by Mary Donohue, Spartan Race Guest Blogger
About two years ago, my son Ryan missed most of fifth grade due to Post-Concussion Syndrome and we didn’t know if he would ever be able to go back to school or participate in any sports again. It was a very long road to recovery for him and even though his concussion symptoms finally went away and his grades went back up to where they should be, he was eventually told that he wouldn’t be able to participate in any contact sports. He’s always been athletic and this was a huge disappointment for him. We needed to find an athletic outlet for him. We signed him up for a kids boot camp at our local YMCA and he loved it, so when he found out he could do a kids Spartan race after his dad and I finished ours, he was thrilled!
As his mother, I was a little nervous when I saw that the kids race was going to run twice up that Amesbury hill. I had just finished my first sprint and that hill was so tough for me. He started in the back of the pack, but all of a sudden I saw him passing some of the kids. Little did I know until after the race, but he hurt his foot at the beginning of the hill. This didn’t stop him. He seemed to fly over the walls and even dove through the hole in one of them and landed in a somersault. He was catching up to the kid out in front and I knew the crab walk down some of the hill would be easy for him. The competition during the kids race was really tough…and I thought the adult race was intense. It was great to see all of the adults (even those that didn’t have any kids racing) cheering on the kids as they came running by.
On his second time coming down the hill, he lost a shoe at some point coming over or through one of the walls. This didn’t stop him either. He continued on. This was one of the first competitive events that Ryan has been able to do since the concussions. It was almost like he needed to prove to himself that he was “back to himself” and able to be athletic again. Although he ended up being the first kid to the finish line, it really didn’t matter where he finished. I could see that his competitive spirit was back!
In the end, we found out that he actually broke his foot at the beginning of the race, but he persevered and never gave up the fight. He truly showed he was Spartan tough that day. When I asked him if he wished that he didn’t do the race and thus not have a broken foot, he said, “no mom, like the shirt says “Spartans either return with their shields or on it”. I might have an injury, but I returned with my shield.” Now he can’t wait until he can run a full Spartan Sprint with me and his dad. I was so proud of my 12 year old boy that day. I think he found his new sport.
[Editor's Note: Spartan Race offers a Kids Race, for kids ages 4-13 who can participate in their very own Jr. Spartan race. They will enjoy the thrill of the run, a variety of scaled down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and children's challenges! Our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age.
The course is about a 1⁄2 mile filled with junior obstacles for Jr. Spartans and 1 mile for Varsity Spartans. Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher's Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation. Check out the event page to get your little Spartan registered for an upcoming race and check out the Kids Page for details!]