by Jonathan Cooper

My wife is my inspiration and I’ll tell you why.

In December 2011 doctors told me I had a mass growing inside of me. Tests revealed I needed surgery to remove what doctors suspected was cancer.

So, day after the Super Bowl we went to the hospital and I had parts of my stomach and intestines removed along with my gallbladder. This led to nearly two months of hospitalization, ICU stays, ER visits, and about three months of IV nutrition while my rewired insides healed.

During this time my wife – a three-time Spartan Sprint participant – was my motivator, caretaker, inspiration … my rock. She kept me strong mentally so I could again be strong physically.

Today, I’m healthy.

I am not in the shape I desire to be in but at age 39 I know I have a new lease on my life and my journey is beginning again.

Most days I’m at the gym working out. Other days I’m in our backyard flipping tires, working on pullups, burpees, and beating on the heavy bag. My wife competed in last year’s Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint and I was there with her just days after leaving the hospital. I watched her finish in tremendous time and knew that day I was signing up for this year’s race so I could show her I have learned from her.

Today I’m running for her.

Today I’m running for myself.

Today I’m running for our 8-year-old son James.

Today I’m running for our 2-month-old girl Olivia.

Today I’m running because I’m healthy.

Today I’m running because I’m determined to be strong. Strong for myself. Strong for my family.

Today I’m running because I’m Spartan Strong.

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