Kenai Central High School alumna and Brooks Running professional athlete Allie Ostrander is preparing for the track and field Olympic trials, after a “really difficult” period in an eating disorder treatment facility.
Ray Flynn, Ostrander’s agent, told the Clarion that Ostrander, a three-time NCAA Division I 3,000-meter steeplechase champion, will still be competing in both the 10,000-meter run and steeplechase events at the Olympic trials at the University of Oregon starting Friday.
He said that although she might not be in her best shape right now, Ostrander has been training regularly and seems to be improving.
“I think she’s doing much better,” Flynn said.
Ostrander on Instagram said working to overcome the disorder has been “the hardest thing” she’s done in her life.
“It is challenging, uncomfortable, uncertain …” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m really scared, but I always tell myself that being scared isn’t a good reason to not step to the line for a race, and I think that rings true here as well.”
In Ostrander’s YouTube video she said some of her coaches, USA Track & Field doctors, and Brooks Running partners strongly encouraged her to seek treatment.
“I was pretty much told ‘Do this, or you get dropped,’” she said. “But I do want to say that I’m super thankful to Brooks and USATF for being so supportive through this process and even helping to cover some of the financial strain.”
Ostrander said in her YouTube video that she was apprehensive about sharing because she has felt a lot of shame.
“There’s this super basic human function, like literally everyone has to do it just to stay alive, and that’s eating,” she said. “And I can’t even do that properly.”
Additionally, she said she felt guilty about the example she has set, saying that many parts of her diet and exercise regimen “were not healthy” and “not right.”
“I’m also ashamed because I feel like I’ve just been a terrible example for anyone in the running community that even follows me,” Ostrander said. “I hate, hate, that I have contributed to the toxic culture of an obsession with thinness and leanness … and appearance over ability.”
Looking forward, she said in her video that she wants to be better for those who look up to her.
“I’m not an example at this point and I’m trying so hard to become one but I’m not right now,” Ostrander said. “Just know that and know that I’m truly sorry.”
She said she wants to start being more transparent about mental health and eating disorders, particularly the prevalence of them in the running community.
“I want to be a good example and I don’t want the next generation to feel the way that I feel,” Ostrander said.
The U.S. track and field Olympic trials will take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 18 to June 27. Athletes will have two rest days, June 22 and June 23.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at email@example.com.