KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We are counting down to the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. Hundreds of runners will hit the streets of Knoxville hoping to make their best run time. Every runner has a story. One of whom is a local runner who is back on the course after beating breast cancer. 

For Dr. Lindsay Luttrell every step is special. “I noticed breast nipple discharge at age 34 and that was the only sign that I had breast cancer.”

A small, reoccurring dot in her bra and proactive action — saved her life.

“So, I went in and I did have a small mass that they saw on the mammogram and ultrasound. And still at that point, we were thinking it’s probably benign, probably nothing to worry about. And then it was biopsied and it was cancer,” said Luttrell. “I was absolutely devastated. absolutely devastated.”

Luttrell says she relied on her faith and her passion for running to get her through.

“I kept active all through my journey. I was still running when able,” Luttrell said. “After my surgery, they would not allow me to run for six weeks, so I walked and that was just a great time to get fresh air and just a new perspective and kind of renewed energy and faith during that time.”

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This will be her second half-marathon since her cancer diagnosis.

“I had my surgery and then I had chemo after that,” she said. “So, I tried to get back to running during chemo and I noticed I was a lot slower. I had no stamina. I was slow. Everything felt so hard. Every step fell hard.”

While the run times do matter, her outlook changed.

Dr. Lindsay Luttrell (Courtesy photo)

“And so before cancer, I think I was running for the time I was really trying to get a certain time and beat my time get a personal record. And now I’m just thankful to be out there,” Luttrell said.

That bright smile of hope she carried during her treatment is now a smile of triumph.

“Honestly, it’s just about being thankful for each day. And every single day that I get out there and run it’s a new opportunity,” she said. “It’s a new perspective, just to be grateful. To be alive really.”

And back to doing what brings her joy – running.