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I recently came across a Facebook post that I had made when I learned of Sara’s passing. Below is an adaptation of what I wrote in that post in 2020. A big smile and some tears spread across my face, as I thought of our adventures together. It’s 4 years later, she would be 20 years old now. I promised her mom that I would never forget her daughter, and I won’t. Sara made such an impact on the athlete and coach that I am today. She helped me see clearly how I want to spend my energy and talents. So just as my other Stuart Coaching athletes do, consider this to be Sara’s race report – a celebration of determination and accomplishment.
Yesterday, I learned of your passing. I can’t stop thinking about you and your tremendous impact on my life.
Our first race was 2012 Grand Rapids Triathlon. I met you at our practice session and instantly just adored you. I had been training but was so scared that I wasn’t strong enough to take you through the whole race. Race day arrived, and we had a great first swim and started on the bike. A few miles in, I come across the love of my life, lying in the road – missing a tooth and with a face resembling dog chow. Ben had been hit by a motorcycle during the race! I had to decide what to do! An ambulance was on its way, and so I was like, “I’ll meet you at the ER, Honey! Sara has to finish her race!!”
We finished that race, and we went on to finish many more together. I think we may have done 6 or 7 races together. Together. Yes, we did them together. You, Sara, showed me how strong I was. Like that one time, when my crank arm completely came off my bike with 2 miles to go on the bike course! Again, Sara has GOT to finish this race, so we ran… pulling the bike and cart with Sara in it – barefoot.
You came into my life at a time when I was healing from some painful personal junk and racing with you made me feel strong and in control and so good. Although you were non-verbal, you let me know how much you loved racing. Your eyes (and your pinches) told me how much you liked being with me too.
I want you to know what a special person you are, Sara. I will never ever forget you. Your earthly body was so broken and I hate that it caused you so much pain to sit the cart that we couldn’t race together any longer. Your heavenly body is no doubt strong and fast. My heart aches for your Mama at her unbelievable loss. A reminder to hug my own babies tight.
I am so grateful for you. Rest in peace, sweet Sara.