ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Former Hidden Valley star runner Emma Rogers has been running all her life. She’s the VHSL 2019 girls-3200 meter Class 3 outdoor state track and field champion. Rogers is currently on the women’s cross-country team at the College of William and Mary. She says her passion to be the best — almost derailed her dreams. Emma Rogers has crossed many finish lines in her career. But nothing prepared her for the race that would alter her life.

“I remember we went to New York and I had a cookie and I remember feeling guilt about it and that was kind of the first sign that something was not right,” said Rogers. In May 2015, Rogers was diagnosed with Anorexia. The runner who spent so much of her time trying to get faster for the love of the sport – was slowing herself down. “Honestly, I wasn’t able to even really run. I didn’t have that drive to run. Just no motivation. It was almost a chore at that point,” said Rogers. Her eating disorder didn’t just erode her ability to run – her relationships suffered as well. “It was totally me who was pushing them away and isolating myself because I thought that was the only way to get good at running,” said Rogers.

This year keeping her disorder in check on campus has been tough – so difficult that her school had to step in and help. “January of this year the college got a note from my therapist saying that she really wanted me to go to residential treatment. So, it was really in college where they pushed it. At the time I wasn’t happy about it but looking back very grateful for it,” said Rogers. The College of William and Mary didn’t want rogers to return until she sought treatment – that’s when her parents enrolled her at McCallum Place in St. Louis, Missouri – a residential treatment facility for athletes with eating disorders. “I had to take about two months off to get to a healthier mental and physical place and then they slowly integrated running back in,” said Rogers.

Rogers said even with the lessons she learned in Missouri – her disorder is still hard to navigate. “If I do get into a routine like doing the right thing, following my meal plan, checking in with people, and doing my meeting with my therapist and dietitian and what not. As long as I’m sticking to that and that starts to feel like the right thing to do waking up just gets a little bit easier. The biggest thing is knowing that you’re not alone. You are not a burden because of this you are not a problem. Just getting help and realizing that this isn’t who you are,” said Rogers.