Olympian Amy Hastings is a runner worth watching in 2013.
Like any great athlete, when Amy Hastings gets knocked down, she picks herself right back up. And once she’s back on her feet, it’s a safe bet that she’ll probably out-kick you, too.
Case in point: After finishing fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston last January, missing a spot on the Olympic team by 71 seconds, Hastings shed some tears, then found strength through her disappointment and quickly put herself back on a fast track to success—a route which led her to a come-from-behind win in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June, securing the tenacious 28-year-old a spot on her first Olympic team.
“It was really a hard pill to swallow,” Hastings says of failing to make the Olympic team in the marathon. “I was very upset about it. I cried about it for a really long time afterward, but it was one of those things where I just kept telling myself that it happens for a reason and I wasn’t ready to give up.”
Growing up in Leavenworth, Kan., where she participated in a slew of sports but “wasn’t really that good at any of them,” Hastings learned from her parents that failure wasn’t an excuse to quit something—it was only a reason to reevaluate and try even harder. As a result, she developed a fierce competitiveness, one that has always belied her girl-next-door likability and vibrant smile.
After some initial running success early in her high school career, Hastings started to take the sport more seriously, and as a junior began working with a coach in Kansas City during the off-season and upping her training volume to 65 miles per week. She set a goal of running competitively in college, and by the time she graduated in 2002, Hastings had already started to show early signs of potential marathon prowess, logging nearly 80 miles a week in training.
“I realized very quickly that my best run of the week was always the long run,” Hastings admits. “That’s kind of what came easiest to me. And I loved it because I had a group of girls I ran with, and we would just go and talk the whole time. It was my favorite run of the week, too. I actually told college coaches I thought I would be a 10K runner and that I’d eventually do the marathon after college. I think they kind of laughed at the time, but I could handle the mileage, even in high school.”