‘The hardest thing I’ve done’: Alaska running standout Allie Ostrander opens up about entering treatment for eating disorder

Boise State's Allie Ostrander celebrates as she wins the women's 3000-meter steeplechase...
Boise State's Allie Ostrander celebrates as she wins the women's 3000-meter steeplechase during the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Austin, Texas, Saturday, June 8, 2019. Ostrander has won three consecutive years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (KTUU)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska running icon Allie Ostrander announced on Instagram Friday she had spent the past five weeks in a partial hospitalization program for eating disorder recovery.

She accompanied the Instagram post with a 16-minute YouTube video describing what she had gone through, and why she felt it was important to share her journey with others over social media.

“I feel a lot of shame about being here,” Ostrander said in the video. “...I feel shame just because I couldn’t do this on my own and that’s upsetting to me because there are so many areas of my life where I feel really capable and then there’s this super basic human function, like literally everyone has to do it just to stay alive, and that’s eating, and I can’t even do that properly.”

The professional runner for the Brooks Beast Track Club was candid during the video, explaining how U.S. Track and Field, doctors and individuals from Brooks corporate told her she needed to enter recovery.

“I was pretty much told ‘do this or you get dropped,’” Ostrander said in the video. “So, I didn’t decide really to do this, I mean I did, but it wasn’t much of a choice. But I do want to say that I’m super thankful to Brooks and USATF for being so supportive through this process and even helping to cover some of the financial strains.”

Ostrander went on to explain how important it was for her to be authentic in recovery, to show the ups and downs with hopes of helping others by sharing her story.

“I just want to say that no matter where you’re at, or how uncertain you feel about recovery and whether it’s worth it, or whether you can do it, I’m with you, I’m not sure about it either but I think it’s important,” Ostrander said.

The announcement comes a week before the U.S. Track and Field Olympic trials. In the video, Ostrander said the Olympic trials were often a reason she avoided recovery in the past.

A three-time national champion at Boise State University in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Ostrander was among the nation’s best in the event.

Ostrander was outspoken about body image roles in track and field in college, calling out an ESPN broadcaster in an Instagram post in 2019 after she felt he focused more on her appearance than her championship performance on the track.

Ostrander is originally from Kenai and set numerous state records in track and field, cross-country running during her high school career at Kenai Central High School, and holds the Mount Marathon girls record from 2014.

Alaska’s News Source reached out to Allie Ostrander and Brooks Running Shoes but has not received a comment for this story.

Resources: If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, help is available. Resources can be found by calling the National Eating Disorders Association Hotline at 800-931-2237 or visiting the Alaska Eating Disorders Alliance’s website for a list of local resources.

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