Saturday, December 31, 2011

Road to Houston: 5 Questions with Olympic Trials competitor, Meagan Nedlo

Today, we were lucky enough to have 5 Questions with someone who works in the running shoe industry, and competes in it as well, on her "Road to Houston." We'll have a few more of these features as we lead up to the big day on January 14, 2012.

Meagan Nedlo has had an interesting journey to the Olympic Trials. From decent high school roots to a career in the running industry to running collegiately while in grad school, Nedlo just keeps getting better. Earlier this year, she ran 2:45:00 on a whim to get her to Houston, where she'll be competing two weeks from today. Check out her blog here.

5 Questions with Meagn Nedlo

1. Writing About Running: You ran at TCU and Queens in college. Can you explain how that worked?

Meagan Nedlo: Actually I never ran at TCU. I was a solidly mediocre 12-minute two-miler in high school, so needless to say, my phone wasn't ringing off the hook with scholarship offers. I ran frequently and exercised consistently while in college, but never did any structured training. Then, after graduation, I began working in the running industry, first for Mizuno and then for Brooks, and found myself surrounded by other people who were involved in the sport. I slowly began to get more serious and started competing in local races, where I improved to basically an 18:45, 39:00 runner. When I began to entertain the idea of training for a marathon, my boyfriend, Jordan (Kinley), recommended his friend and former college teammate, Jeff Gaudette, as a coach. Jeff was also the assistant coach at Queens, and I guess at some point during my training (even though he coached me remotely and never once saw me work out), he concluded that I wasn't terrible and that I still had collegiate eligibility. He called me one afternoon and literally said, "How would you like to quit your job, move to Charlotte and run for Queens while getting your master's degree?" It was such an incredible, incredulous offer that I had no choice but to say yes! And so that's how I began my first collegiate track season at the ripe old age of 26.

2. Writing About Running: You qualified for the trials at the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham this year. How'd it feel to hit the time and what have been some other races you've been proud of in the past few years?

Meagan Nedlo: Hitting the qualifying time at Mercedes was unbelievably satisfying, because two weeks prior, I'd dropped out of the Houston Marathon, which had been my targeted goal race for several months. I had to attend Mercedes to work the race expo on behalf of Karhu, but secretly it was in the back of my mind that I might jump in and run the race if my legs weren't feeling too beat up. I only told a few people prior to the race and went into it with very relaxed expectations. Fortunately, I had a good day where everything came together, and I was able to redeem myself! If you're interested in reading more details about my Birmingham performance, check out my blog entry.

I was also extremely proud of earning three All-American honors during my second track season at Queens in 2010 (5k indoors, 5k and 10k outdoors). My teammate, Tanya Zeferjahn, and I placed 6th as a team at outdoor Nationals, which was the highest NCAA finish of any sports team in school history. I also improved my 5k and 10k PRs to 16:35 and 34:35, respectively, which was leaps and bounds above what I ever believed I'd be capable of doing.

Caitlin Chrisman and Nedlo at 2010 Club Cross
2. Writing About Running: You were one of four women that qualified for the trials out of Charlotte this year, with Caitlin Chrisman, Megan Hepp Hovis and Stephanie Pezzullo (who is skipping the Marathon trials to prepare for the steeple at the track trials). What's it like having that may fast women in one town?

Meagan Nedlo: Training with Caitlin, Megan and Pezz has been amazing! Charlotte is a relatively small town and the Charlotte running community is very close-knit, so the four of us have been active participants in and cheerleaders for each others' success stories. Leaving those girls and so many other training buddies behind was probably the saddest part about moving.

3. Writing About Running: You recently moved up north. How's the training going up there?

Meagan Nedlo: Jordan and I moved to Marblehead, a northern suburb of Boston, about three months ago. Marblehead is a beautiful, quaint New England town with lots of active runners and walkers, but for the most part, Jordan and I train with each other. He has dragged me through countless early morning workouts and late evening doubles, and I can say without a doubt that any success I have at the Trials will be due to him. (From a training perspective, it helps when your boyfriend is also your coach and your workout partner and your roommate.) I've also started hooking up with some BAA girls for weekend runs and workouts in the city, in particular Teresa McWalters and Emily Kroshus. They both had very successful high school and collegiate careers and have been involved in the sport at a high level for many years, so it's been fun to learn from their stories and experiences.

Nedlo recently won the Indie 5k
at The Running Event
4. Writing About Running: Being a competitor and working for Karhu would seem to allow you to see every angle of the sport. How do you like working in the sport that you also compete in?

Meagan Nedlo: What a blessing! I'm grateful every day to work in an industry that also doubles as my hobby and passion, not to mention it's extremely rewarding to travel to stores and events around the country and witness the positive impact that running has on so many other people's lives. With the exception of a two-year break for grad school, I've worked in the running industry ever since graduating college in 2005, and in that time I've been able to travel (and run!) literally all over the country with so many amazing people. At this point in my life, I can't imagine doing anything else.

5. Writing About Running: What is your goal for the trials?

Meagan Nedlo: First and foremost, to soak up the entire experience and appreciate the fact that it could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That said, my training and racing has been so much more consistent and higher quality than prior to my qualifier at Mercedes. Everything indicates that I'm ready to run under 2:40, even under 2:39 if I have a great day. Honestly though, even if I have an amazing performance by own standards and clock a 2:37, what will that get me--38th place? It's not as though I'm a podium contender and have the weight of the Olympic rings on my shoulders. All the pressure and expectations come from me alone. However, it would be nice if I didn't finish last, since my parents will be there.

Stay tuned for more articles this weekend and continued coverage leading up to the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX on January 14, 2012.

Follow writing about running on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Good job guys. Meagan is not only a good runner but a wonderful person as well. I had the opportunity to train with her and get to know her better. Whatever she does, I know will end up well simply because she is talented and above all she has character and integrity. Good luck Meagan and wish you all the best.


  2. So proud of Meagan! Can't wait to see how she does in the trials. All of her Charlotte friends will be cheering for Caitlin, Megan, and her next week! Do Charlotte proud, ladies!