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Running Helped A Transgender Athlete Through Her Transition

When word of our Cover Runner Contest went out over social media, we were inundated with more than 5,000 entries and nominations. Thank you to everyone for sharing your love of running and inspiring us in countless ways. It was not easy selecting eight finalists, but we think you’ll agree they prove there is no shortage of incredible women in our sport. Read on to learn about one of our amazing finalists. Amelia is a transgender marathon runner and activist.

Amelia Gapin
Software Engineer
Jersey City, NJ

“I’ve started runs feeling on the verge of suicide and by the end had a huge smile on my face and saw nothing but the beauty in the world.”

How has running changed your life? When I was transitioning, running was a safe place to process both the ups and downs of it all. Running has always been there for me as an escape from my depression. It’s brought me peace and bliss when I most needed it.

What don’t people realize about transgender athletes? A lot of people think transgender women have an advantage in athletics—but science doesn’t support that conclusion. If transgender women had an advantage, you would see us dominating over our cisgender counterparts, but this simply isn’t happening. I am slower compared to other women now than I was compared to men before I transitioned.

Related: IOC Says Transgender Athletes Can Take Part In The Olympics

How did transitioning affect your running? I added over a half hour to my marathon time. I knew that ridding my body of testosterone was going to have a huge effect on my body’s ability to maintain muscle mass and strength. I knew I was going to be slower, but not this much slower. I have to work twice as hard to make small gains. 

Your ultimate run? My ideal run is 8 miles during a big summer rain storm. Not only does the rain pouring down on my body feel great, but it feels like it’s just me out there, alone with myself. It’s where I get my best therapy.

Find out more about our winner and finalists
Kiley Lyall— Winner
Charlotte Young Bowens— Finalist

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller is the managing editor for Women's Running and spearheads our nutrition coverage. She’s an avid runner but also loves cycling (both on and off-road), yoga and all kinds of crazy videos to do at home. Formerly the editor of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Nicki started her journalism career at The Washington Post. Her first races were duathlons (run, bike, run) in her twenties with her husband, and then triathlons, completing the White Lake Half Ironman in North Carolina. Since joining Women’s Running in 2013, she’s been more focused on half marathons and trail running. Some of her proudest moments have been running the Boston Marathon (first 26.2), and becoming an RRCA certified running coach and helping others take up the sport.