I caught up with her husband Jim, and his sister at the 16 mile mark. Darla looked like she was just out for a jog. She said she was doing great and seemed completely unfazed by the whole thing. She was so cute how each time we caught up with her she would tell Jim "I just have to run to the church" or "to the park". She would picture in her head her daily runs at home in California - the 10 mile runs, 3 mile runs, etc. It kept her going.
At the 20 mile mark, she said she was "starting to feel it". Well I would certainly hope so after running 20 miles! Up until the race today, the longest run she had done was 21 miles.
23 mile mark - she said the same thing, and was walking. After the race she told us that at that time she had decided to walk the remainder of the race. Jim told her to "get her pace", and after we walked away, we noticed she was running again. She said that he inspired her to finish strong.
She made unbelievable time her last 3 miles, compared to the rest of the race. Her goal was to make it in 6 hours, and she beat that time by about 15 minutes! She made a strong finish and left us spectators wondering how she did it and so very proud of her.
I found myself in tears many times thinking of the miracle that has occurred. It was almost 13 years ago that she nearly lost her life in a car accident with her family. She shattered her hip, broke her neck, and sustained severe head trauma. Spent 6 weeks in a coma, and for all practical purposes, she shouldn't be with us today. She is truly a miracle as well as an inspiration to make the most of what you've been blessed with.
I can't say that I would ever join her - but I'll cheer her on anytime! I love you Darla!!!!