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Sun Valley Olympian Morgan Arritola runs towards a new direction

February 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Nicolette House

Since relocating to the Wood River Valley as a sixteen year old, Sun Valley and the mountains surrounding it have given Morgan Arritola incredible opportunities.

2010 Olympian in cross country skiing, World Medalist in Mountain running, and an athlete at heart describe Arritola’s many accomplishments. Yet, beneath those athletic triumphs is a down to earth young woman that enjoys the quiet comforts that living in the Wood River Valley affords her.

Most athletes and coaches agree that Sun Valley is one of the ultimate training destinations for those in mountain sports. The numerous high altitude ski trails, bike paths, and hiking opportunities  help athletes get in prime condition.

“It’s a great place,” says Arritola, “It’s pretty hard to beat as far as recreation goes. Sun Valley is an incredibly active and athletic town.”

Arritola isn’t over-exaggerating Sun Valley’s athletic roots. As an avid mountain biker Arritola hits the trails with other mountain bike enthusiasts, some well into their 70s.

“Some of those 70 year olds can kill me on a mountain bike,” Arritola jokes.

All kidding aside, being immersed in the outdoor sports the valley offers has helped Arritola become a well rounded athlete. In fact, she describes herself as someone that can’t just do one sport.

“I like to mountain bike, road bike, swim and go to the gym, and rock climb. I will never be someone that only does one thing,” says Arritola.

Her natural knack for athletics may be the very characteristic that made her transition from cross country skiing to mountain running such a simple one.

“I was a little burned out on skiing and  I’ve always liked to run. I ran a lot when I  trained for skiing. I did races and I just kept doing more.  It was not too big of a transition by any means,” says Arritola.

It seems the switch has payed off. Despite an injured hamstring, Arritola  went on to the World Mountain Running Championships in 2012, where  she placed an impressive third.

The injury has taken it’s toll, however, and Arritola had to step away from  running for a short period of time to heal. Arritola admits it was hard stay  away from something she loves so much.

“When I couldn’t run for those four months I was pretty grouchy. You  should ask my family,” Arritola jokes.

Yet she has taken her situation in stride, putting her running career in great perspective. She hopes to make the Solomon International Team and compete in bigger races in Europe.

“I just keep trying new kinds of races. I think it’s really going to be a matter of how my leg reacts over the next six month,” notes Arritola.

An Olympic experience, competing in two sports at an elite level, and overcoming injury have given Arritola an amazing vantage point from which to view athletics. Of the lessons sports could teach Arritola, she looked to patience and enjoying the process  as her guiding principles.

“In athletics, just because you put x,y,z together doesn’t mean it will all come together in the end. You have to be willing to take risks. Just be okay with things not always going the way they should. You put alot of hard work in and that doesn’t always mean you’re going have the day you want on the day you need it. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship,” says Arritola.

For Arritola it’s about keeping those bad days in perspective.

“I’ve also gotten to experience amazing things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Even if you have more bad days than good you can’t really trade any of it in.”

Based on that mindset we have a feeling Arritola has many more good days ahead of her.

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