by Carrie Adams
On July 14th, 10 of the fastest female Spartans lined up to take on the mountains of PA in an event being billed as the “Mini-Beast” to see who would emerge in the top spot. It was the first time that so many talented female Spartans would be at the same event and there was quite the build-up leading up to the start. We introduced you to the women in a blog a week ago. Click HERE to read it. From a tried and true Spartan professional – Jenny Tobin, who won last year’s World Championships and Claude Godbout who won last year’s inaugural Spartan Beast to virtual unknowns to Spartan start lines like CrossFitter Janice Marie Ferguson it was set to be an epic race for our female athletes.
A campaign was launched and several faces graced a poster announcing the line-up headed into PA and the excitement was growing. The women arrived in good spirits, in good company, and with high expectations of themselves and each other.
One of those at the start line was familiar face Ella Kociuba, a Death Racer and female athlete known for her speed and strength. She was coming into PA with high hopes of finishing on the podium. Just one month ago, she’d suffered a hairline fracture in her leg and was still recovering but chose to come to PA regardless to try her hand and compete with some of the best.
Her race did not go as planned as she hit a log shortly into the race breaking her shin opened on her already injured leg. Despite the pain, and with blood gushing from her wound she battled on, surrounded by some of the same women who came to compete against her.
Of her injury, Ella says, “It wasn’t very far into the race, and part of the trail went straight down a path with huge logs laying across the trail. The momentum I had was incredible and I began to just fly down the trail. Then, I got nervous because I felt so out of control and sure enough I jumped over a log and hit it with my foot and fell first on my right quad and rolled.”
The damage wasn’t done, Ella had another log in her path. ”I got up” she said, “and I hit a bigger log straight on with my right shin and cracked it open and fell.” She had just reinjured her damaged leg. ”It hurt like hell.” she explained, “And it was directly above my old hairline fracture I got four weeks ago from the Death Race.”
Down but not out, Ella chose to continue her race, despite the wound, the hardest part being the mental wound that she sustained. ”Mentally I felt so down and negative, I was in back of the pack after it happened and it kept splitting further open with every step.” She wouldn’t quit, however and she says, “Well, I pushed though and finished!” And finish she did, collapsing beyond the finish line receiving immediate medical attention and swarmed by her other female competitors giving her words of encouragement and support. Admits Kociuba, “It was a very uncomfortable run for me.” But she adds, “Everyone was so sweet and so amazing. I loved it.”
The event proved to be a feat of incredible athleticism with Claude Godbout, Canadian Olympic Biathlete ended up taking the top spot and then it was Jenny Tobin, former Xterra professional, and rounding out the top three was Andi Hardy Jory, another Spartan top finisher. But athleticism isn’t the only thing the women of PA showed that day. It was a true day of camaraderie and support for one of their own who wouldn’t see the podium on this day. Kociuba is home and recovering, but she proved that some races aren’t about getting to the podium they’re just about getting to the finish line. That’s a true Spartan.
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