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The Inspiring story of Sarah Reinertsen

When Sarah Reinertsen was a kid, she was told she’d never be able to run.In 2004  Reinertsen, at the time was 29, became the first female with a prosthetic leg to enter the Hawaii Ironman-which involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run.

Sarah was the guest speaker of the  Runners World half marathon in Allentown, Pa.  My husband was coaching a group of runners called “Strides for Hope” from the area for the half marathon.  My daughters and I went to the race to cheer for the runners.  My daughters where 7 and 3 years old and were amazed by Sarah story she told at the pre-race dinner.  They could not believe someone was going to run with a “fake leg”.  We sat on the curb about half mile from the finish looking for her.  The girls sat intently looking for her  for about 30 minutes.  She was a little slower than expected for the race but as soon as my daughters saw her they started screaming her name.  My daughters and I were at the same hotel Sarah spoke at three years later, and they both remembered her story and the race.  I think having then watch her run made then realize how lucky they are.  They both run themselves now and have made comments about how hard it really is to run with a prosthetic leg.

Sarah Story- Sarah had her  left leg was amputated above the knee when she was 7  because of a tissue deficiency. She started running when she was 11, and in 1997 she completed her first marathon. After running six more-with a PR of 5:27:04-she started competing in triathlons. In 2003, she won the female leg-amputee division of the International Triathlon Union World Championships in New Zealand. “Athletics have given me the opportunity to prove that I’m just like everyone else,” she says. Reinertsen doesn’t wear a prosthetic to swim, so she has to hop out of the water and strap on her nine-pound running prosthetic to get to the transition area. There she switches to a prosthetic that has a bike cleat bolted to it. She has to change back to the running one for the marathon. Reinertsen, who lives in Solana Beach, California, works as a program manager at Challenged Athletes Foundation. “I want to help the disabled community break down barriers,” she says. “I love my life. I wouldn’t want to be any other way.”

Sarah story just goes to prove that running is a sport that anyone can do.


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