We first heard about Marla on Facebook. The 73 year old is a regular on the US obstacle racing circuit and her latest post, below, really struck a cord. Always encouraging others and just getting out there enjoying life and giving it a go. Marla recapped her most recent race: a grueling 21km+ and 40+ obstacles in rugged terrain with a new team mate:
"I really don't know where to start to describe my precious and awesome running partner at the Lebec Spartan Beast, 15 year old Kayla who has Autism. This is long but please read to the end to realize what this jewel accomplished.
Lebec was brutal, intense, steep downhills where you slid down on your bottom, dusty, and has to be in the top five in course difficulty.
We were a team of a teenager and a seasoned citizen, 15 and 73 respectively. Her asthma kicked in on the dusty areas but she struggled through.
We teamed of the sandbag carries, she made it over every wall, the cargo nets were conquered even though she was shaking at the top from the height, with help she did the Tyrolean rope and inverted wall.
Walked up the slip wall like I asked her to with only a little help getting over the top. Faithfully went to do burpees for the rig, monkey bars, twister and rope climb.
She was hot and exhausted the last few miles BUT never complained. She was introduced in the starting corral as well and again 3 or 4 waves after our start.
The number of racers that we met that had heard on social media and tv about us doing this Beast was staggering. The praise that she received from other Spartans was constant.
I probably told her 50+ times how incredibly proud I was of her because it warmed my heart to run with her. I made sure that other racers knew she was Autistic and she was proof that people with disabilities CAN do Spartan races. Tears formed in my eyes when she spontaneously told racers that she wanted others to know they can do it too (and they are tearing as I write this).
Along the course, we would talk about how important it was to finish and get our medals. Her STRENGTH in getting past these moments far exceeds those of an adult. I WAS/AM SO PROUD OF HER.
Kayla, I hope we can do your next Beast together as this was the most special one I have done.
PROUD. PROUD. PROUD"
- Marla's post on social media, republished with permission
**The Spartan Race Beast that Marla and Kayla completed is the hardest of the three races: 21km+ and 40+ obstacles in rugged terrain. Competitors run, crawl, jump, carry and swim through the course overcoming a variety of obstacles both physical and mental.
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