Coach’s Corner: The One Who Always Puts in the Work

Published: August 2017

By: Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Elite Coach


A positive attitude and a willingness to work hard goes a long way. It might even take you places you never thought you would go.


I first met Shana Smith when she became my co-worker at Atlanta Track Club. As a graduate student, Shana came on board as manager of operations and special projects. She had never participated in a distance running event in her life, but from the very beginning, she was ready to jump into any project we threw at her.


Eventually our organization’s mission rubbed off on Shana. We encouraged her to join our Spring 5K In-Training program to run a women’s only 5K in the spring. Shana had been thinking about working towards a healthier version of herself and decided to embrace the opportunity. She came to the workouts, focused on her nutrition, and completed the program. Despite battling a sickness right before the race, she crossed the finish line with a smile on her face.


Shana could have stopped there – but she didn’t! Atlanta Track Club organizes the AJC Peachtree Road Race, also known as the world’s largest 10K. While staff members work on race day, each year we do our own course run. Shana wanted to participate and complete a new distance.


It was hot and humid the day of our course run, which is typical for Atlanta in June. But Shana eagerly set out with some of our co-workers and completed the entire 6.2-mile course! She admitted parts of the run were challenging, but was proud of her accomplishment. Now she’s even considering training for a 10 miler or half marathon!


To say our staff is proud of Shana would be an understatement. With a little encouragement, she has gone from helping others cross finish lines to crossing those finish lines herself. Her story is a good reminder that embracing hard work can really pay off – whether on the job or in your running journey.