In our Fall 2013 issue of New York Runner, we printed a profile of local standout runner Amber Sayer in the "This Running Town" insert section on the New York running scene. Unfortunately, we got a few facts wrong about Amber's very inspiring story about overcoming anorexia and returning to high-level competitive running. We hereby correct those errors, with our sincere apologies:
<> We said that Amber had won the Colon Cancer Challenge 15K "in April." However, she actually won the race in March of 2012. This year's race was won by Hannah Borenstein of New York City. (We were right about Amber winning this year's Portugal Day Run.)
<> Our story reported that Amber's eating disorder began after she'd watched ultra-thin runners in the 1996 Olympic Games (when she was 10 years old); we later said that she began to count calories obsessively at age 13. In fact, she didn't watch the Olympics until after 1996, but her anorexia nevertheless began when she was only 10. Amber emphasizes the importance of this; she wants to raise awareness about how early in life the disease can start in girls.
<> When Amber ran in the 2003 Junior Pan Am Games 5000 meters, she didn't have any trouble "staying in the middle of the pack," as we reported. In fact, she was in the front pack throughout the race and ended up taking the bronze medal! She did feel atypically weak during the meet, and that was a catalyst for her determination to overcome her anorexia.
<> Finally, our story included the sentence "During her cross country and track career at UMass Amherst, Sayer endured nine stress fractures." Amber clarifies: "Over my running career, I've had about eight stress fractures, but several were after college and one was in high school." She wants to be sure that the UMass coaches aren't shown as heading a program that allowed a runner to suffer through nine stress fractures.
We'd like to add to our account of Amber's career that she has written a book, PR: A Personal Record of Running from Anorexia. It's also available from Amazon. The book is a sports chronicle, a coming-of-age story, and a cautionary report of Sayer's simultaneous decent into anorexia and rise in the high school track and cross-country rankings. Her honest account of a distressingly common problem among high school and collegiate athletes takes readers through the disease’s progression and its unsettling parallels with her burgeoning running career.
We chose to profile Amber Sayer in our magazine not only because of her running acccomplishments, but also because of her bravery in telling her own story. We didn't tell it quite well enough ourselves, and we hope that this clarification makes up for that. Amber's book does an even better job.