Stephanie Green, Fleet Feet Sports Training Program Director
For many Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg runners and walkers, beginners or advanced, the name Amelia Vincent is synonymous with the word fast. Just how fast you say? About as fast as it takes to qualify for the Boston Marathon, did I mention the first time Amelia qualified for the Boston Marathon just so happened to be her first marathon? That is how fast Amelia Vincent is.
Vincent’s most recent accomplishment was winning, yes winning, the Louisiana Quarter Marathon Masters Division with the time of 50 minutes and 34 seconds on January 16, 2016. That time was also good for a fourth place finish among females (18th overall). For those not familiar with the Quarter Marathon length, it is 6.55 miles, 0.35 miles longer than a 10K.
Not sure who this Amelia Vincent is? Well lucky for you, we had the opportunity to ask Amelia a few questions about her life thus far as a runner.
When and how did you get started in running?
I ran track in high school and covered short distances like the 800 meter. I had never run a 5K before but in June 2012, some friends and I decided to train for the Kentlands 5K. We followed the Fleet Feet No Boundaries 10 Week Program and started with walk/run intervals, working our way up to running the entire 5K distance without stopping. Then I ran my first 10K race a month later. A friend encouraged me to join the Fleet Feet Half Marathon Winter Training Program, and I ran my first half marathon in March 2013. I wanted to keep my momentum going and joined the Fleet Feet Marathon Program that summer. I ran my first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2013 where I qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon.
Before running did you do any other sports?
I played basketball and softball while I was growing up.
How many races have you done?
Since my first 5K in June 2012, I have run in 59 races covering distances from 5K to a 50 Miler.
5K - 17
8K, 10K, Quarter Marathon, 15K - 12
Relay Races - 3
Ten Milers - 5
Half Marathons - 14
Marathons – 7
50 Miler – 1
What is your favorite distance to run and why?
My favorite distance to run is the half marathon because it is the perfect distance that lets me warm up the first few miles, set my cruise control and then find a nice finish line kick.
What was your best race so far in your career?
My best race so far would have to be my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon 2013. I trained with Fleet Feet, had a great cross training program, and felt that I was well prepared. But I also did not know what to expect so there was an element of the unknown that made the race very thrilling. It felt great to have that training confidence and I was able to push myself and end up with a Boston qualifying time.
What do you like most about running?
What I like most about running are the people I get to train with and when my friends and family come out to the races to cheer me on.
What is one of your goals for running this year?
I want to help others achieve their running goals. I became a pace coach for the Fleet Feet Winter Marathon Program and have enjoyed sharing my running experiences.
How did it feel to win the masters division and be 4th overall woman in the quarter marathon in Louisiana?
That was my first quarter marathon race. It felt great to run so well in my hometown (Baton Rouge). We had perfect race weather, and I was very happy with my pace. My sister was cheering me on along the finish line stretch. After the race she told me that only a few women finished in front of me. When I got the award, they told me I was a Top Finisher in the Female Masters division and got a unique trophy which was a big wooden footprint that had the Louisiana Marathon bald cypress logo on the back.
Since running has there ever been a moment where you thought "you wouldn't be able to accomplish your run or goal?" If so, why did you feel that way?
Yes, and I think we all have that fear of not being able to accomplish what we set out to do. Given the race course conditions and how you feel, you have to be prepared to adapt and go to plan B if your planned race pace is not working out. I’ve learned that adapting doesn’t mean you failed, and that the real success is to push through and finish in spite of any race day setbacks. As soon as a negative thought comes to mind, I work to push it aside and visualize myself running strong. Knowing that the feeling of accomplishment is waiting at the finish line keeps me moving forward.
When you run in races what do you think about? Do you constantly want to improve your time or win a certain division, or is it more about the adventure and sense of accomplishment?
When I run a race my goal is to do the best I can that day. If my best is a slower pace than my planned race pace then so be it. I believe that we can learn something about ourselves at each race, no matter the finish time. I value both working to improve and the sense of accomplishment.
If you could tell everyone that is reading one thing (whether they are debating on running for the first time, want to be more competitive, or just change their lifestyle), what would you say?
I would tell them not to be afraid to take that first step whether it is joining a gym, taking a new gym class, or signing up for a Fleet Feet Training Program. I have met so many amazing people through my gym and running groups, and I encourage everyone to find a group that will support them in reaching their goals.
Whether you know Amelia or not, you should get to know her. Why? Not because she is a super fast runner. But because of the type of person she is. As you can tell by the answers she gave she is a selfless, caring person. Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg has been lucky enough to call Amelia a participant, pacer, and more importantly, a friend. Amelia is currently our 9:30 pacer for our Winter Full Marathon program and let me tell you from personal experience, she is full of positive energy. I do not think I have ever seen Amelia Vincent not smile. So next time you see Amelia hanging out at Fleet Feet, say hi.
And to Amelia; thank you for being an amazing runner, person, and most of all, friend to everyone here at Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg.