It’s hard to believe that Amy Carver was once a workaholic who never exercised.
In the 2016 XTERRA Whitewater – Carver’s first XTERRA – she was the first overall female and swam faster than most of the men.
In 2017, she was undefeated in every race she entered, which included XTERRA Myrtle Beach, XTERRA Knoxville, XTERRA Tsali, XTERRA Whitewater, XTERRA Panther Creek, and XTERRA Auburn.
And she wasn’t just undefeated in her age group. In every single XTERRA she has entered, she was the first female overall.
“The short story is that I let work dominate my life for ten years, I was traveling eighty percent of the time, I got fat, and had no good exercise routine.”
In order to have a goal for getting back into shape, Carver registered for a sprint triathlon on the road in 2014.
“I cleaned up my diet and took control of my life back,” said Carver, who also reduced her time traveling.
Her first race led to four more sprint triathlons and two Olympic distance triathlons between 2014 and 2015. She qualified for the USAT National Championships in Milwaukee in 2015 and finished in the top third in her age group in the Olympic distance race.
On New Year’s Eve that same year, Carver met Mr. XTERRA, Marcus Barton. The two talked triathlon as the year wound down, and Barton convinced Carver to try out the dirt.
“I was intrigued by XTERRA but also very intimidated by off-road racing because mountain biking was my biggest weakness,” she said. “I knew I had good endurance but I didn’t have any real technical skills.”
Carver will say things like that, and you have to take them with a grain of salt. For example, if you ask her how she did in a race, she will only tell you she won her age group. Then she will tell you she doesn’t really like to swim.
“I was a competitive swimmer until I was 13, but now I hate the water,“ said Carver, which is hard to imagine if you've seen her times. In Carver’s second-ever XTERRA at XTERRA Myrtle Beach, only nine men beat her out of the water. In XTERRA Tsali, Carver was the first female, finished twelfth overall, and had the sixth fastest swim of the day.
“I still dislike the water,” said Carver, “But I’ve gotten better on the bike and I love to trail run.”
Even more impressive is that she has achieved this success while working in a very intense job as the Director of Commercial Strategy with QOL Medical, which looks to acquire pharmaceutical products to treat rare diseases affecting small populations.
Carver credits Marcus Barton, Caleb Baity, and Margo Pitts for being such tremendous mentors and helping her gain skills on the mountain bike. She also credits competitors like Angie Childre, Amanda Frost, and Elizabeth Skiba for pushing her to become better, and her boyfriend Paul - an accomplished ultra runner - for helping her run faster.
"Amy's a fibber," said Pitts. "She's fast and she's furious and I didn't teach her anything. She loves to turn the attention onto anyone but herself."
"Ever meet one of those people that seemed to pick up something quick and get good at it really fast?" asked Marcus Baron. "That's Amy. I've had the opportunity to do some group rides and some run training with her. We've also done a few group, open-water swims. She definitely seems to tackle things with a great level of determination. Most of all, she's fun-loving and always looking for an adventure, which as you know, goes a long way in this sport."
In XTERRA Myrtle Beach, Carver beat three-time XTERRA Regional Champ Margo Pitts by about three minutes. Rather than focus on how to beat her competition the next time out, Pitts took Carver under her wing and the two became fast friends. Carver recently spent some time with Pitts in Colorado, where she trains in the summer.
"We had so much fun," said Carver. "We did a 10k on the roads, hiked fourteen miles the next day, and then Margo took me to Beaver Creek to show me the mountain bike course. That tells you what kind of culture XTERRA is. She’s my competitor but for her it’s as much about friendship as it is about competing.”
"I wish we lived closer," said Pitts. "Amy has this spark for living life to the fullest. I love her adventurous spirit. Not only is she outgoing and friendly, but she's fierce and determined to be her best. She's already beating all the chicks on the East Coast. I'm looking forward to racing with her in Maui."
Carver's positive attitude and love of adventure may be a big contributor to her success as well.
"I train smart and don't take it too seriously," said Carver. "I just have fun, which is what it's all about. If I take anything away from all of this, it's the mentorship and camaraderie."
Next year, Carver will be back on the Southeast XTERRA circuit. Additionally, she wants to do a 50-mile trail run, and she and Marcus Barton have already registered for the Rockman Swimrun in Norway next summer, which is a team competition where you are tethered to your teammate. The race requires 32k of running along cliffs and 6k of swimming in icy fjords.
"I have enjoyed every minute of the training and races and most importantly all the people I have met along the way," said Carver. "XTERRA has become a family to me."