Athletic Accomplishments


I’m a Runner: Sarah Palin. By Dan Simmons, Runner’s World

Governor Palin grew up in a running family and has been running for over 35 years stopping only for brief periods during each of her pregancies. She ran a sub-four-hour marathon in Anchorage in 2005. Running 10 to 12 miles in actual temperatures that drop to 20F to 30F below zero in pitch darkness is a routine practice for Gov. Palin.

Eventually though, I realized that the road, and especially marathon training, holds invaluable life lessons. That to reach your goal you have to put in the tough, drudging miles. That the best rewards often lie on the other side of pain. And that when it seems you can’t take another step forward, there is a hidden reservoir of strength you can draw on to endure and finish well. Some would call it something spiritual, others would call it personal resolve, but I believe that reservoir resides in all of us (Palin, 2009 pp. 27-28).


Gov. Palin was a starting point guard, on the Wasilla Warriors high school team. In Going Rogue, Gov. Palin discusses her time with the Warriors on pages 33, and 39 through 41. This video shows a moment which was a defining moment in her life and charted Gov. life’s course.

March 1982 — Victory Point scored with a broken right ankle.

Maybe God didn’t give me natural athleticism – other athletes could run faster, jump higher, and hit the basket more often – but I loved competition. I loved pushing myself and even relished pushing through pain to reach a goal. I realized that my gift was determination and resolve, and have relied on it ever since (Palin, 2009 pp. 27-28).

That victory changed my my life. More than anything else to that point, it proved what my parents had been trying to instill in me all along: that hard work and passion matter most of all (Palin, 2009 pp. 41).

Everything I ever needed to know, I learned on the basketball court. And to this day, my right ankle is a knobby and misshapen thing, a daily reminder of pushing though pain (Palin, 2009 pp. 41).

Baseball and Softball

Photo by Amanda Gragert.

“Gov. Sarah Palin tosses the first pitch of the season of Gastineau Channel Little League on May 5, at Adair-Kennedy Baseball Field as her daughter Piper, right, along with hundreds of players, watch. The league is funded by the Youth Activities Grant from the City and Borough of Juneau, donations and sponsors. It is Juneau’s largest youth sports organization and started in 1952 by volunteers.” Retrieved from Capital City Weekly.

Notice the power in Gov. Palin as she winds her body for the pitch. You would not want to be beaned by her fastball.

It was in softball that Coach Reid Smith taught me another lesson that served me well for years. He told one of our rookie outfielders, who was almost as weak a player as I was to, to quit jumping around and acting all gleeful when she successfully caught a fly ball (Palin, 2009, p. 32).

“That’s what you’re supposed to do, girl!” he yelled. “Quit acting surprised when you do what you’re put there to do!” (Palin, 2009, p. 32)

Early in my political career, I would remember that lesson. When things went right under my administration, sometimes, I’d look around and wonder why no one but me was jumping with joy. Then, I’d recall Coach Smith’s holler from years ago…(Palin, 2009, pp. 32-33)


Gov. Palin discussed her leisure pursuits with Bill O’Reilly on January 20, 2010. Go to 2:05 in the video. Gov. Palin takes kickboxing classes on days she does not run.

In her November 16, 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, this segment shows Gov. Palin taking aerobics class at Edge Fitness, the same facility where she kickboxes.

Gov. Palin on Hard Work and Athletic Accomplishments

In between sports and school we worked. I cleaned a small local office building by myself, every Sunday night, through all four years of high school, for $30 a weekend. I babysat. I waitressed. My sister and I picked strawberries in the mud and mosquitoes at Dearborn’s local form for five cents a flat. We inventoried groceries on dusty shelves at the local store. We swept parking lots to raise money for our next softball tournament and raked leaves to make money for trips to basketball camps and track competitions in Texas. We did not think to ask our parents to pay our way. I was proud to be able to buy my own running shoes and sports equipment (Palin, 2009, p. 32).


Adams, B. (2009). I’m a Runner: Sarah Palin [Photo Slide Show]. Retrieved June 30, 2009 from:

Gragert, A. (2007, May 9). “Time to Play Ball” Capital City Weekly. Retrieved from:

Palin, S. L. H. (2009). Going Rogue: An American Life. (New York: Harper). pp. 27-28, 32-33, 41.

Simmons, D. (2009). I’m a Runner: Sarah Palin. Runner’s World. Retrieved, June 30, 2009 from:,7120,s6-243-410–13221-5-1X2X3X4-5,00.html