What’s Your Why?


  Amy “VT” VanTassel – Amy “VT” is a proud member of the Wattie Ink. professional athlete roster and the Chris Bagg Coaching Group. The Ultraman double-iron distance is her forte, having attained a career highlight with an overall win (including men) in Israel in 2018, after her win in Canada in 2017. VT has since placed in three major international half- and full-iron distance events, and also represents Quintana Roo Bicycles, Rolf Prima Wheel Systems, Creminelli Fine Meats, Evolution Healthcare and Fitness, and PowerBar Sport.


Amy is an exceptional athlete and our PeaceHealth Inspirational Athlete of the month. We caught up with Amy to find out her WHY.

What’s your WHY? WHY do you race? Because it’s better with friends.


When I began racing professionally, I was chronically faced with the same question, “How much does a professional triathlete make?” My race-related income doesn’t exactly rival that of an average NBA player at $5 million. In fact, my travel expenses often surpass my income, causing a follow-up question, “Then WHY do you do it?” Bottom line – I don’t like exercising alone. When training for ultra-events, I find it dreadfully boring to face 10- hour rides and 5-hour runs alone. Not only do I prefer company, but I love capitalizing upon local races to train for other races. One of my fave signature moves is to find a super fun local race, then add both a long warmup and a long cool-down to get in the mileage. The camaraderie of hundreds of co-racers, the aid stations, a preset course sans traffic, and exciting production levels provides me with energy for the poaching.

Last October I couldn’t find any suckers to join me on my long run, so I asked my husband and coach Chris Bagg of Chris Bagg Coaching Group if I could register for the WHY Racing Event raucously fun Scary Run Half Marathon in Washougal, Washington. “Sure, I’ll do it with you. What should we dress as?” I swear I’m not exaggerating but of all my major events all over the world, the Scary Run stands out as one of my most fun training and racing days of the year. WHY Racing Events doesn’t just stage cute, local, ma-and-pa races, though. They offer the most high-production, dynamic, and competitive events in our region. The proof is in the pudding with the extremely popular Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival in Sunriver, Oregon, attracting thousands of serious athletes and thousands more enthusiastic families to central Oregon for the last 24 years!

My mom annually checks-in with me to ask if I’m still having fun. It’s not always “fun” for me to line-up next to world champions, facing down 10 plus grueling hours of racing, but it’s certainly enjoyable to race a variety of events. A notable highlight of last year’s racing season was racing local with one of my favorite racing outfits, Why Racing events, and winning a bucket of candy, beer and a pumpkin pie at Scary Run. That never gets old!

Amy’s racing accomplishments:

  • 1st overall, Ultraman Israel 2018
  • 8th professional female, Ironman Mont Tremblant 2016
  • 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd professional female, Great White North half-iron distance 2018, 2017, 2016 (4:37)
  • 12th professional female, 1st U.S. female, Ironman Italy 2017
  • 1st overall female, Ultraman Canada “Ultra 520K” 2017
  • 1st overall female, set new course record, Grey Rock Ultra Run 50K 2017
  • 1st overall female, set new corse record, Sasquatch Trail Run 15K 2017
  • 4th professional female, Duathlon National Championships 2016