230: Emma Spencer on Never Settling in Her Path to the Olympic Trials Marathon

“I think I started running because I never thought of myself as an athletic person growing up, I was definitely very more artistic ,bookish, and I discovered this side of myself that I could excel at and was totally new to me and really amazing to take ownership over. And I think that’s still part of the reason I run today is because it gives me this confidence to know that you know, I can do this thing where I get out of it what I put into it”
Emma Spencer

Emma Spencer is an elite distance runner, running coach, software engineer and runs for the Tracksmith Hare AC. She has a marathon best of 2:37 (BMW Berlin Marathon 2018), which qualified her to race the 2020 US Olympic Marathon trials. This interview is in two parts, and takes place the day before and day after the trials in Atlanta. Emma ran 2:41:40 and placed 56th out of 390 women.

This conversations covers the following:

  • Emma’s introduction to running
  • What her early years of running looked like and her transition into college
  • Her experience of hazing, bullying, and a toxic culture in her college running program
  • Her experience with depression and vulnerability in college
  • Her introduction to the marathon
  • How she navigated being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Her experience of gaining an Olympic Trials Qualifying time and what that means to her
  • Her goals and expectations for the trials
  • Embracing mental and physical discomfort
  • Her thoughts on the Olympic Trials post race
  • Working as a software engineer and her move to North Carolina
  • Her goals for the future and what running means to her

Xendurance is a nutrition company based out of Phoenix Arizona, providing high quality nutrition and recovery products for athletes. Xendurance proudly makes products that are science based for optimal health and performance. They have a large Pro-Team of talented athletes, including ROO’s own Soul Sister Abbey Cooper. All their products are made with the finest ingredients and to the highest quality. They are certified by multiple standards and all their products undergo strict analytic testing to comply with the World Anti Doping Agency, International Olympic Committee and other major sporting leagues.

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