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I first heard about the Teton Dam Marathon Relay when I was 15. My mom ran the half marathon and I watched the winning relay team cross the finish line. Two years later I found myself at school talking to my friends about the same race. My friend group is comprised of mostly track and cross country runners and we had heard about the new faster course so naturally, we wanted to try it out for ourselves.
Now being a runner, especially in highschool, means you take time to do research and look up records, that's exactly what we did. We found the course record and calculated the mile splits. We learned that the average mile pace for the record was an 8 minute 20 second mile. We said to ourselves we can totally beat that, after all ,the race is a month and a half after the end of track season so we’ll be in good shape. So we grabbed a few more friends to run with, came up with a team name and signed ourselves up to run the Teton Dam Marathon Relay.
The day before the race four of the six runners got together to pick up our packets and go for a four mile run. We took the run fairly easy and joked and laughed along the way. After we ran we drove out to the dam sight and drove the course. We talked about who would have the toughest hills, the most competition, and the long lonely miles.
The day of the race we met at 5:30 a.m., decorated the team minivan and excitedly drove to the start of the race. I was the first runner. It was my job to get in front of the pack and set the pace to get the record. The runners were called to the starting line, this was it! The months of planning which runner would run each leg, convincing friends to run, and training with the track team were about to pay off.
My plan was to sprint the first fifty meters to get ahead of the pack, like I usually tried to do in track. The race started and I took off. The only problem was so did a runner from Sugar Salem. We had the same idea to sprint ahead, but we didn’t see each other. We bumped into each other within the first 20 meters of the race and down I fell onto the hard rocky pavement.
As I fell, I heard the crowd gasp, but without thinking about how hurt I was, I stood back up. The boy that had tripped me helped me to my feet and apologized. Full of adrenaline, I quickly accepted his apology and started to run again. Every step hurt, but I shrugged it off. I knew in order to meet our teams goal I needed to run a seven minute mile for the next four miles. But I was angry. I wanted to beat the team that tripped me. So I ran faster then my goal. By the end of my leg I had run the four miles in about twenty-six minutes and forty-five seconds. A pace of six minutes and forty seconds per mile.
I high fived the next runner so she could start her leg of the race, grabbed some water, got congratulated by my teammates, and wanted to pass out. The adrenaline that I felt while running had gone, I was dehydrated, and bleeding quite a bit from the fall. The team drove to the next exchange zone where there was a first aid kit. I had several large scrapes up and down my right arm and leg, a decent amount of road rash, and large bruises on my knees. I got the best first aid that I could while in the middle of a race, and cheered on my team throughout the rest of the race.
We all crossed the finish line together and finished with a time of two hours, fifty-six minutes, and forty-eight seconds. We had won the race and broken the relay record by over forty-five minutes.
I may not be able to run due to my life long physical challenges. I do 5K's fundraiser events after listening to a great inspiration speaker Justin Osmond (Merrill lead singer of famous Osmond Brothers & his Mary Osmond son who was born with 90% genetic hearing lost). They said he would learn to talk like you & me, despite being born deaf. Hearing Justin get up there & give a very inspirational fireside talk and show his talent at even playing instruments that teachers & Drs never thought he would ever be capable of playing so well.
I myself was blessed with 2 lifelong inconvenient challenges that sorta balance each other out in their own little way. But that doesn't fully stop me.
My Spina Bifida weakened leg & feet muscles are always saying if you don't sit down pretty soon I am going to put you down. At the same time my ADD brain (diagnosed at age 4) is in overdrive, saying “Go! Go! Go! Move it or lose it!!!”
I may not be able to run but I can still put one foot in front of the other slow & steady. Growing up I really wasn't much into sports like my 7 siblings. But I do like challenging strangers of all ages asking them "Who is going to race me doing a 5K event?" and “Hey you want to race me walking a 5k fundraiser event? See you at start line”. I keep doing (actually walking) 5k events to keep making a difference in people's lives hopefully for the better.