Athlete Spotlight Series 002

Supermarathoner - Becki Spellman

Greetings LEVER Runner! Thanks for making your way to the blog section of our website. This beautiful morning in Boulder, Colorado, USA, we will be featuring one of our biggest advocates in our Athlete Spotlight Series - supermom and marathoner Becki Spellman! Hailing from the great state of Ohio, Becki is a 4x (!) US Olympic Trials Qualifier in the Marathon, mother of twins, Oiselle sponsored, and a loyal LEVER user for over a year.

Becki has battled achilles tendon pain for nearly 20 years which she says is induced by a combination of “genetics, poor dorsiflexion, and probably overuse.” She had her first partial tear in her achilles during her freshman year of college at The University of Akron. However, she was able to battle through the injury and managed to stay healthy for years until July of 2019, when she was forced to undergo reconstructive surgery for a split tear in her achilles. When she underwent this surgery, she knew that she would have to accelerate her timeline in order to make it to the starting line of her 4th Olympic Trials Marathon, which approaching in February 2020, was a mere 7 months away. 6 weeks post-op, Becki was cleared by her doctors to begin walking and running with body weight support on an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill within a physical therapy clinic. Her progression back from the injury would be based upon pain, meaning the road to recovery would come with many ups and downs.

By September of 2019, the PT clinic and the AlterG were getting old. Becki was progressing in her recovery, but using the AlterG meant she had to report to the PT clinic daily, surround herself with people (Becki was ahead of COVID19-she wanted to avoid people before it was cool!), and the pressurized bubble of the AlterG gave her a weird bladder pressure (a common...and awkward...side effect of using air pressure to create body weight support). Thankfully, Becki caught wind of LEVER via a fellow runner’s social media post, and she immediately jumped at the opportunity to try out a new method of BWS to help her progress in her return to running. Instead of driving across town to use an AlterG, she turned to LEVER on her home treadmill with regularity, completing countless miles using BWS to allow her achilles to continue strengthening while inducing the aerobic stimulus and mechanics of normal running.

Flashforward to February of 2020, and Becki has successfully run a tune-up half marathon and is standing on the starting line of her 4th Olympic trials marathon. According to Becki, there’s no way she could have gotten to the start line of the Olympic trials without LEVER. We’re glad Becki chose us! Unfortunately, her achilles started getting tight in the race, and she made the incredibly difficult but smart decision to drop out before the tightness became something worse. However, Becki’s story doesn’t stop here!

In prioritizing her health, Becki was able to come out of the trials relatively healthy and able to continue training at a high level for what she hoped would be additional marathons in 2020. In July of this year, Becki underwent a second procedure for her achilles called a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection. PRP therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses the patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of the affected area. A much less drastic procedure, Becki was back up and running 3 weeks post-op. This time around, Becki is taking advantage of having few races in the future to return to running more slowly. Now 4 weeks post-op, she is completing all of her runs on the LEVER with 26-30 pounds of body-weight support.

Beyond rehabilitation, Becki plans to continue using LEVER to aid her future training. Aware that she’s aging and may not be capable of bulking her mileage to 100+ per week over normal ground during marathon training anymore, Becki says that LEVER will play a huge role in allowing her to continue training at a high level. She believes it will aid her in getting in the mileage that she needs while being more kind to her body. She plans to run on the LEVER for easy days following long runs, and during easy day doubles. Her idea is to use LEVER to ensure that her body, especially her achilles tendon, is truly recovering during recovery runs.

Becki defines Comeback Legend. Making it to the starting line of a full marathon 7 months post-op is amazing. Becki has gone to extreme lengths to train and race at a high level despite her chronic achilles issues. Becki, always the optimistic, says, “I’ve run 25 races (marathons), I can’t complain!” We LOVE that attitude and we are so excited to be a part of Becki’s team and toolkit as she builds towards whatever is next for her.

The LEVER Running Team