By Jodi Hersey
Special to the Weekly
Mainers may recognize a familiar face on the cover of Runner’s World magazine this month. Thirty-five year old Amanda Burrill was always an incredible athlete growing up in Winterport. Now the former Hampden Academy graduate and Navy veteran writes about food, fitness and travel for a living.
And when she’s not training for a marathon or triathlon she squeezes in a little time for modeling too. Burrill admits having such an array of interests makes sitting still nearly impossible but she wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I just like to keep my plate full. It makes the runs, workouts and writing so fulfilling. I could never go into an office and sit five days a week because I wouldn’t be happy,” Burrill said. “It’s better to be a bit all over the place than be immersed and the master of one thing, that doesn’t enthrall me.”
After Burrill graduated from Boston University, she served in the U.S. Navy for eight years. It was a regimented, strenuous and dangerous job, at times. But Burrill kept her spirits up by running.
“Even when we were in 15 foot seas, I would always go running on these rickety old treadmills,” she said. “I was on an all male ship and I remember saying the only way I’m going to get through this without going insane is taking this lesson from every person you work with; even if someone is giving you a hard time, everyone can teach you either how you want to be or don’t want to be.”
When her service to the country was over, Burrill decided she was only going to do what made her happy.
“Doing what I like to do, like sports, eating, drinking wine, cooking and traveling is taking me everywhere I want to go,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work but I happen to now get paid to do it.”
Burrill has remained active by attending cooking school in Los Angeles, journalism school in New York and wine school in Paris. She’s been sidelined a time or two during her journey due to injuries. She’s undergone a partial hip replacement and reconstruction of the foot. But that hasn’t stopped her from running in this month’s Chicago marathon or gearing up for her first ultra race, the Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour Race & Relay in Houston, Texas this December. Burrill says a lot of her drive and motivation can be linked back to her days at Hampden Academy.
“The teachers I had that were also coaches like Catherine and David King, Andy Frace, who just recently passed and David Rounds always embraced me and made me feel like they saw something in me,” Burrill said.
These days, Burrill calls New York home but keeps Maine close to her heart.
“Maine is such a great place to grow up. I’m proud I stuck to my guns and took the things I really liked and went for it, ” she said. “But I do miss walking in the woods and sometimes I miss the people who have an appreciation for a slower pace [of life] because I’m always on the verge of sprinting off somewhere.”