Scottsdale ultramarathoner to run 200 miles after losing 200 pounds

Almost a decade ago, living in Chicago, Callie Vinson weighed 377 pounds. The former high school athlete says she’d fallen off the rails.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:33 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - This coming weekend in Utah, ultramarathon runners will tackle the Moab 240. A, yes, 240 mile race that will take several days and require an enormous amount of willpower. For one Scottsdale resident, the determination and resolve shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Almost a decade ago, living in Chicago, Callie Vinson weighed 377 pounds. The former high school athlete says she’d fallen off the rails. She struggled with an eating disorder, but rock bottom hit in the form of an invitation. “One of my friends asked to go to brunch one day and I looked up where it was and it was about like a mile away,” says Vinson. “And I was like, ‘there’s no way I can walk there. They want to walk there? That would kill me to walk a mile.’ So that was the that was the point where I was like this has to change or like my doctor said. it’s going to end at an early death.”

Vinson started by making her own meals. Then she got a gym membership. She would work out at 4 a.m. “I didn’t want people to judge or see me,” she laughs. “This person who looks like they’ve never been to a gym in their life. So I would go way before the sun came up.”

Under the cover of darkness, she started running, too. Vinson lost the first 100 pounds in about eight months. 200 pounds took just a year and a half. But it took three years to build up the confidence to run in public. She signed up for her first race in 2016. The Chicago Marathon. “I remember doing that and just thinking like, ‘I did that,’ like, ‘my body did that,’ says Vinson. “And so I think that’s continued to be, I guess my motivation to run is, it’s because I can.”

Now, the 35-year-old runs almost every day. Vinson’s says her unhealthy habits, like any addiction, will always be a battle, but she’s found balance. “I have this folder on my phone of old photos that sometimes I’ll look back at and I usually do it when I’m feeling like, like, what am I doing?” she says. “Either like I had a bad run or like I don’t know, I’m just feeling like I shouldn’t have ate that thing. And I’ll look back and I’m like, ‘do you see how far you’ve gotten?’ Like, ‘do you see that?’ Girl like, she had this dream to be this person who could go and run and be free and do all these things that you want to do and you are that person, like, you’re doing it.”

Callie Vinson is that person. A dreamer, who lost 200 pounds, and is about to run more than 200 miles. “I’ve been able to explore some of the wildest places and it’s because my two feet got me there,” she says. “It’s not because I drove there, it’s because I got myself into that spot and I got to see those views and no one can take that from you. And I just want to keep chasing those.”