Amy Yoder Begley
Amy Begley has always dreamt big. At 10 years old, Amy knew she wanted to be an Olympic athlete. In high school, she was determined to win State, go to Foot Locker, and join the Junior World team. In college, Amy dreamt of winning an NCAA title. Now, after accomplishing these goals and more, Amy dreams of engaging the next generation of track & field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s Kilometer Kids program, a free, incentive-based running program designed to encourage kids aged 7-14 in the community to be more active.
A Champion in the Making
Amy’s professional running journey began during her preparations for the 1996 IAAF World Junior Championship in Sydney, Australia. Amy will tell you how humbling an experience this was for her. During a conversation with the Kenyan Junior team, they asked what her best time was and began laughing at how slow she ran. This served as motivation for her to return to the international racing scene to prove herself.
After her experience at the Jr. World Championships, Begley attended University of Arkansas where she was a 2-time NCAA Champion and a 15-time All-American in both Cross Country and Track. After college, Amy returned to international racing, including competing on the United States team at an Ekiden race in Beijing, China in 2002. This is the warm-up jacket that Amy used during this race, one of her first international SR events.
The Olympics and Beyond
The next chapter in Begley’s story involved her Olympic training, culminating in a spot on the 2008 United States Olympic team for the 10,000 meter, finishing 3rd and setting a Personal Record 31:43.60 during the Olyimpic Trials. Amy placed 26th overall in the 10k finals at the Olympics in Beijing, wearing this Team USA warm-up top during practice and training.
2009 was a big year for Amy Begley after joining the Oregon Track Club. A first place finish at the 2009 USA Track and Field Championship qualified her for the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, she set a new Personal Record and finished 6th in the world with a time of 31:13.78. This was one of the most important races of Amy’s life, setting the tone for her career both on and off the track.
Training the Next Generation of Champions
Amy began to focus her career on coaching in 2013, becoming the women’s cross country coach as well as the assistant women’s track and field coach at University of Connecticut. Begley founded Distance Divas Elite to provide help for athletes that do not get a big contract and to guide them in their professional career. She brought this philosophy with her to the Atlanta Track Club, where she is the Club’s head coach. Amy trains thousands of runners and walkers to achieve a wide-range of goals, including training elite athletes to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
Right now, Amy is focused on gaining recognition and increasing funding for Atlanta Track Club’s Kilometer Kids program. The program seeks to create lifelong runners, instilling in participants the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. Through the program, kids learn that exercise is a fun and rewarding activity, opening the door for physical activity to become a lifelong habit. Amy’s passion for this program is what inspired her to create this Athlete Garage™, hoping to connect with other individuals who share her vision for the next generation of runners. Dedicated to this cause, Amy is willing to part with some of her most memorable gear as a thank you to those who are willing to support the Kilometer Kids. Sign up below to support Amy's Athlete Garage™.
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