Neely was born into this sport, literally. Her dad (Steve Spence, 1992 Olympic marathoner and 1991 World Champs Bronze Medalist) was running the Boston Marathon on the day she was born. She grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and in 8th grade set some big goals for herself. Home-schooled by her parents, she began taking part in road races in her early teens and showed a passion and aptitude for the sport.
While running for Shippensburg University, Neely broke Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) records, won 17 PSAC titles, and was named the conference athlete of the year for every season while at Shippensburg from 2008 to 2011. She is an eight-time NCAA DII Champion and still holds two NCAA records. Neely has represented Team USA in 5 international competitions, and has raced in 8 different countries where she most notably was the top American and 13th in the World in the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Poland.
After several bouts with illness and injury, which kept her from competing in the Olympic Trials in 2012 and 2016, Neely had a very strong last year. She opened 2016 with a win at the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and then made her debut at the Boston Marathon. She finished in 2:35 – securing her spot as the top American, and ninth overall. After recovering from Boston, Neely won the Rock ‘n; Roll Chicago Half Marathon, and then closed out the year with an 8th place finish, (2nd American behind Molly Huddle), at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon (2:34). She is excited for what the next year will bring and is ultimately building towards the 2020 Olympic year.
Today, Neely lives in Boulder, CO with her husband/coach Dillon and their Vizsla, Strider, where she is happily entrenched in the running community. Having spent many summers in Boulder while her dad was training, Boulder feels like home. Between training, and competing, she enjoys coaching her team of athletes through her Get Running coaching business.