

Trish finishes the Boston Marathon with her daughter Alison.

Trish Richardson says she started running in her 30s to “complete the triple crown” of cross country – which began with cross country horseback riding at age five, shifted to cross country skiing and finally cross country running.

“It’s never too late to pick up the sport,” she says.

More than two decades later, at age 57, Trish is not only still running – she’s still running fast and finishing among the top women in most local races. She’s in second place overall in the 2018 Runabout Race Series with just one race remaining (Sign up for the Christmas Eve Frosty 5K).

She’s a familiar face on the trails at Pandapas and at Wednesday night pub runs, always smiling and encouraging other runners but don’t be mistaken: Trish is one tough competitor on race day.

Still, she says the fast times and awards can’t compare to her most satisfying running accomplishment: passing her love of running down to her three kids, Dan, Alison and Mikayla, and enjoying it with them whenever they are together.

Hometown: Born in Glens Falls N.Y; living in Christiansburg, Va. since 1982

Occupation: Restaurant manager (part time), dog whisperer, full time, (ha ha.)

How has your training changed as you have gotten older? I tend to work on base, hill train for strength (not necessarily hill repeats but running Snake Root at Pandapas, or a hilly route in town), and run with people faster than me on the occasional run to help with tempos. I don’t include speed work in my training; it is hard on my hips at this point so I concentrate on having a strong base.


Proudest race moment? When I ran my first marathon, The Charlotte Observer, and the crowd yelled “first woman” as I crossed the half way mark. My most humbling race moment came a few miles later when I became intimately acquainted with the “wall” around mile 16.

Most frustrating running experience? Not being able to run without pain due to hamstring/back/hip issues that started two years ago during marathon training. I took several months off and thought I was finished with the sport I love and has been such a big part of my adult life. It was a tough time for my family too as I told them I was sure I would never run again.

Worst injury? I was lucky not to be plagued by injury most of my running life. If I did have anything going on it was always small and something I could run through. Two years ago I began to struggle with hip/back/hamstring issues but continued to train for Boston 2017 and ran that race. Afterwards I took a few months off, substituting walking and hiking. I was given permission to run by Dr Rodgers and began PT with Jordan Chang and things began to improve (thank you Jordan!). I still have the same issues, and deal with some level of pain during most runs, but I can run and I appreciate every step out there. I know I won’t be able to run forever so I take it all in every time I am out there. I truly love it!

Who inspires and/or motivates you? All the amazing ultra runners we have in our community, and the Strava friends who inspire me to get out there no matter the weather. And my children, who I enjoy running with. I have to keep active and in shape as I plan to run Boston with all three of them sometime.

Advice for new runners? Take it slow! Don’t try to do too much too fast. Add distance when the shorter runs become easy. Keep it simple and fun. You will find yourself getting stronger every time you get out there. Don’t give up, it gets easier!

Favorite race? Yet to come, looking forward to Big Sur Marathon one day, and running Boston with all of my children, if my body will allow it!

Trails or roads? I love both roads and trails. I love going places that I have never been. Traveling and exploring the area through running is the best way to learn about a new place and what secrets it has to offer.

Any running superstitions or rituals? Not really, but birthday runs and Christmas runs are definitely a tradition in our family. As is the Drum Stick Dash! Oh, and drinking coffee before heading out for any run, and having some more after!

Fact many people don’t know about you? My heritage, my dad was born in Czechoslovakia and I lost relatives in the Holocaust. He was lucky to survive, getting out of the country as a result of his smart father’s foresight.

Trish runs with her three kids Dan, Alison and Mikayla. Mikayla is a junior at Virginia Tech where she runs for the Hokies cross country and track programs. Dan and Alison both live, work and run in Northern Virginia.

Suggestions for growing/improving our running community? We have a pretty awesome running community. Keep doing what we are doing, encourage and support each other, and lend a hand and ear to those new to the sport.

Running goals for 2019? Keep running! Find and explore new roads and trails in towns near and far.


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