Our Athlete of the Month for January is Sandy Wollangk, aka “Disco”.  She is willing to try ANYTHING.  She is 63, didn’t start running until she was 50 and used to be a smoker.  Disco has done it all…trail runs, marathons, 50k’s, duathlons and she does it with a smile.  She motivates others and reminds us that while winning and being fast is great, just getting to participate and run (on any level) is a true blessing.

We asked Sandy a few questions about her running…

Why did you start running/walking?

After I quit smoking I decided that I needed a more intense exercise routine to keep the weight off.  The animal shelter I volunteered for was a marathon charity so I signed up for the marathon to raise money and ended up training for a marathon although I had never run more than a 1/4 mile. And yes…my first “race” was the Houston Marathon when I was 50! The training and race was a life changing experience and I subsequently joined a running club and the rest is history.

How has Running Wild helped you reach your goals?

Last year I “retired” to Fairhope and the first thing I did was locate a local running group and voila I found the Phat Girlz!  My goal has been to maintain a level of fitness and stay involved in the local running community. Missy. Alison and Lizzy have been very supportive, encouraging and welcoming even though I am by far the most senior of the Phat Girlz and am affectionately referred to as “Mama Disco.”  I love the energy, talent and spirit of the Phat Girlz!

 What is your favorite thing about training with Running Wild?

The training is just a great experience and the camaraderie is awesome. They always inspire us to be the best we can be and throw in a few challenges along the way. Everyone is so patient and accommodating for all levels and experience and they just make the journey PHUN!

What is your greatest (most favorite) athletic accomplishment to date and why?

My greatest athletic accomplishment to date was completing a 50k trail race one year after my third back surgery at the age of 56.  But my favorite athletic accomplishment was completing the Marathon Du Medoc in Bordeaux, France, running (in costume) through 59 vineyards and 8 Chateaux and having wine served at every mile…and finishing upright…quite an accomplishment indeed!

What is your favorite running gear?

My favorite running gear has to be my Garmin 305- can’t run without all the data- and of course my iPod shuffle.  I love listening to music when I run…drowns out the heavy breathing and all the creaks and pops of this aging body. My favorite running outfit is my Phat Girlz hat, Phat Girlz singlet and running skort.

What shoes do you train in and why do you like them?

For racing, I wear New Balance 890 “rainbow” shoes..the colors match almost any outfit and well, they are just me.  I also run in Saucony Glide 5, the yellow and black ones because they match the Running Wild cheetah singlet.

 What is your next athletic goal and how do you plan to reach it?

I am planning to run the Safaricom Half Marathon in Kenya in June and have signed up for the RW Half Marathon program to get a jump start on my training. As a “senior” runner, my major goal is to continue to run without injury and always enjoy the journey and finish upright!

Disco in Auckland

Thanks for sharing Disco!  See you on the road!