by Carrie Adams

At Spartan Race HQ we are lucky enough to receive inspiring stories from all over the world of athletes who have faced adversity only to come back stronger and more determined than ever.  I recently received this story about eighteen-year-old Ella Anne Kociuba and I knew her story would inspire.  After a horrific injury she has battled back and her story of triumph and success is one you won’t soon forget.  Here is her story in her own words. 

ella2My names Ella Anne Kociuba, I am eighteen years old and currently attending a community college in Austin, Texas. I have big plans for the future (I hope to one day be the image of Spartan Racing and become a professional athlete/writer).  I would like to explain my story to you so that those who are struggling can see the light in even the darkest of times.

Throughout my young life I have been faced with chronic pain that caused me to have a new outlook on everything.  It quickly challenged me with the worst, but slowly developed me into my best. For years doctors could not tell me what was wrong with me or why my body was failing me. I can not stress to you in a few words the pain I felt, the nights I did not rest, and the moments I missed out on due to an injury that nearly ended my athletic pursuits.

I’ve been a competitive horse-back rider since a little one, and when I was thirteenella1 years old I was seriously involved with endurance riding (25-50 Mile cross country horse races).  I trained hard but one day I suffered a horrible accident.  My horse spooked and threw me off its back and Ianded hard on the sharp rocks below knocking me unconscious.   I was broken and crippled.  Doctor’s informed me that I had broken the L4 and L5 vertebrae.  I was monumentally depressed at the bleak outlook.

It became an endless cycle of doctors, treatments, back braces, and medications.  Everything seemed hopeless. Nothing was helping and I knew I was progressively getting worse.  The pain was unbearable.  I couldn’t function.  But, finally, after six doctor’s a specialist informed me that it was possible I’d never walk again.  Performing an experimental surgery and nine hours later, six rods and four screws aligned in my spine I awoke a new person.

The journey from that wasn’t an easy one.  It took me a year to recover the precious strength I’d lost and be ready to think about competing in sports again; something I was told I’d never do.  This was a mere five years ago. 

Since that day, I’ve pushed hard always keeping my head forward, eyes up, and overcoming any challenge in front of me. Because I truly believe that you can do anything if you give it your everything.

ellaI recently did my first Super Spartan race in Glenn Rose, Texas.  I performed well and managed to come out as first female in my heat.  It was one of the happiest moments ever for me.  Not only had I completed the Super Spartan obstacle race, and won my heat, but I had fallen in love with the sport and proved myself worthy. I welcome all challenges and I will perform to the best of my ability to each and everyone of them.

The Spartan Race series has brought such happiness to my life, it’s such a demanding sport that I have become so passionate about spreading the joy it gives you at the finish line. I hope to one day have a sponsorship and compete state to state in obstacle racing and help inspire others to never give up. If I had given up, I wouldn’t be walking. If I had given up, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If I had given up, I wouldn’t of found what I truly love to do. And that is, Spartan Races! AROO!

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11 Responses

  1. avatar

    I am Isaiah Vidal I am 18 years old and I too have a story to tell im a personal trainer coming from Marble Falls, Tx . Life throws many obstacles in your way but its what we do in the after math of it all to change and to get over those challenges in your life specifically I tell people when life knocks you down you have to just get right back up and keep pushing you forward even if at times you stumble you fall you drop it get back up! Spartanracing really and truly teaches you all this concept to challenge your self to the point of no regret when you fail a obstacle get back up you stumble you fall what do you think I’m gonna say ” get back up” never back down and move forward till you reach the moment when your there standing and smiling not only to yourself but to the people around you and that’s when you have reached the moment of success in your life of happiness andnerlory for the one of the most high watches over all of us challenging ever move we make and he sees things are thrown at us but then that’s we tell ourselves what? ” Ill let you answer that one”Ella your a amazing woman even though I’ve only spoken with you a few times and even actually have meant you yet but girl you have got the concept of success down and your life story has be written.

  2. avatar

    This story is truly inspiring. As is obvious…. I think Ella shows the true spirit of what an athlete is supposed to have and that is heart. We all complain after a hard training session or competition. But she inspite of a horrific injury succeded and lives to compete. Which makes me and im sure others very thankful to be in good healthy shape….and to train hard with that blessing of health because you never know what may happen. So thank you.

  3. avatar

    Congratulations!! Thankyou so much for sharing your story. It is an amazing reminder to all how blessed we are. We’ve inspired me! I’ve signed up for my first Spartan Race for Oct 2012. When I can’t find the strength or energy to get up and train I’ll remind myself of you and the challenges you faced. Good luck in all your future races!!

  4. avatar

    YOU’RE AWESOME! I was born with club feet. I just got surgery YESTERDAY on a compound sports injury; I’ve been training for the Marine Corps and have been a competitive athlete for years, and the discomfort in my ankles has turned to pain. I got my left achilles tendon lengthened, and what’s called a midfoot release. I get the right one done in 2 months. I am literally typing this with my hospital bracelet still on, ha. Anyway, you’re an awesome girl and Spartan, I am SO proud of you. This story is really inspiring to me, I can’t wait to be cleared to train again! I feel like GSP lol! SPARTA!

  5. avatar

    Hey Ella, your story is very moving and inspiring to me. Life can be very hard a lot of the time, but its stories like these that really get the fire in me burning. I have know about Spartan Racing for about a year now and I have wanted so much to be apart of it and kick so ass!! I row for my college though so I’m always either training or racing when the Spartan Races are happening. August 11th in Mass this summer is the perfect change for me. I’m gonna train very hard and fight to finish at the top of my heat just like you.

    Keep that warrior spirit alive. There is nothing in the world more important than that!


  6. avatar

    Carrie..thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I too have a story to tell…and my logo fire life , like you, is to never give up. I’ve grown up on horseback, competing in barrel racing and daily rides miles down the beach. Always an outside girl, I would swallow every chance to use my God given body and strength to the fullest. Then, 4 yrs ago I had a stroke and my left side was paralyzed for almost six months, and for the next year I ch concentrated

  7. avatar

    Your story inspires me…to see life with HOPE

  8. avatar

    Baddest %@$^$@ #@% @% Girl alive…… How can you not love her

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