Fernando Vissani shares his simple secret for staying active at age 70


Fernando Vissani didn’t let turning 70 slow him down.

The Christiansburg resident logged 1,545 miles in 2018 – ranking him No. 20 among runners who submitted miles to the Runabout Sports mileage challenge. He consistently finishes 5Ks under 30 minutes and he won his age group in last year’s Runabout Race Series.

Vissani, a native of San Pietro Infine, Caserta, Italy (about 1 hour from Naples), moved to the New River Valley to live near family. He’s become a regular at the weekly Pub Run and on the local race scene.

His secret to staying healthy and running into his 70s: Don’t stop. Keep doing it.


Fernando Vissani

Age:   70

Family: Wife; two grown sons, one living in California with his family and one living in Zambia, Africa with his family.

What brought you to this area?   Short answer: grandkids.  Backstory: our son and his wife bought a house in Christiansburg before leaving for missionary service in Zambia in 2016.

They did not want to sell the house and asked us if we would consider moving down here to take care of it for them. Our answer was YES!  Even though our grandkids are not here now, we will be here when they return in about three years and we will have permanently relocated to Christiansburg.

When and why did you start running?  In 2003, I was working in facilities management at a Merrill Lynch facility in Jersey City.  A corporate gym was available, and I took advantage of it for the first time.  Soon after working out on the treadmill there, I ran my very first 5K with colleagues (Wall Street Run in Manhattan).  I got hooked and have been running ever since.

Favorite place to run? Huckleberry Trail

How often do you run? I run 3-4 days per week and average 28-30 miles a week.

Most satisfying running accomplishment?  10K in under 57 minutes (2005).

Most frustrating running experience? Brush Mountain Breakdown (very steep trail, covered with roots, stones, etc.)

Worst injury?Just some cuts and bruises during a fall.

Advice for new runners? Train and be disciplined.

Any running superstitions or rituals? I always run listening to my favorite Christian music.

Fact many people don’t know about you?  I was born in Italy but lived longer in the UK before coming to the U.S.

Training/racing goals this year? Maintain my 5K time under 30 minutes and finish 15 races.

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Jenn Fleming’s comeback story continues with win at Holiday Lake 50K

Blacksburg running legend Peter Dorrell helps build community

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