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Shannon Valerio: DU’s speed demon

Shannon Valerio is an inline skating champ. Photo: Matt Suby

Meet Shannon Valerio: DU alumna, faculty member in University College’s American Indian Studies program, manager of DU’s computer help desk, director of mobile computing and the nation’s fastest woman on skates.

Last year, at the age of 36, Valerio (BA anthropology ’92, MA anthropology ’95) won all seven national inline skating titles in her division. She also represented the United States in an international competition where she came in 20th in a field of 76 skaters who were much younger and train full time. This year, she won six national titles and set two national records.

“It shocked me,” Valerio says.

It’s particularly shocking when you learn that she had only been training for a year after more than a decade away from the sport.

“If I’m not too terribly busy at work, I go to the gym during lunch and do a spinning class,” she explains. “If the weather’s OK, I run over to Washington Park and do an hour of intervals. And sometimes I go after work and skate, too.”

Later, while her husband cooks dinner (“he’s a gem”), she gets on her stationary bike for another hour then does some work for DU and goes to bed around midnight.

And get this: When Valerio decided to get back into the sport, she thought it would relieve stress.

“My job at DU kept getting more and more stressful,” she remembers. “I needed a release. But, in some ways, it has added to my stress because it’s really time consuming.”

Valerio had grown up speed skating but quit when she began college. Just before she turned 35, she decided to jump back in. Two short years later, she is sponsored by TruRev, an inline skate design company, and has earned a lot of trophies.

“I’m addicted to the fact that I’m 37 years old and I feel great,” she confesses. “It’s a good feeling to win.”

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