Andrea Wagner

Ali on the Run Show Episode 282: Andrea Wagner, 52-Time Marathoner

“I was in a world I could never have imagined — and I completely broke.”

Andrea Wagner had a meteoric rise to running success. She first leaned into running to cope with the stress of working at the Pentagon in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. She ran her first marathon with a one-and-done mindset, finishing in 4:35 and insisting she would never do it again. (Famous last words!) More than a decade later, Andrea was a mom of two in a bad marriage, again turning to running to cope. She ran more marathons — but this time around, she was winning them. In 2014, she won the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon, and then went on to finish the Chicago Marathon in 2:41, earning herself an Olympic Trials qualifying time. She signed with Oiselle. She garnered the strength to leave her marriage after 10 years. And then, she lined up at the start of the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. But after 14 miles, she stopped running. She was done. Done with that race, and done running competitively. On this episode, Andrea, who lives in San Antonio, TX, talks about life after elite running, about finding strength from within, and about discovering your self worth.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How Andrea got started on the run, and how the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks played a role in her running story (5:00)
  • What has kept Andrea running? (14:00)
  • Andrea talks about the challenges she faced after becoming a mom (18:30)
  • What did it take to go from a 4:35 marathon to a 2:41? (24:30)
  • On the addiction of constant progress, and a breakdown during the 2015 Boston Marathon (33:50)
  • On external pressure, and what happened during the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials (50:30)

Stuff we mention on this episode:

Running Unbroken

Race Against Time

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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