America’s Best Female Distance Runner – Amy Yoder-Begley
Career Highlights: 2009 USA Outdoor 10,000m champion; 2009 USA Indoor 3,000m champion; 2009 USA 15 km champion; 3rd at 2008 Olympic Trials; 2001 NCAA Outdoor champion; 2000 NCAA Indoor 5,000m champion; 2000 NCAA Outdoor 5,000m runner-up; 16-time All American
Yoder Begley was the top finishing American at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in the women’s 10,000 meters, finishing the race in sixth-place in a personal best 31 minutes 13.78 seconds.
Yoder Begley faced 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan and traded the lead twice in the final lap, with Yoder Begley emerging as the victor in 31 minutes, 22.69 seconds, which is the #9 U.S. women’s 10,000m time in history.
Yoder Begley entered the Olympic Trials lacking the Olympic “A” qualifying standard of 31:45:00 – a time she needed to beat in order to ensure a place on the team. Knowing a ticket to Beijing was on the line, she took the lead with seven laps to go before falling to third behind Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher. Running alone and visibly digging for every available bit of energy, she needed to cover the final 800 meters in 2:20 to beat the 31:45 standard. It took minutes after she crossed the finish line for her time to be displayed on the scoreboard, but when it did, it was cause for celebration. 31 minutes, 43.60 seconds. Yoder Begley made it to Beijing with 1.40 seconds to spare.
Yoder Begley graduated from Arkansas with a BS in Exercise Science/ Biomechanics…married to Andrew Begley, a standout for the legendary Arkansas men’s team…afflicted with Celiac disease, Begley cannot consume the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye.
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