Esther’s view on running and life is simplistically beautiful, “Doing what I love while I can, and helping others to do the same.”
Clearly her results show off her passion for the sport of running. Among some of her most noteworthy achievements are:
- 24th place at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.
- 1st place and the USA Marathon Champion in 2014
- 20th place at the 2014 Boston Marathon in her best time of 2:33:15
- 3rd place at the USA Marathon Championships in 2013
- 27th place in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012
In high school Esther focused on learning and furthering her music abilities. Her determination paid off as she received both an academic and music scholarship from Case Western Reserve University. While attending college, Esther expanded her abilities to include distance running.
She was a six time NCAA All-American and two-time Academic All-American. In her senior year, Esther captured the title at the 2008 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000 meters. Following graduation she spent two years in Austria as a Fulbright Scholar.
After returning to the US in 2010, Esther joined ZAP Fitness, an Olympic Development training center in western North Carolina, where she was a full-time resident athlete for three years. However, in 2013, she decided to start coaching and found a position as Assistant Cross Country Coach at Rider University in New Jersey under the leadership of Bob Hamer.
After competing in the World Championships this summer, Esther moved back to North Carolina and married Cole Atkins, who is a full-time technical director at a local youth soccer club and still competes for ZAP Fitness. Esther is also glad to be assisting the cross country and distance programs at Appalachian State in her newest home town.
Esther says, “My major focus in life is to do everything out of love, not out of hate, not out of spite or contempt. I hope that shows in the way that I run. It really makes my day when anyone notices that I am smiling from start to finish.” Recently Esther got a tattoo on her left wrist. A gentle reminder for her are written the words “Aus Liebe” which translates to “out of love”. Esther aspires every day to do everything – out of love!
Presently, she is training for the upcoming 2016 Olympic Trials being held this February in Los Angeles. She is being coached by Terry Shea and supported by the New York Athletic Club and Skechers. Outside of running, she enjoys taking fitness classes, singing, writing and keeping in touch with her family and friends.
We are grateful to have Esther as a member of our Elite Team of Ambassadors. We look forward to her sharing her love of the sport, advice to others, and knowledge.