Rich Vidinha – Featured Runner of the Week
In our 32nd edition of our favorite weekly post, we decided to wrap up April with another great local runner who had an amazing transition through health and fitness. This weeks spotlight runner is Rich Vidinha I am thrilled to spotlight him and his amazing story. The aim of having a Featured Runner of the Week is not to necessarily single out any individuals, but we want to feature runners who through their uniqueness may one day inspire you to run or reach for new running highs. Every runner has broken down their own barriers, whether it was the big obstacle to take the first running step or entering a race. Each runner will have their own story and to most these stories to others are very inspiring. Rich Vidinha – Featured Runner of the Week is a great way to kick off our weekend!
Grab a cup of coffee and get to know Rich a little better this morning!
Name: Rich Vidinha
Where are you originally from? I grew up around the world as a DOD dependent as my Dad was in the Air Force. We spent most of our time in England and home base was Mt. Holly, New Jersey. The Marine Corps brought me to Beaufort in 2003 and I have been here ever since.
What is your favorite distance to race? Why? My favorite distance to race is the marathon distance. There is just something about running a marathon that brings such great satisfaction, for me. Each race is a new challenge for myself. I find something different to achieve in each and every event whether it is getting a PR, feeling great post run, pacing a group, pacing an individual, testing my body and my mind or just to enjoy the geographical location I’m in. Years ago, never did I EVER think I would run a marathon, but here I am breaking the rules and living my life.
What originally got you into running? I was never fond of running. As an active duty Marine, I never really “liked” to run. I would run my 3 miles and be perfectly content with that, sometimes maybe 4 or 5. It’s not that I was bad at it, just wasn’t my favorite.
My Marine Corps career came to end after having multiple back complications. I was separated after having multiple procedures to include months to years of injections, months of therapy and finally 3 back surgeries. The surgeries were to correct 5 ruptured discs. I had slip discs from L1 to S1. The first couple surgeries were to remove some herniation’s and some disc replacements. The last surgery was a fusion at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I was also diagnosed with severe degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and what the Doctor said was early age arthritis. After all of this, I was deemed unfit for full duty and my time with the Corps ended. I ended up getting a good job but it was a sedentary job where I sat around for almost 6 years and went from around a 170lb body to a near 260lb body. I tried many things to “work out” or get “in shape”, but I was always in pain plus the fact I just had no drive. It wasn’t until I had to swallow the fact that I needed to buy size 40+ pants. With this realization, I began my journey. I did a very trimmed down modified version of P90X, and cleaned up my diet. Many P90X exercises were too painful and caused too must strain on my back, so when I say modified, it was really modified, but it was something rather than nothing. I then attempted my first run, which was about 800m, and man was that tough, BUT, it did not cause me that much pain in my back … it just sucked the wind out of me. I continued on and pressed the distance, 800m became 1 mile, 1 mile became 2 and so I went. Before I knew it, I was running 5 miles fairly well. In 2012, I attended my first sanctioned race and ran a 5K. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and the community. The people and the community is what really drew me in. I found myself in a crowd where everyone had a story, everyone had a reason why, everyone motivated each other. The camaraderie I so very much missed from the Marine Corps was brought back to life in the form of a running community. I ran a few more 5K’s and later learned what a half marathon was, and that became my next goal. And from there, it was over … I was a full time runner. It became a lifestyle and not just a workout. Over time, 260lbs came back down to 175lbs. I’m far from perfect, but I always make the best of each run.
What is your main motivation to keep going? What keeps me going is reflecting back to where I started from, the people I’ve met and to the people I can give back to. I’ve been through a rollercoaster and this ride is not over yet. I discovered that my body was capable of much more as long as I kept my mind in the right place and found a way. Being separated from the Marine Corps was not my plan and I tried everything to remain active duty, but that was not going to happen. I felt defeated. Once I was able to overcome my own adversity and started to make my mark in the running community, I discovered that I was now an inspiration to others. I never imagined that I would have any type of influence on somebody else’s life, but hearing back from people who say it was me that motivated them to find a way, make it happen and not to give up, really hit a different kind of emotion inside me. I fall off sometimes, but there is always something or someone who brings me right back up.
When you’re not running, what do you do? Swimming and biking! … that’s what I mainly do now, train for and race triathlons. But above everything, I am a father to 3 boys, I have a girlfriend, I work a full time job and I go to school full time. There is not much time in my schedule, but I do my best to make it all work, somehow.
What is your next race? Not sure, I haven’t committed to anything yet this year. But, it’s time. I need to get on that!
Describe your perfect run: The perfect run is the one I didn’t want to do. There are many times where I just don’t feel like running, but once I get going and then once I’m done … I feel great! It’s those runs where you can go out and just release and refresh. Getting that runners high, enjoying life and being thankful that I am able. Never miss that opportunity for the perfect run! … the run that you did not want to do, could have been and most likely would have been, the perfect run.
What piece of advice do you have for someone who is just starting out? To not be so hard on yourself. Set realistic short term goals, the long term goals will fall in place. Don’t look at running as a chore or as just a workout, make it worth it, give it meaning and don’t give up. Running doesn’t come natural to most, it takes time to find the right stride, the right shoe, the right pace and so much more. Everybody is different, and you got to find yourself in running. As the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, Des Linden always says, her advice is, “Just keep showing up” – Desiree Linden. You got to show up and put in work!
What has been the single greatest thing you have gotten back from running? The single greatest thing I have gotten back from running…is being able to give back. People who know me, know that it’s not always about me, my pace or my time. If there is somebody, anybody, that needs support or help or encouragement, you can count on me being there.
Goals for this year? Train healthy, have fun. I’d like to run a sub 3 hour marathon in spring 2019.
Wow man! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us your story this week Rich. We wish you the best this year in meeting all of your training and racing goals and I am sure that you will inspire a lot of folks to get out there and make a change! #staygrounded #runbeaufort #runwithpassion
864 Parris Island Gateway, Unit B Beaufort, SC 9906