BEAVERCREEK — She looks as if the slightest gust of wind could blow her over. But tucked away inside that diminutive frame lies a world-class athlete vying for a shot at the Olympics. Susan Randall, 39, of Beavercreek is considered one of the best female competitive race walkers in the nation.
This past March, Randall placed third at the USA Track and Field World Cup Trials in Whiting, N.J. That effort earned her a spot on the U.S. National racewalking team, which will be competing May 3-4 in Taicang, China for the World Racewalking Cup.
Back in 2005, she and her husband Mike watched a racewalking event at a high school meet in Yellow Springs. Randall said she was intrigued by the competitors’ style of walk. In racewalking, the competitor has to maintain contact with the ground at all times, and the lead leg has to be straightened until the leg passes under the body, creating an odd looking waddle of sorts.
Randall went down to talk to the coach about it, the coach offered to show her how to do it, and she’s been hooked ever since. Today, she is coached by Vince Peters of the Miami Valley Track Club and by United Kingdom National Coach Andi Drake, of Leeds University in England.
A typical racewalking event is 20-kilometers in distance. Judges can eject a competitor if the walker is said to have not followed the proper form. A judge’s raised red paddle signifies a penalty upon that runner. “Three reds and you’re out,” Randall explained.
“I walk every day twice a day, and I do about 100 kilometers (approx. 60 miles) a week,” Randall said, during a break in training at Beavercreek Community Park. “A typical day for me is to work my part-time job from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., come home and do my first workout, then I eat, take a nap, and I go do my second workout of the day.”
And these aren’t simple walks around the park. She terms her “easy workouts” as her 10-kilometer (roughly 6.2-mile) jaunts.
“I do two speedwalk sessions each week, then I’m always doing weightlifting and conditioning. And I do two long walks of about 20-25 kilometers (12.4 to 15.5 miles) each during the week as well,” she said.
Mike laughs when she’s asked about her dietary regimen. A retired U.S. military veteran, Mike stands at more than six feet tall and has a husky build.
“She eats more than I do! She walks everything off, plus she has a high rate of metabolism, so she averages around 6,000 calories a day,” he said. “When we go out to eat, waiters are always thrown when she is the one who eats the 24-ounce steak, and I eat the smaller portion. They always assume that the bigger steak goes to me, so their mind is blown when they see her eat like she does.”
Susan just giggles.
“I stay away from candy and sweets, and I try to focus on eating carbohydrates and protein foods, but I can eat pretty much anything I want,” Susan said, still laughing.
The World Cup event won’t be her first foray into international competition. She earned the bronze medal at the Women’s Team Pan American Cup in El Salvador in 2009. She finished second at the United States 5K National Championships, was the Indoor National Champion, and placed seventh at the Olympic Trials in 2012. Last year, she was named Masters Racewalker of the Year for USA Track and Field, and she’s currently ranked seventh in the nation among race walkers in the Open Elite Division.
Randall is sponsored by PowerBar, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, and Communication Concepts, Inc.
Randall’s ultimate goal is to earn a spot on the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To offset some of the costs that go along with traveling all over the globe to compete against the world’s top athletes, the Randalls will be hosting a fundraiser/bake sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 25, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26, at their home at 389 Big Stone Drive, in Beavercreek.
Nearly 30 Miami Valley businesses have given their support by offering up raffle items for an upcoming fundraiser. Raffle winners will be drawn at Ritter’s Frozen Custard, 2531 Dayton Xenia Rd. in Beavercreek, on June 6. For sponsorship information, please contact Pat Harris at: (937) 879-2016.