Amanda Eccleston

Amanda Eccleston

Amanda has been running since she was 12 years old. She originally got into the sport after watching her older sister, Allyson, compete at track meets, and she's been in love with the sport ever since. After competing at Hillsdale College and the University of Michigan, Amanda continued training and eventually signed with Brooks in 2016, who currently remains her sponsor. She has trained in Ann Arbor under Mike McGuire since college.

 

How does it feel for running and racing to finally be back to normalcy?

It's so nice to have race opportunities all over the place again. It seems like there are almost more domestic events than usual this summer, which is really fun and provides loads of races for US athletes.

What was one of the things you missed during the year of Covid restrictions?

I really missed being able to workout with my teammates those first few months when the restrictions were really tight in Michigan, and I definitely missed seeing friends I've made through running that I usually catch up with several times during the summer race season.

What was one of the biggest training hurdles during that period and how did you deal with it?

One of the hardest things was not having all the equipment available that I usually do, especially cross training equipment. This was really hard in the spring of 2020 because I got a stress reaction in my femoral neck, and normally I'd be in the pool for that, but I just had to take complete time off. I do have an ElliptiGo, which is amazing, and once I could handle a little impact I did that.

I also bought a spin bike so I could do more training at home.

What was your experience like in this year's Olympic Trials?

I haven't raced at Hayward in 5 years, so getting to come back for the trials and in an incredible new stadium was a lot of fun. Personally, I had a great preliminary round and felt the best I have racing all year, but I struggled in the semi-final and didn't have the fitness to handle the hard second half of the race. Overall I was really grateful to make it back to the trials and give myself one more chance to compete against the country's best.

What was the most special moment you took away from the Olympic Trials?

I just love seeing all the first-time Olympians and seeing how happy and excited people are to achieve those dreams. Since I know so many people in the sport and their stories, I get super invested in all the races. I also loved seeing Abby Cooper hit the Olympic standard in the 5k prelim; it was so gutsy for her to do that all alone and so inspiring.

What lesson did you learn at the Olympic Trials that you will take with you for future competitions?

I think it's important to remember that even when you have a bad day on the track, your self-worth does not change a bit. Running is something I love and am passionate about, but whether I run great or horrible, my family and friends still love me and are still proud of what I've accomplished.

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be?

I wish there was more transparency, like in contracts, in athletes sharing injuries and why they are not racing ahead of time so you can follow your favorite athletes. Also in training because there are no magic bullets, so sharing what you do shouldn't be revealing your deepest secrets. Another one being sharing their stories. I think some great efforts have been made to share athletes' stories and help us get to know them better, but other sports do a much better job in some of these areas and make it way more fun for fans to follow along.

When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?

My biggest strength is my mental belief and confidence. When I can really zone in on those two factors, I've been able to have a lot of success and generally can compete well for the win in races. My biggest weakness is being injury prone, which has meant that I can't train as hard as I'd like to and my career has been full of interruptions. So a lot of times I get to the start line with a lot less fitness than other athletes and just have to run my best without worrying about everyone else.

What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?

I found a $100 bill in the park near my house while on a run.

 

What's your biggest pet peeve?

People staring at their phone when spending time together or when walking across the street! Please look up for that!

What's your biggest fear?

Drowning in an enclosed space, like in an underwater cave or something. Oddly specific, I know.

Who is someone you look up to in the sport?

I really look up to Molly Huddle and Des Linden. Both of them have had incredibly successful long-term careers and aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe. Also, they are both super gritty, tough racers.

Who is one of your favorite athletes to train with?

I've loved training with all my teammates, and I really enjoyed training with Nicole Sifuentes before she retired. We had similar abilities in workouts, and in 2016 and 2017 we were able to push each other really well and had a blast doing it.

What's next for you?

I've just started coaching full-time at Central Michigan University, where I'll focus on mid-distance runners. I've got several more races this summer, including the Liberty Mile, Guardian Mile, Sir Walter Mile, and Ed Murphy Classic.

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