Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Chris and Sarah Smith

Chris and Sarah Smith, A Love Story

     “I’d like to run a marathon sometime” Sarah, my wife said to her boss when I was in a meeting with them. And so began our love story, coaching her to run “a marathon” which eventuated in us running the Javelina Jundred together for our honeymoon. Since then we’ve been running marathons and ultras wherever we travel. Sarah has been my crew partner, my inspiration and life, encouraging my best at my Razorback 72hr ultra victory, and my run across India. 

     After returning from India (a ultra run/humanitarian mission to highlight human slavery in India), I was 25 pounds lighter and both physically and mentally exhausted. My goal was to train back up again so I could target the 6 day Across the Years Ultra, (hopefully this time not arriving 1 1/2 days late due to flight cancellations and having to chase the field). But after running only 4 Marathon and a bunch of half’s, that year I began to experience numbness and sciatic pain in my legs. By November I was not only unable to run but could no longer walk and could hardly stand more than a few minutes. A bad fall the year before our honeymoon at the Javelina Jundred Ultra had crushed my L5 bone into my spinal cords and was finally making its presence known and my pain tolerance couldn’t cover it up. 

   In December I underwent major back surgery; spinal fusion and decompression, removing bone parts to relieve my spinal cord which popped back into its original form. The following day refusing painkillers so my recovery would quicken, I was up and walking motivating myself to run once more. Two months post surgery after fast walking a half marathon, I began to run again. I gave my first finishers medal to my gifted neurosurgeon who had performed the miracle on my back. Now 12 months later with my back fully fused, I’ve completed 5 marathons, 4 ultra races (2 buckles) post surgery and am on my road to complete recovery. Next year depending on Sarah, I’ll begin my goals of challenging multi day events again, or run across another country, who knows... 

     About 6 month ago Sarah and I were run/walking on the edge of the Appalachians, she had covered around 36 miles in hilly technical trail that Sunday. The following day we were at the Bing Cancer Center for a “routine breast exam”. From there our lives took a major turn. After weeks of biopsies, blood draws and scans Sarah was diagnosed with Metastatic breast cancer, stage 4. With news like that most would bury themselves in depression and darkness but not my Sarah. “If me completing the Columbus Marathon while undergoing cancer treatment inspires just one person to keep doing the things that bring them joy while faced with evil, then it’s worth it. And If my experience can help just one person know what to expect when they first get that scary diagnosis, then it’s worth it.” She won the Columbus Spirit Award This year and was featured on the front page of The Columbus Dispatch the day before the race. 

   Sarah has continued to stay strong throughout chemo medications and heartbreaking treatments. Two weeks prior to the Columbus Marathon, we ran the NorthCoast 24 Ultra where she ran 100km while stopping to take her meds half way. A week after Columbus she ran 55 miles at the RunAmuk Ultra, although the side effects took their toll that weekend which for me, is very hard to endure. 

   Sarah’s in her 6th month of chemo now but her “bound and determined” approach is still as strong as ever. Her faith in God and her love of running inspires me and everyone around her. The joy we share in running and walking both trails and paths is a blessing, and although we have been certainly tested along the way we couldn’t be happier with our life together and wouldn’t change a thing. 

    Fast walking with Yolanda a few years back at the Jackpot100 Ultra we became great ultra world friends and have followed each other’s adventures along the way. She is both a great athlete and a great roll player within our sport and her personal support for my challenges and adventures in life are greatly appreciated. 

-Chris and Sarah

No comments:

Post a Comment