From RVA to Rio: Ecuadorian runner prepares to face world in women's marathon

From RVA to Rio: Ecuadorian runner prepares to face world in women's marathon

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmonder is in Rio for the biggest weekend of her life

Maria Calle is a VCU alum who is running for team Ecuador, her home country this Sunday in the women's marathon event. She's a life-long runner, but this will only be her fifth marathon ever.

A dream come true, with all of RVA rooting for her from home.

NBC12's Drew Wilder sat down with Calle before she journeyed to Rio to find out how she balances work and family, all while training for the biggest race of her life.

She was able to get a couple workouts here in Central Virginia before leaving for Rio.

"If I just keep working a little bit harder, my dreams might come true," Calle remarked. "So it's exciting, I'm just so excited for Sunday!"

These workouts are different than many Olympians. She's not a 20-something pro athlete. She's a 41-year-old who works out between work and home life.

Maria says her husband has taken on added responsibility around the house so she can focus on training to represent her country.

"I feel like it's our dream and I couldn't have done it if it wasn't for him," she said. "So I'm just so excited, he loves running and has supported my dreams for so long.  I'm just so grateful and I couldn't ask for a better partner!"

A partner who has watched Maria get back after several injuries through the years to qualify for her first Olympics, running for Ecuador, and also running for Richmond.

"I'm so grateful with the, not only with the Richmond running community, but with everyone.  Oh, I'm overwhelmed with all of the love and all of the support, so thank you," she said.

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