What ever happened to … Mark Amway
For this edition of “What Ever Happened To?” we travel outside the Ephrata area just a little when we feature Mark Amway, who is the all-time record holder for most wins (seven) in the 37-year history of the Ephrata Firecracker Run.
Amway, who now coaches track at Conestoga Valley High School, does have ties to the Ephrata area.
“My dad used to be in charge of the playgrounds in Ephrata so I grew up around the area,” said Amway.
Amway graduated from Hempfield High School in 1978, where he ran cross country and swam for the school, as well as ran the one and two mile for the track team.
“I was fortunate enough to be the league champ during my senior year,” remembered Amway. “And I placed third in Districts and 12th in the State that year.”
After high school, Amway went to Lock Haven University where he continued his career.
Amway was selected to the All-Conference team from 1979 through 1982 and in 1981 was named to the All-American team where he ranked 12th in the nation in Division Two.
Graduation didn’t stop Amway from running.
“I ran lots of local races as well as national races,” said Amway. “I ran the Boston Marathon four times and my best finish was in 1985 when I finished 12th overall.”
Amway also competed in races in Pittsburgh, the Twin Cities, Charlotte, Madison and Virginia Beach.
In 1988 and again in 1992 Amway qualified at the Olympic trials but didn’t make it to the Olympics.
“It was a great experience just qualifying,” said Amway. “I didn’t think I would make it to the Olympics so that experience was great all by itself.”
Amway owes a lot of his success to his father, Andy, who was a track coach. “I was too small to play football, but when my Dad would coach I would go along and just run and I liked it so it was something I really enjoyed doing.”
Now he and his wife Debbi have five children, and Amway has helping his own kids follow in his footsteps.
Says Amway, “my son Ryan had his career cut short by injuries and now my son Tyler and daughter Ashley will be running this year for me at Conestoga Valley, where I’m in my second year as head track coach.”
Amway hasn’t competed in almost five years and devotes his time now between his family, coaching at CV and as the owner of the Inside Track, a runners store in the Lancaster Shopping Center.
“We have three other stores out of the area, and I am helping others to enjoy the sport of running,” said Amway.
Finally, Amway offered the advice he gives to his athletes when he coaches them, “Understand you need to put the time in year round. You can’t come to practice the first night not ready to compete. Success comes from hard work. I was just a blue collar worker and ended up part of a team and that’s what’s important.”