By Steve Lindsley, The Umpqua Post
Much has been made of a recent addition to the Lower Umpqua Hospital District staff in Reedsport, OR. It turns out Stephanie Casey, D.O.’12, also has a connection with the Olympics.
Casey was a competitive race walker and has attended two U.S. Olympic trials. She talked about it in a presentation to the Rotary Club of Reedsport on Sept. 24.
“I’ve been doing competitive race walking since I was, probably, in the third grade,” she explained. “My dad is a race walker. He’s been my coach my whole life. I did a lot of competing since I was a little kid.”
She said she quit when she went to high school because, as she explained, it was not the cool thing to do.
“You get made fun of a lot,” she laughed. “You look really weird. It’s not really a sport, and so I did cross country, track and some long-distance running. I was always a horrible runner. My coaches did not understand. ‘You can walk but you can’t run at all?’ I’m pretty sure I can walk faster than I can run.”
She ran a marathon her first year in college and it did not turn out well. “I was so injured after that and it took a long time before I could run again,” Casey said. “My dad said, ‘Look, why don’t you race walk in the meantime, to kind of recover?’ So I got back into it.”
She participated in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene.
“He actually got me training for the trials, which was right before I started medical school,” she said.
She finished sixth, when only the top one or two contestants made it to the Olympics. “I was not really that close to going,” she said, “but I got to go to the trials, which was really fun.”
She finished with a time of 1:41:47.70.
She figured she was done with race walking after she started medical school.
“I kept training through medical school,” she said. “I went to a couple
of international competitions: one in Russia and one in Mexico.”
Her husband, Patrick, thought she would quit after she entered into medical rotations and their second child was born.
“Now, it’s coming up on the 2012 Olympic Trials,” she remembered. “She was three months old and it was about three months before the trials. I was walking around with her one day and I was like, ‘Do you think I should try and train,’ just to qualify and go to the trials just for fun?”
“He was like, ‘You’re absolutely crazy,’” Casey said. “’There’s no way you’re doing this. I’m not even going to watch you try.’”
She did train and compete at the 2012 trials. She finished eighth.
What about the 2016 Olympics?
“I just had another baby,” she laughed. “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
Casey comes to Reedsport with her husband and three small children, Pierce, 6; Annalie, 4; and baby Genevieve. Now in family medicine practice at Dunes Family Health Care, she grew up in Salem, OR, and received her first degree in early childhood education from Chemeketa Community College. She completed her bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University and her doctorate from Des Moines University. She moved to Klamath Falls for residency training, including rotations in Reedsport, and started at Dunes Family Health Care
She and her family enjoy hiking, biking, baking and, of course, walking.
This article was published in The Umpqua Post on Sept. 27, 2015, and is reprinted with permission.