HR Pod: Amanda Eccleston, Professional Runner for Brooks

Simmons-Harvey 1
Photo by Peter Draugalis

Amanda Eccleston joins James Rogers for 80-plus minutes of conversation. Amanda is 27 years old and has a 4:25 mile and a 4:03 1500-meter PR to her name. Her sponsors include Brooks, Run Gum and Cocoa Elite. Amanda missed the 2016 Rio Olympics by 0.03 seconds in the 1500, finishing fourth in 4:06.19 to Brenda Martinez’s 4:06.16 in a memorable race at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Training in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a member of True Blue Elite coached by Mike McGuire, Amanda shares her story of transformation from a 5:13 1600-meter runner at Tecumseh High School to a 4:25 miler today. She journeyed from Tecumseh to Hillsdale College to the University of Michigan. Conversation topics include: Amanda’s 2017 highlights, UofM’s DMR dominance, her 2016 Olympic Trials, grassroots miles in the United States, training in Ann Arbor, trusting God, why she loves Staples (the store) and how she manages her sweet tooth. Amanda also reflects on David Torrence’s life—his impact on running and the joy he radiated.

Check out Amanda’s website: amandaecclestonruns.com

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No. 99 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“My most frustrating running moment was my junior year at Hillsdale [College]. I had suffered a series of three stress fractures between my freshman and sophomore year, so I was out a year of racing. I came back really slowly. My junior year in cross-country, I was still running pretty slow. Hadn’t PR’d in two years. I had raced at our home course—ran the worst I ever finished on our team. And I just felt like my running career was going nowhere. … Immediately getting through that, my coach decided to have me do more of a fun race, a shorter one. Get out there and just feel the point of racing again: to enjoy it. I ended up running pretty well, felt a little bit more competitive, came back three weeks later and finally PR’d by 45 seconds in the 6K. … Since that point, it’s been kind of a steady progression where I keep putting the work in, and I am seeing the results. That’s keeping me motivated. … We do have a tradition at Hillsdale College. It’s called the Cider Mill Run. Our coach [was] Wild Bill Lundberg, who is just a crazy coach, and what he has us do is we run for a couple miles in the woods, and we pick up all the glass bottles we can find. He’s got a pedestal that we’re supposed to put them on, and we’ll get rocks and take turns chucking the rocks. And whoever breaks the bottle gets a free pair of shoes. So this is what we do every year as our fun run the week before regionals.”