Racing

Becker uses running to help battle with bulimia

Posted 3:06 p.m. Monday
Updated 8:45 a.m. Tuesday

Mandy Becker began running at the start of middle school. She was a track star at Fuquay-Varina High School, then ran at UNC-Asheville on a track scholarship.

Running is Becker's escape, like it often is for those who spend alone time with the pavement

"Running is my serenity," she said. "It's always been the thing that I get the most pleasure out of."

Running defines Becker on the outside but it's running that led to troubles inside, the kind no one sees.

"One of the cross country coaches said to me, 'Boy, you look good. You must've lost weight because you were kind of chunky last year,' Becker remembers.

"I was never chunky, I was just healthy."

That comment, to a then 14-year old girl, changed the path of Becker's future. An athlete with promise stopped focusing on training and started focusing on her body, beginning a life long battle with bulimia.

"People are constantly giving me feedback (saying) 'Oh, you look great,' when really they don't know what's going on inside," she said. "You may not know that I just went and threw up 20 times, but my body looks great because it's muscular."

Becker's talent in running masked her challenges with eating. She succeeded as a college athlete and continues running in adulthood. Becker completed the prestigious Boston Marathon back in April, with a blistering time of three hours and 11 minutes.

But she hasn't been able to outrun her eating disorder.

"I've tried different kinds of therapy and counseling," she said. "I've taken all kinds of drugs, but nothing has helped me yet really. There's just something inside."

The inability to beat bulimia why she's sharing her story.

"I am hoping any girls out there, guys out there, who are struggling with some of the things I am struggling with can see this," Becker said.

She hopes to inspire others to keep running and to keep fighting.

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