Eccleston races after Olympic trials to achieve personal best


Amanda (Putt) Eccleston, No. 29, is pictured on her way to winning the 1,500-meter race in Padua, Italy. Eccleston is a 2008 graduate of Tecumseh High School. Photo courtesy of Matthew Sonnenfeldt.

Amanda Eccleston has no problem picking herself up after a fall. That’s why the Tecumseh High School graduate traveled to Europe just days after barely missing a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, to compete in races in Italy and London.

Immediately after the Olympic trials, Eccleston gave herself three days to rest and repack, and then was on the move again. “It’s pretty common for a lot of runners to go and run really fast times at this point in the summer. It’s a great experience,” she said.

Not only did she win the 1,500-meter race in Padua, Italy, she also achieved a personal record of 4:04:88. Next, she traveled to London for a Diamond League meet, where she came in sixth place and ran the race in 4:03:25.

In response to her time for the London race, Michtrack announced on Twitter that Eccleston was the “Fastest Michigander ever.” According to Michtrack, which records statistics for Michigan track and cross-country, Eccleston is ranked number two in the USA this year, and 15th in the world.

After her loss at the finish line during the 1,500-meter race in Eugene, Oregon by .03 second, Eccleston knew she had given her all. “I was honestly disappointed in the outcome because I had my sights set on making the team, but I was very proud of my performance and how I raced all three rounds,” she said, “So it was tough, but I think it was actually kind of nice to get to go back out right away and race. It sort of took my mind off of that, gave me some new opportunities and some new goals to chase, especially running some fast times.”

Her opportunity to travel and race gave her a fresh outlook. “I’ve never been to Europe so to have something really new and exciting to look forward to really helped me kind of get over that and move on. And we knew that I had been very, very fit going into the trials, so that I was ready for more races after. We wanted to take advantage of that and not just end on kind of a rough note, but keep it going and see what we can still accomplish this year,” she said.

Eccleston’s husband, Jordan, also a runner, works at Dempsey, Inc., an insurance broker’s office in Ann Arbor, where the couple makes their home. Although he was not able to travel to Europe for her recent races, he was a supportive force in Oregon during the Olympic trials. “I was also overwhelmed with the support at the trials both in person and people reaching out to me from home. My parents, sister, and husband were my support team at the track with anything I needed, and several friends from college were there in person as well,” said Eccleston.

She has become friends with many of her fellow runners she has met at races and run alongside in competition. “A lot of people ask me what the relationship is like with my competitors and if we get along, and the truth is the majority of them are my good friends that I love getting to see all over the country at races,” she said.

The summer will hold more races for the elite mid-distance runner, including the Track Town Summer Series on July 29 in Eugene, Oregon, which will be broadcast on ESPN, and the Sir Walter Mile in North Carolina next week. Following those races, she will spend some weeks in training to prepare for possible races in Europe and perhaps New York, which would include the 5th Avenue Mile race. Brooks Running continues to sponsor her in the Brooks ID program as she continues racing.

Eccleston has set her sights on being on the USA championship team, and participating in the world championships in London in 2017. The event has the same qualifying process as the Olympics, and with her ability to run faster this year and reduce her race times, she is excited about having a shot at making the team. And as for personal records, she says she has a specific goal. “Next summer I would like to break four minutes in the 1,500. It’s not been done by that many Americans, I think only six or seven women, I’m not really sure, so that would be a really big barrier to break,” she said.

Her aspirations as a teen running track at Tecumseh High School were not as big as the Olympics, but now she sees only possibilities.

“I had no idea when I was running at Tecumseh that I would ever get this far. I think my goals have slowly progressed over the years as I’ve had more and more success. At this point I’m not setting any limits on what I hope to accomplish and am just trying to get a bit better and stronger every year, and the results will follow,” Eccleston said.


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