Colleen Quigley is a two-time World Championship qualifier in the steeplechase and the third fastest steeplechaser in US history. She was 2nd at the USATF Indoor Championships in 2018 and finished 9th in the 2018 World Indoor Championships. She won the NCAA championships while at FSU and was a state champion and Footlocker Cross Country finalist in high school.
Below we have excerpts of the interview with Colleen Quingley, in conversation with Namita Nayyar, president Women Fitness
Starting off to be a dancer, a runner, a professional model, and eventually becoming an NCAA Champion and an Olympian, it has been quite a spectacular ride for you. If given a chance to define your journey, how would you define it?
It has been a wild ride for sure! I never dreamed this career for myself when I was a young girl. I didn’t even know being a professional runner was a real job until some point in college. For me, it worked out because I took the journey just one step at a time. I know a lot of people grow up thinking “I want to be an Olympian” but I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. So each step along the way I just tried to do my very best at whatever it was I was doing. When I did dance in grade school/middle school I was always trying to be the best dancer I could be, listening to my teachers and working hard in class to learn and hone my craft. That’s all I’m doing now too. It’s a different craft, but I still am just trying to do everything I can to be the best runner I can be. I’m having so much fun along the way and as I reach the goals I set for myself, I just set bigger and bigger ones. I see every experience I”m having now as a professional athlete and an Olympian as a complete gift.
Your dad was your high school coach. How did he help you in making you realize your potential for running?
My dad has always supported me in whatever I did. When I played soccer and danced that was great, when I wanted to go out for cross country in high school that was great too. My freshman year of high school I decided to go out for track instead of trying out for the soccer team like I originally planned. When that happened, my dad decided to switch over from the all-boys school where he had been coaching for about 25 years to come to my all-girls school (Nerinx Hall) and help coach the distance runners there. He was the one coaching me from then on and we had SO much fun together for those few years. When it came time to look at colleges, he reached out to college coaches from the schools I was interested in and told them about his athlete/daughter. Without that help, I never would have met my college coach, Karen Harvey, who was the one to make me into a steeplechaser. In so many ways, I owe so much of my success to my dad and I will always be extremely grateful for his and my mom’s support along every step of the way.
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