Perseverance, the strongest quality

Maggie Dalton, Head Photo & Art, Community Editor, Columnist

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It is easy to give up or quit, but it takes great strength to persevere. Perseverance is both physical and mental. To persevere, it takes courage, bravery and strength. Perseverance is staying in the fight despite difficulties. Those who persevere have always inspired me. I like to think that I persevere in cross country by continuing to run no matter how tired I get, but compared to Tim Don, that’s nothing.

Tim Don is a World Champion triathlete. He holds the world record for the Ironman, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22 mile run. Don completed the Brazil Ironman course in 7 hours, 40 minutes, and 23 seconds. 

Days before the 2017 Kona Ironman World Championship, he was hit by a truck while on his bicycle, causing him to break a vertebrae in his neck. 

The story could have ended there with Don getting his spine fused. Instead, Don chose to wear a halo for three months, where four screws in his skull, attached to beams, held his head in place. The painful device would likely let Don compete once again. 

It is extremely brave for someone to choose pain over the easy way out. He decided to give himself a challenge to ultimately let him to be able to keep doing Ironmans.  

“It’s a new challenge, and athletes like Tim love challenges,” said Don’s coach in the documentary “The Man With The Halos”.

Within a few weeks of the accident, Don was back training. He trained creatively in order to get the most out of his workout while still not being back to his best self. Once the halo was off, there were still some difficulties that Don and his coach had to work around. He swam with a snorkel because he was not able to turn his head to breathe. It could have been so easy for Don to give up and not look for solutions to his training problems.

Four months after the halo was removed, Don ran the Boston Marathon. He ran it in two hours, 49 minutes, and 42 seconds. 

A year after his accident, he competed in the Kona Ironman and placed fifty-third out of more than 2,300 competitors. It was a miraculous comeback, although Don stays humble.

“If this had happened to an age grouper, they would’ve fought just as hard,” said Don to Ironman.com. 

An age grouper is a triathlete that doesn’t hold professional or elite status. Therefore, they are common people who like to do triathlons. Don wants others to know that his comeback wasn’t for the career aspect. The work he put in to continue to compete was for his love of triathlons.    

My freshman year of cross country, I was having hip pain, and eventually the pain spread up my back. I found out that my right pelvic bone was rotated forward. I couldn’t run until I strengthened my hip muscles enough to keep my bones in place. The usual course of action for injuries on the cross country team is cross training on a bicycle. Biking took a toll on my hip and after a week I found out that I couldn’t bike. I wanted to stay in shape but I didn’t know how. I talked with my physical therapist and we decided that I could workout on the arm bike. 

I eventually got well enough to return to cross country meets. It wasn’t an amazing comeback but I put in work and was patient. 

I have worked through various different injuries, but I couldn’t imagine an injury like Don’s. He worked hard for a goal that he knew he would maybe never reach. It takes a great amount of bravery to put your time, effort, and pain into a dream, and that is exactly what Tim Don did. 

Perseverance can make or break an injury comeback physically or mentally. Perseverance is what makes an inspiring athlete.

I have worked through different injuries but I couldn’t imagine an injury like Don’s. He worked hard for a goal that he knew he would maybe never reach. It takes a great amount of bravery to put your time, effort, and pain into a dream, and that is exactly what Tim Don did.

 

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