This was one of my favorite moments from Sunday’s race. It was truly emotional and amazing to witness.
Bloody, sweaty and bruised, I was waiting to watch another friend start the race when I heard the crowd roar from the finish line. You could tell there was something going on, but it was far too crowded to catch what it was all about. A few moments later, they announced that a 72 year old woman had completed the race. Our jaws dropped. What? THAT race? Knowing how hard the race was, it was difficult to imagine that a grandmother would be able to complete it.
But we hadn’t heard the whole story.
Not only did she complete the race, but she did so on a whim. With no training. With asthma. And with loads of encouragement from her Spartan race daughter, who was at her side the whole time.
This was truly inspirational to witness and tears flowed from my eyes as I read her story. Her daughter recounts the experience on the Spartan Race blog.
Less than a mile away from the finish line, there were a series of obstacles. The only one my mother missed was the spear throw. I did the burpees for her. I knew she was getting exhausted but with every step she took I pushed her, saying we were almost there. If we had gotten this far, we were not giving up now!!! I could see how tired and dehydrated she was. It was about 104F that day. She climbed up theat 8 foot wall like a cat! She went through the tunnels. She made her way to the electric barbed wire. She went up the cargo nets with great agility. She ran the inclined platforms. Then came the final obstacle before facing the gladiators: the inclined slippery wall with rope. I guided my mother telling her how to position her body. We were side by side. She barely had strength in her arms. She said she couldn’t take another step. I said to her: “Mom! This is the last one!!! Now give it all that you’ve got! And I know you have it! Now pull!!! PULL!!!! YOU CAN DO IT! Take baby steps and pull yourself up there!!!”
Another Spartan Chick was at the bottom and helped me by guiding my mother as I was extending my hand from the top of the ramp. The crowd was going wild seeing my mom. She was near the top and said she couldn’t get over. I remember yelling “ YOU GOT THIS MOM! Do it!” And she did! The crowd soared! It was a magical moment. I think my heart stopped when I saw her legs make it over. We made our way down cautiously. I looked at her, hugged her saying how proud I was to be at her side, and how incredible I believed her to be. As we turned around, a few yards ahead of us the gladiators were waiting. I had promised my mother I wouldn’t let any gladiator tackle her. She was going to stay at my side and I was going to shove them if someone dared to approach her. As we made our way towards them, I eyed them cautiously. All four of them bowed down in front of us. They looked at my mother and applauded her. Everyone around the finishing area was applauding and cheering. Arm in arm, mother and daughter crossed the finish line with tears in our eyes. We had made it! My mom Johanne had made it!
My father was waiting for us at the finish line. His face said it all. He hugged both of us and then held my mom in his arms. Clearly you could tell how emotional he was to see his muddy wife, that against all odds finished a Spartan Race, despite not having trained for it and suffering from asthma.
I can tell you my mom was a Spartan Super Star! She was being stopped left and right and everyone wanted their pictures taken with her. The MC even made an announcement about Johanne Di Cori, the 72 year-old Spartan Chick/grandmother that just finished the course. I was tearing up for the most part after the race. Words couldn’t and still can’t express how proud I am of my mother. She is the reason why I am strong and determined. I just can’t stress that enough.