My name is Orla walsh, aka the Vermontster. I was born and raised in VT and was an active child and avid athlete as early as I can remember. I grew up in a loving, active, Irish raised family. I grew up skiing, playing soccer, softball, swimming, track, etc. You name it, we did it! I have a twin brother, older sister and a younger brother. I was 18 when I sadly lost my mother to breast cancer the day of my HS graduation. It was the hardest day of my life. I went on to attend nursing school at Towson University and play division 1 soccer, track and cross country, but suffered from severe depression and sadness all through college. I had such great athletic potential, but was unable to perform at a high level due to the depression and sadness. I remember leaving almost every practice crying and not even able to get out of bed many days. Luckily, I had some great friends and my sister was near by to help me through some of that. I was able to graduate nursing school, compete in cross country, track and field, and soccer through college, although not nearly at the level I played in high school. When I was studying for my nursing boards exam my best friend died while waiting for her 2nd double lung transplant surgery after suffering from a life long battle of Cystic Fibrosis. Again, I was devastated. How could I lose my best friend and my mother. While mourning the incredible loss of my best friend ever, I continued studying, passed my NCLEX, and became a registered nurse.
I landed my first job in Burlington VT, just down the road from where I was raised. I grew as an individual and nurse and loved what I did, but eventually found myself a year later in the back of a police car after putting my car into a ditch and getting a drinking and driving citation. Yes, I had been arrested for drinking and driving. I had finally hit rock rock bottom. I fortunately received a Careless and Negligent, received probation, a lot of court and legal fees, and learned a huge lesson. I would never drink and drive again. It was such a wake up call for me and a second chance. I’m so grestful and lucky I didn’t die or kill another person while learning this lesson.
From there I started ski patrolling and ER nursing and finally was introduced to this thing called Spartan Racing – 3 years ago in Montreal. My life has never been the same since. I found my fire again. I found a second chance to be the athlete I never was in college. I had passion, desire and my turn to show myself and the world who this athlete really is. From there I hit the podium more times than I even know and had a grin inside and out from ear to ear. The races and competition have become harder and more challenging, but I absolutely love the challenge, the community, family and love I have experienced since I started.I have moved around a bit with travel nursing and ski patrolled out west in Colorado and love love the outdoors. My family is from Ireland and I recently returned from visiting them all!