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Determination, indeed

Hats off to this lady. I'm competitive, almost to a fault, but I don't think I could do what Claire Markwardt did.

ESPN High School has her story. Claire is a long-distance runner, and her high school cross country team was competing at the state finals. In the video, you'll see her fall -- this is where her left tibia broke. She gets up, and tries to continue running, causing her fibula to snap. Instead of giving up, however, she crawled to the finish line, determined to finish the race.

What Markwardt saw in the video might not be visible to the rest of us. She saw a teenage girl who, a year earlier, watched the state meet from the stands and made a personal commitment to run in that race in her senior year. She saw a girl who fulfilled that commitment, and then, with a badly broken leg 45 feet from the finish line, had a choice: Finish, or don't finish.

To her, it was a no-brainer.

At the 1- and 2-mile markers, Markwardt was on a personal-best pace. Then, as she entered the stadium at Columbus' Scioto Downs, with about 400 meters to go, she heard her left leg crack.

The leg had been sore on and off for the previous two weeks, prompting Berkshire coach Julie Cole to limit Markwardt in practice. When she heard the crack, Markwardt thought it was a muscle pull or tear. She thought she could gut it out to the finish line.

"There was a runner from one of our rival schools right in front of me," she said. "I kept staring at the back of her jersey and pushing myself to catch her."

But some 200 meters later, Markwardt heard the leg crack again. And again. Then there was a louder crack, and her entire leg gave out. She fell to the ground as onlookers winced at the sound and the sight of what happened.

One of Markwardt's teammates, unaware of what had happened, encouraged her to get up. She tried, using her right leg. But as soon as she shifted weight to the left, the loudest crack yet came. And her leg gave out again.

"At that point, I knew what had happened. I knew my leg was broken pretty badly. And I knew I couldn't get up again. So I started crawling," she said.

She said she thought not of her coach, nor her parents, nor anyone else who had encouraged her to never give up, to see things to the finish. Instead, she thought of the countless stories she had heard about runners who collapsed before a race's end and somehow found the courage to cross that last line. Even if her leg had given out at the 400-meter mark, she said, it wouldn't have mattered. She was going to finish.

"They may not have let me, and it might not have been pretty, but I would have tried," she said. "I had come so far. Our team had come so far. All season, we had been working for state, and now we were there. I was almost done, and there was no way I was going to let the team down."

She finished the race with a time of 20:24.07, only :18 slower than her personal best. She finished in 67th place, helping to put her school in a fourth-place finish in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III championship.
"When I saw her crawling, I wanted to cry," said Richard Markwardt, Claire's father. "I was just so incredibly proud -- as proud as any father could be."

She apparently didn't cry at all after the race, even as doctors fastened her leg into a splint. Her tibia was broken in multiple places, her fibula in one, and she was going to need surgery. But she's been able to hold it together.
For all she's gone through and all that lies ahead, Markwardt said she has broken down only twice: once on the hospital phone call to her sister, and once when she told coach Cole that she will miss the spring track season.

This Wednesday, when doctors asked her to rate her pre-surgery anxiety before the second procedure on her leg, she said, "Two."

All this time later, after the surgeries and the recovery she has looming before her, she still says she wouldn't have changed anything if she knew what the outcome would have been.

Runner or not, I don't know anyone who couldn't be inspired by Claire's story. She has a level of determination and resolve that many adults are lacking, let alone teenagers. As far as I'm concerned, this is much more than just a story about running or sports, but a story of inspiration, hope, and what a person can achieve if they put their mind to it. (Besides, the world does not revolve around politics!)

Claire, I wish you the best of luck for a speedy recovery, and I hope you're able to keep running in college. You've got the heart to make it far in whatever you choose, and we're all pulling for you.

Hat Tip: Second Wind


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Comments (11)

Cassy, that is not competet... (Below threshold)

Cassy, that is not competetiveness. That is stupidity. If a race is so important to her she would risk crippling herself for the rest of her life, she has mental issues also. ww

Hey Cassy,I was wo... (Below threshold)

Hey Cassy,

I was wondering when you were going to update and correct your story on Fort Huachuca. As was discussed in the comments, your reporting (as well as your references to un-credible sources like Powerline and the Washington Times) was extremeley suspect. Anyways, the FBI has no come out and stated "there is no evidence showing that the threat was credible."

I thought your readers would like to know,
notiz=[Threadjacking is a TOS violation. Since jp2 on occasion says something intelligent this will serve as a first and last warning to him/her as to how we feel about threadjacking...]

I admire her courage.... (Below threshold)

I admire her courage.

And, I hope to high heaven she gets a bone density scan and starts getting more calcium in her diet!

Accidentally commented earl... (Below threshold)

Accidentally commented early:

notiz=[See previous note...]

She should have just given ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

She should have just given up and gone home. It would have been best for her, her school and her country.

I was just channeling a Democrat there for a second...

"And, I hope to high heaven... (Below threshold)

"And, I hope to high heaven she gets a bone density scan and starts getting more calcium in her diet!"

That's true. Strikes me as a huge red flag for something like this to happen in this fashion to an apparently healthy adolescent. In any case, it's an inspiring story!

If she gets healthy after t... (Below threshold)

If she gets healthy after this, and it's not a chronic problem, somebody please tell this young woman to go see an army recruiter. We need her kind of guts. Also, skeletal fractures are common in long distance runners, especially among females under the age of 20. Usually they don't end up this bad, just small stress fractures. I'd guess that she'll be completely fine if she takes her recovery at a decent pace, and gets some calcium supplements.

jp2:I was wond... (Below threshold)


I was wondering when you were going to update and correct your story on Fort Huachuca.

While a correction may be warranted, just who the hell are you to demand one? It would seem by posting a link to the FBI story you just updated her post. (despite you being wildly off topic for no other reason then to say, "Hey look at ME. I was right!")

Can we assume you have written the WT, FoxNews, AFP, Breitart, Arab Times, Khaleej Times, Topix Net and Google News (who all reported the story) asking for a correction?

Or are you just a buzzing little gnat making a pest of yourself at Wizbang?

Furthermore, considering your such a stickler for retractions/updates you will fully comply with any and all requests for retractions/updates to any false/misleading/and flat-out BS you post in the future.


marc - I'm glad you agree a... (Below threshold)

marc - I'm glad you agree a correction is warranted. Unfortunately her post will probably be yet another hit-and-run with little regard for truth. It's the style here.

And of course, feel free to fact-check me anytime.
notiz=[See previous note. PS - Don't feed threadjacking trolls.]

Whoa. This is NOT a normal ... (Below threshold)

Whoa. This is NOT a normal sports injury. She needs her bone density checked NOW. She most likely has amenorrhea because her body fat is too low due to not enough calorie consumption to make up for the high levels of exercise she's undergoing--unfortunately common among long distance runner and flat dangerous for young girls. Low body fat amenorrhea messes with a lot more than menses for teenage girls--it destroys your BONES. She has only a few years left before she's locked into the bone density that she has now. She needs HELP FAST. And her freaking moron coach should be beaten and then shot. She could be doubled over from osteoporosis at 35 if this isn't addressed immediately.

Hey! Just to let yo... (Below threshold)
Billy Bob:

Just to let you all know, I know this girl very well. She had absolutely no clue that she had a stress fracture going into the race, but that is indeed what it was. There were no bigger issues at hand. I know she has been taking tons of Calcium Supplement, and trust me, she eats plenty. So, it turns out it IS a normal sports injury that was just undetected. The pain in her leg she really thought was muscular from twisting it a couple weeks prior.






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