Olympic athlete trains in Paducah, inspires young female athletes

PADUCAH, KY — She grew up in a family of runners yet Colleen Quigley wanted to do everything but run.

“Anything but a runner,” says Quigley. “Eventually I succumbed to it and as soon as I did, I just kind of fell in love with it in high school.”

Quigley’s passion for the sport took her all the way to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games where she finished 8th in the Steeplechase.

“It’s the Olympic Games and a lot of people dream to be able to call themselves an Olympian so that was definitely a big moment for me,” says Quigley.

Quigley is now 26-years-old and a world-class runner. She’s sponsored by Nike and is training alongside other professional female runners, working toward another chance to represent team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I want to do it better,” says Quigley. “I think I could do it and I could do it better than the last time I did.”

Quigley’s home is in Portland but she’s in Paducah visiting family for the holidays. She’s on vacation but that doesn’t mean she gets a break from training.

“I run every day,” says Quigley. “I run about 80 to 85 miles per week.”

Maggie Aydt, 15, started running three years ago. On Wednesday, she got a chance to pound the pavement with one of her idols.

“Colleen is definitely an inspiration to me and it’s awesome just to even be with her, talk with her and ask her questions,” says Aydt. “Nowadays there aren’t that many people like this that are so dedicated and it’s nice to look up to somebody that is.”

“It’s really special for me now to have high school kids ask to take their picture with me and, you know, want my autograph,” says Quigley. “It’s weird but it’s really cool.”

Quigley’s advice to young girls: find something that makes you happy then turn it into a career.

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