ordinary people doing awesome things (interview 3) : Vito Cortese

I met Vito Cortese while he was living in Seattle for a few months, and was immediately struck by his positive energy.  He always seemed to be doing something for someone else, constantly looking out for the people around him, and was always just so supportive of his community. That kind of energy is rare, even more so when you’ve just moved to a new city. Vito’s ability to land in a place and immediately connect with the people around him is amazing. I wanted to interview him to share more of that positive energy in the hope that others will be inspired as well!

Vito was also the person who introduced me to Janji, which went from being a random brand I’d never heard of to a company I now support wholeheartedly and that connected me to all this travel in Mexico with Aire Libre.

Basically, there is no one better to talk to about running and community, so without further ado…


Who are you in a sentence?

I am a nature-loving, adventure-seeking, smile-wearing, mistake-making human wandering about with a smile on my face.

I know you and your friend Drew are runners- how did you get into it? Why do you continue?

I started running in my freshman year of college. I had a lot of free time and didn’t have a lot of tennis friends on campus, so I started running all over campus. This allowed me to explore my college town while getting in my cardio. The following year I met my best friend and roommate Drew who taught me how much of a sport running was. From there, I started taking my runs seriously and fell in love with challenging myself. Today, he is still my running partner and we continue to push each other past our limits.

I continue to run because it makes sense.

It keeps me healthy both physically and in spirit. It is what calms me down after a tough day and reminds me that I can overcome anything life has to throw at me. If I can make it to the finish line, I can be successful in other areas of my life. It brings a joy nothing else has been able to give.

How does travel relate to running for you?

I love travel and I love to run wherever I go. I think it brings runners closer together and allows me to get a different perspective in different parts of the United States/world. I love seeing the unique styles and techniques runners use. It’s neat learning from them and improving my own skills through observation. [They’re] two passions of mine that complement each other in so many ways.

In your opinion, what is the importance of community for runners?

Having a community of runners is so important because it is easy to get discouraged when you are your own worst enemy. The community not [only] provides valuable tools to prepare you for your goals, but it gives you real life experiences from which you can learn a thing or two. Running is part of my character and having other people who understand that lifestyle is a comfort.

It’s a family for your passion. They build each other up.

You and Drew have started a podcast together- how did you make the decision to do that?

My best friend Drew and I cohost the podcast In One. It is an oral history of stories from our friends and family that we hope will connect and resonate with our listeners. We started it to reminisce on the good times and remember the bad. To evoke emotions we all have and provide life lessons from our previous experiences. We also have an anonymous submission form so that our listeners can submit stories that they might like to share.

What do you hope to achieve with that?

Our biggest achievement with the podcast is that we created the podcast. We are two creative people that struggle with vulnerability and therefore have a hard time producing much. With that being said, we have received great feedback so far and absolutely love making new episodes. We’ve been on hiatus for a little while due to some life changes, but we are starting up again very soon! To answer your question. We hope to use this as a platform to make people not feel alone in a world that can be so cold. To extend an open hand and let people know that they are enough. We all make mistakes and its going to be ok. We have used the podcast to bring attention to mental illness and hopefully our little project here can make some change.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Vito.

If you’re interested, you can check out older episodes of In One here.

Read more awesome:

ordinary people doing awesome things (interview 1) : Isabella Taylor

ordinary people doing awesome things (interview 2) : Greg Adams

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