Coach’s Corner: The One Who Reclaimed Her Body

July 22, 2016 Posted By: Mizuno USA

By: Amy Begley, Coach- Atlanta Track Club

As a coach, I love working with people as they chase their goals. I am always impressed by each runner or walker’s determination, but it is especially inspiring to see those who overcome incredible odds to cross the finish line.

 TDay Triple Peach

Rachel Boyd started running in high school and kept with the sport through college and beyond. She enjoyed the meditative aspect of running as well as the opportunity to spend time with her best friend, who is also a runner.


Then in 2012, Rachel was diagnosed with stage 2 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The disease created a tumor in her chest, denting her heart and lungs and paralyzing a nerve on the left side of her body. Rachel went from running for exercise to walking laps during her in-patient chemo. She says it was a struggle to even walk.


After Rachel beat her cancer, she was angry. She felt like her own body was her enemy. To change that, she entered the lottery for the AJC Peachtree Road Race, was selected to run the event and joined Atlanta Track Club’s In-Training for Peachtree program. Rachel quickly learned that it’s okay to go at your own pace, even if it is slower than it once was. She’s been signing up for races ever since.


Now Rachel is a run leader in our training programs. She is always upbeat and positive, and makes a point of reaching out to walkers so they feel good about their accomplishments. Rachel tells training program participants, “Our medal is the same as the first finishers’.”

 10 Miler

Through running and walking, Rachel was able to make her body work for her instead of against her. She is now preparing for a couple of fall races as part of her goal to complete four half marathons in one year. Rachel’s story is a good reminder that you can do anything if you are willing to work hard – and it helps if you have a positive attitude!




Begley_AmyAmy Begley is the head coach of Atlanta Track Club, the second largest running organization in the United States. She competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in the 10,000M and placed sixth in the 2009 IAAF World Championships in the same distance with a personal best 31:13, making her the eighth-fastest American woman in history. Her 5,000M personal best is 14:56. Begley finished her professional career with six national titles.


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