Mile News

Anna Shields Bounces Back

April 08, 2019

“Not being a D1 runner, sometimes the path seems a little harder. I think that I’ve come as far as anyone could have come in that short amount of time and I’m not putting any more limits on myself."

By Jeff Hollobaugh, Track & Field News

As a high school junior in 2008, Anna Shields had all the promise in the world. That year she won the Nike Indoor 5000. She broke Connecticut’s state record in the Mile with a 4:48.52 at the Penn Relays and rated #9 on the national yearly list. And yet somehow, it all crumbled. In hindsight, she thinks she was suffering from a serious protein deficiency.

“I didn’t understand what was happening,” she recalls. “I kept training hard and just every race kept getting worse and worse. I was trying to write it off like, ‘Oh, this is a bad day for this reason…’ But things started trending downwards to the point that I went from running 4:48 to only being able to run like a 5:13. The colleges that had been really interested, the D1 schools, they weren’t anymore.” She signed a letter of intent with North Carolina, only to be told later that she wasn’t a good fit. “I guess they saw me as a young girl that had talent at a young age and wasn’t looking like I could continue with that potential.”

She ended up at Central Connecticut: “I competed for a year, and I did worse and worse. Racing felt very painful, like I was going to faint. I remember the conversation I had with my college coach. I don’t blame him at all because he could tell how miserable I was. He said, ‘Is this really what you want to keep doing?’”

The one-time burgeoning star thought of all the races where people who had seen her as a high school ace now watched her struggle at the back of the pack: “It was humiliating. It took away a lot of the joy I had running.” She now says it was a relief when her coach asked the question. “No, I can’t keep doing this,” she responded.

She left school and went to work full-time as a bank teller. For 6 years she barely ran. “I would go for little jogs after work sometimes,” she says. “I wouldn’t even change out of my work clothes. I was wearing loafers and work pants and I’d jog for like 15 minutes.” Then the bank put on a “steps” challenge. Whoever took the most steps that month would win a free week of groceries. “Money was tight,” she explains of her decision to go for a 6 mile run. “I felt that runner’s high again and I felt good and it just made me think, ‘Maybe I can do this.’ It was so many years later that there was nothing to lose.”

Continue reading at:

Tags: anna shields (1)

Facebook Comments

Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!