by Beth Connolly

What is the definition of a true Spartan athlete?  To answer that question, we look to you, our Spartan racers.  I was lucky enough to get a good idea of an answer to that question after I spoke with Georgia native Terry Nelson, who competed in our Atlanta Spartan Race on April 30, 2011.

Terry started his career in the US Army Infantry, where he proudly served for seven years.  But when he was 23, his heart valve became infected.  When his body tried to fight off the infection, a calcium deposit broke off and lodged itself in his leg.  He became extremely sick, and his illness did not respond to antibiotics.  So the doctors decided to operate and remove the blockage from his leg.  Just one week later, Terry had heart surgery, in which doctors replaced his aortic valve with an artificial one.  The whole ordeal kept him in and out of the hospital for nine months, and he left the army afterward with an honorable discharge.

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