I know of so many amazing vegan athletes, almost too many to name, in fact. Yet, I thought it would be nice to spotlight some of my favorite vegan women athletes, not just the men. I’m so inspired by athletes that don’t eat any animal products whatsoever. The theory that says a vegan diet can’t properly fuel an athlete is rubbish, and these amazing women vegan athletes prove that to be true. While I’m not a hard core athlete and never have been, I’ve always looked up to women who are, due to the sheer determination, discipline and passion they exude through their talents.
1. Fiona Oakes
You might not be familiar with this incredible woman from the UK, but she is one of the most impressive vegan athletes in my opinion, that just happens to be female. Oakes has run 22 marathons in the last 10 years and is also a full time fire fighter. She was previously an award winning cyclist in the UK as well, and has won many UK marathons to boot. When she’s not a fire fighter, she’s running an animal sanctuary that requires her to start before dawn, taking care of over 400 animals each day, and ending her shift around 8 p.m. each night. Oakes has been said to tell people that most people are surprised to hear she is vegan after winning so many races and running such long distances. I guess she proves that you don’t need to eat animals to have plenty of energy and stamina!
2. Catherine Johnson
Catherine Johnson is a well known cycling champion that has been vegan since 1998 when she was floating between vegan and vegetarianism. She says she now has more energy and stamina without meat and dairy and her recovery is much faster, allowing her success in cycling to greatly improve.
3. Catra Corbett
If you’re not familiar with this incredible marathon runner, let me introduce you to one of the most impressive vegan athletes to date. Catra has ran over 250 ultra marathons and 80 100th mile races. She holds the women's record for completing the 424 mile John Muir Trail twice. I can’t even fathom running one 100th mile race, much less a 424 one!
4. Amanda Riester
This lovely bodybuilder and boxer is a passionate vegan that is also talented in the ring too! She won the 2011 Natural North America Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships along with being rated as the second best female boxer in the United States by age 18. She is also a pet-loss grief counselor and says her vegan diet has fueled her emotionally and physically for everything she has needed to do.
5. Steph Davis
Davis has made US history for women in the athletic world of rock climbing. She has been the only woman to ever free-climb a number of popular peaks such as El Capitan, Torre Egger in Patagonia in just one day, and was the second to free-climb Yosemite National Park in one day. In March of 2013, she even made the cover of ‘Climbing’ magazine. Davis has said that she originally made the change to a vegan diet for health reasons and saw her athletic performance greatly improve immediately. She later stayed vegan not just for the health benefits, but because she became more ethically aware and passionate about animal abuse and awareness.
6. Ruth Heidrich
Heidrich, who is a huge advocate of a raw vegan diet, is also one of the most successful runners in the US. She has been a vegan for over 31 years and has won 900 gold medals in everything from 5Ks to ultramarathons to Ironman Triathlons. Are you impressed yet? I sure am! She is also an author of the books: Senior Fitness, A Race for Life, The Chef Cook, and even hosts a talk show advocating raw vegan foods called “Nutrition & You” in Hawaii.
7. Venus Williams
Last, but not least, one of the most well-known female vegan athletes is Venus Williams who recently went raw vegan two years ago for her health, due to an autoimmune disease. Now, she’s back on the court and going plant-based strong!
If you’re a vegan athlete and have a favorite female vegan athlete that inspires you, please post it here! Also, I’ve provided a great link below from Dr. Joel Fuhrman in the sources section that shows you how to fuel yourself as an athlete on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Who’s your favorite female vegan athlete?