by Stephen Reid aka Steve-o Bones

Sunday, June 2nd started off like any other. I awoke to a beautiful morning. The sun was out and the birds were chirping. But the day was to be a special one. It was the day that I would help lead my good friend Ilene Boyar and her husband Brent through the Spartan Sprint course in Tuxedo, New York. Ilene is an adaptive athlete whom I met at a Mini GoRuck Challenge that I organized to raise money for my Mom. Mom was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, as were 660,000 other families. But that is a story for another time. This one is all about Ilene.

Ilene suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta which is commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. Ilene had been a participant in other Obstacle Course Races but was understandably nervous about the Tri-State Reebok Spartan Sprint. However, I reassured her by promising we would start as a team and finish as a team.

Levi Smith, the owner of Reloadfitness.com was kind enough to sponsor Ilene. The Reloadfitness Team, a Team Red White and Blue Athlete, an Operation Enduring Warrior Community Athlete, a Spartan Street Team Captain, and a Member of the Spartan Crew joined us on the mission. As promised, we stuck together and started and finished as a team. I brought the American Flag that I have brought to all my races this year.

I wore a ruck and a 40 pound weighted vest. I explained to everyone that the “coupons” were our crutches for the day. We would carry these so-called crutches for the event and put them away when it was over. Ilene does not have that option, her crutches are her constant companions. I also explained Ilene’s status to everyone. I told them that she would be treated just like the American Flag: “With honor and dignity. She is not to touch the ground either.”

Throughout the course, I asked many racers to pick up a rock or log, with the same explanation. I later came to find out that one rather large rock made it through the entire course and had been returned to the race emcee He-Man. He-Man took it upon himself to have the entire Spartan Race Staff sign the rock, and it will be returned to Ilene.

It took us just shy of eight hours to complete the course. In that time, Ilene did not complain once. She conquered the rocky uphills backwards on her butt. Inch by inch, she moved on. She did the entire length of barbed wire without assistance. Admittedly, there were obstacles that she could not do. Normally burpees would be an alternative to the obstacle. However, due to her condition she cannot do burpees either. In order to alleviate that issue, I asked other Spartans to donate burpees to her.

Everyone was ready, willing, and able to pitch in. The 8 foot wall resulted in 420 donated burpees. The cargo net set the bar with 501. The last one was a one handed burpee. One Spartan did 38 burpees for his Birthday and came back for 2 more due to his “OCD.” Another Spartan donated 60 on his own. Spartans do give generously.

When we reached the fire jump, despite reservations, the only option we had was to proceed forward. Jay, part of the Spartan Race Staff carried Ilene over the fire jump. There was no way that she was not going through that. Next was the Gladiators. We formed a wedge and enveloped Ilene in the center. We all crossed the finish line together.

It was a very emotional day that I am honored to have been a part of. I was inspired by Ilene’s courage. She embodies the Spartan Spirit and can serve as an example to us all of the perseverance and determination Spartans are capable of.

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2 Responses

  1. avatar

    I was in that same race with Ilene and was very inspired. We crossed paths at the cargo net and it was an honor to donate 10 burpees for her! She is very courageous and brave, a true inspiration to tackle the obstacles we are faced with in life. Many prayers and thoughts also to the team that was carrying the flag and helping her reach her goal of finishing the race! Can’t wait to see Ilene complete the Spartan Race next year! I pledge 20 burpees for you next year! AROO!

  2. avatar

    Great Article and Great Worrior. Ilene, I am super proud of you and I told you that you could do it.. You had an awesome support team and I am super proud that you faced your fears and chased them down with a vengence..
    AROO!!! AROO!!! AROO!!!

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