Meet Abby Oliver, a new(ish) member to Foot Levelers’ Customer Service team. Abby’s a runner, a homegrown Roanoker—and oh yeah, did we mention she played professional basketball after a killer career on the University of Richmond’s Women’s Team?
Abby is in training for the notorious Foot Levelers’ Blue Ridge Marathon on April 16th of this year, America’s Toughest Road Marathon, with over 7,430′ of elevation change. Winding through the jaw-dropping, rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the marathon has become a bucket list item for many of the world’s elite runners.
Though it’s Abby’s first marathon, we have no doubt she’ll be a force to reckon with on the course. Learn more about Abby below, and keep up with her training here!
Good luck Abby!
Name: Abby Oliver
Position: Sales and Customer Service Representative
Before you came to Foot Levelers, you played professional basketball! Tell us about that.
I’ve always loved sports ever since I was younger, but my love since I was about 5 years old was basketball. I played in high school here at Hidden Valley [high school] in Roanoke and got a full basketball scholarship to the University of Richmond. I played there all four years. When I graduated, I went over to Israel and played professionally for about one season. Basketball has been a big part of my life.
When and why did you start running? What do you like about it?
…One thing I am really passionate about is health and fitness as well as being outside, so running really helps me do both of those…it sharpens my mind as well as gets me physically fit…The running community here in Roanoke is really strong. My friends are runners so I’m able to meet new people and be with my friends at the same time.
How many marathons have you run?
I am nervous because this is the first road marathon that I’ve done, and it’s going to be a tough one. But a lot of my friends are running it too, so it will be fun to run with them and experience that with them.
What is special to you about the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon?
The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is really special because it’s titled the “Toughest Road Marathon” in the country and that title itself brings a lot of people from the Roanoke area, also from all over the country and all over the world… [Runners] love how challenging it is. Another thing that’s really special about the race is it’s more than just a race; it’s becoming a weekend festival with…music and concerts that coincide with the race that weekend, so it’s something that runners as well as non-runners can do as well.
What does your training schedule look like?
I started training mid-December; it’s probably about 18 weeks of training. Usually during the weekdays I run about 3 or 4 times, before work, about 5-8 miles before coming in, and on Saturdays and Sundays I do longer runs, incorporating some of the mountains that are going to be in the race.
Do you use orthotics to help with your training?
I use the XP3+orthotics by Foot Levelers… I think they’re great. One big thing is they’re extremely light, but very shock absorbent. Throughout my training, I haven’t had any injuries or set-backs and that’s really rare for a runner, especially for training for a full marathon. I think my custom-made orthotics have something to do with that.
How does Foot Levelers, as your employer, support your training?
Foot Levelers does a great job of supporting me in my training. They have an on-site gym here that I work out in every day during lunch…I’m able to lift weights here–that’s really important in my training to help me stay strong and injury-free–and the fact that I’m able to do that here during my lunch break really helps me be efficient with my day.
The Workout for Payout program here at Foot Levelers is a great idea. I’m able to get points [toward free health care] for the amount of working out I do… It really helps [employees] be extremely healthy and physically fit.