Posted Grace Weaver on 6/21/2018 |Remarkable! People
Olive Cecchi proves that no age is too young to do big things, work hard to accomplish your goals, make a difference in your community and have a little fun along the way! The 13-year-old rising 8th grader from Las Vegas, Nevada is the second youngest girl to ever complete the Leadville Marathon—a brutal race that starts at an elevation of over 10,000 feet and gains more than 6,000 vertical feet throughout the course.
As a Girls on the Run SoleMate for Girls on the Run Las Vegas, she has raised over $6,000 for the girls in her community. We were lucky connect with Olive the day after she completed Leadville to talk about running, what motivates and inspires her, why she supports Girls on the Run and more!
When did you first become involved with Girls on the Run? Why is Girls on the Run important to you?
I got involved with Girls on the Run earlier this year. As a member of National Honor Society, I needed to find a meaningful service opportunity and wanted to do something that incorporated running because I love it so much. I was lucky to join a few Girls on the Run practices and run with the girls! I loved it! After that, I knew I could do something more and decided to become a SoleMate. I think it’s important to help girls build healthy habits and have confidence.
We’d love to hear more about your training. Can you share a bit about it with us?
Last fall, I completed the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. After that, I knew I wanted to do something bigger and decided to train for Leadville. I had to balance my training with school. I ran in the mornings two times a week before school, sometimes during the afternoons, and then on the weekends. I trained with my Dad and with Reinier Geyser, an ultra-athlete and the founder of Power Hour 360 here in Las Vegas. I also ran Mt. Charleston a few times. The elevation is slightly lower than Leadville is at 11,900 feet.
Note from Girls on the Run: Not only did Olive complete the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon, but she was the youngest to do so, finishing first in her age group and raising over $1,500 to support Vegas Strong and the families and individuals impacted by the tragic events on October 1, 2017.
What did you learn about yourself during your training?
I learned that I am very goal-oriented, that I like to challenge myself, and that I like to finish what I started. I also don’t like to “cut corners” and am honest with myself and in my training. For example, I ran a few times in Red Rock Canyon. The loop that we did was 14.7 miles. I would not like counting it as a 15-mile run knowing that it was really 14.7 miles. So, I’d say that it was 14.7 miles…because it was!
Was there a point during the Leadville marathon yesterday that was super challenging or where you doubted yourself? What did you tell yourself to keep going?
From mile 11-13, you are summiting and it’s basically a very steep and long uphill. It’s at a very high elevation…like 12,000-13,000 feet…so the air is thin and it can be hard to breathe. My trainer, Reiner, helped me prepare for the race both physically and mentally. Once of the things we worked on was having a personal mantra. Mine is: “Rest if you must but don’t you quit.” That helped me to keep going even when times were tough.
How did it feel to cross the finish line yesterday?
Oh gosh. The last quarter mile was a straight-shot so I could clearly see the finish line. I just kept running and I felt amazing once I crossed!
Olive sports her Girls on the Run cape while completing the Leadville Marathon with her trainer, Reiner (left) and her dad, Ed (right).
You mentioned that you visited a few Girls on the Run practices to run with the girls. What advice would you give to them or to any girls?
I would say to have a goal and keep working hard towards achieving it. Never stop.
What advice would you give a girl who wants to do something big to challenge herself but feels unsure about it?
You can do hard things. Just go into it with a positive attitude. When I was training, there were mornings when my alarm would go off at 4:30 a.m. and I would be tired or feel warn-out. Keeping a positive attitude always helped me get through those times.
Is it too soon to ask what’s next for you?
Well, right now I am getting ready to go away to summer camp for 8 weeks so I won’t really be training. I’ve done cross country for 3 years and that starts up again in the fall. Since those races are much shorter, I’ll be focusing more on speed and less on distance. Down the road, I want to do more half marathons and maybe another marathon.
Fun Facts about Olive!
Her favorite subject in school: Math, because it is challenging and fun when you understand it.
The coolest place she has run: Leadville! The mountains are so pretty.
Where she’d go if she could go anywhere in the world: Somewhere with a beach, like Bora Bora, or a city like Paris.
Favorite person to run with: Her dad.
What she wants to be when she grows up: A lawyer or a business entrepreneur.
Olive crosses the finishline of the Leadville Marathon on June 16, 2018
Thank you so much, Olive, for talking with us and for supporting Girls on the Run! We are sending you a huge Superstar energy award. You are remarkable!
Want to learn more about being a SoleMate for Girls on the Run like Olive and help girls in your community? Click here!