Former West Virginia University student-athlete Karly Hamric is emerging as an elite-level runner but she has to cope with something many pro jocks aren’t too familiar with – a day job.
While training for world-class events, the former WVU track All-American also reports each day to Thrasher Engineering in Clarksburg, where she’s a civil engineer. After a 45-minute commute from Morgantown, she starts work at 7 or 7:30 each morning so she can run and lift in the evenings. The company has been supportive of her racing career, allowing her to make up missed time on weekends.
“It’s a balancing act,” she said. “I’m still trying to get the hang of it.”
Hamric, who started at Thrasher in late 2010, is nothing if not a quick study. After starting her career as a high school sprinter, she quickly adapted to middle distances and is now one of the nation’s best in the 1500-meter run, sometimes known as the metric mile.
Representing Team USA, Hamric recently placed third at the 2011 Five Nations Match in Glasgow, Scotland behind Mercy Njoroge of Kenya, and Denise Krebs of Germany. After running a tuneup race in Boston, Hamric will compete in the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 26-27 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Her success on and off the track has been a steady evolution from her days at WVU. As a senior, she finished sixth – good for All-America status—in the 1,500 meter run at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon after winning the Big East championship and placing ninth in the same event at the NCAA Regionals. She also led WVU with a second-place finish in the 1,500 meter-run at the ECAC Outdoor Championships and was a member of the distance medley relay team that finished 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Hamric admits that her dreams of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics are becoming more realistic with each race. Olympic Trials start in June.
“Definitely,” she said. “Making the Olympic team is the ultimate goal for any elite runner. It gets a little more realistic for me every year. I’m not far off and I keep trying to get as goal close to that goal as I can.”
One of the keys to Hamric’s improvement has been practicing and competing with a diverse group, including her teammates with Riadha, a local running club sponsored by Japanese sporting equipment company Mizuno. Some of her teammates are former WVU track and cross country runners. In international meets, Hamric is learning the nuances of each race – how to pace, how and when to position and when to make the final kick.
“These championships are usually pretty tactical races,” Hamric said. “We’re all waiting to see who’s going to be the one to put on the kick. You never know when to take it out hard or sit on it for awhile. You’ve got to be ready for anything and all in the matter of 4� minutes. The mental part of the sport is huge.”
Her training as a civil engineer was more home-grown. Originally undecided about a major, Hamric tried civil engineering on a tip from her dad. As a senior, she got a better feel for the profession as part of a group project for Thrasher. The group submitted a design for a business development in Bridgeport.
“That was kind of like getting a foot in the door with Thrasher,” she said.
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