On the Monday this week before the Saturday in what was supposed to be the biggest race of his young life, Andre De Grasse was injured on a training run in England. He was to face Usain Bolt in the last race of Bolt’s career and the match had all the buzz of a Mike Tyson fight. Rarely does track attract so much attention, but De Grasse is a generational athlete and Bolt is arguably sport’s biggest star: the spotlights were ready to shine.
Then, after training all year for this day, De Grasse gets hurt.
“While I’m in the best shape of my life and extremely disappointed…I can’t forget or be ungrateful for the successes I’ve been blessed with,” the 22-year-old said.
Sports can be unforgiving, and as amateur athletes we get a sense of that in our own training that we do. We get colds before race week; we forget to pack the right shoes when we travel to a race; we come up hobbling, like De Grasse, on a training run the Monday before Sunday’s race.
We’ll never know what it feels like to be Andre, just like we’ll never know what it’s like to be Rachel Hannah, arguably the marathon’s brightest rising star, who’s been valiantly battling foot injuries since before the Boston Marathon. Like De Grasse, she too had to drop out of this weekend’s events. It’s more than unfortunate, it’s life. Your running buddy has been hurt and so has Reid Coolsaet, and Krista DuChene: our stars take the hits we all do; what makes them special is how they respond.
Getting hurt before race day is like falling off a mountain before your wedding—it’s the worst thing that could happen, that no one’s prepared for, and it’s something that ultimately needs to be overcome. Athletes are resilient by nature. Gillis had to drop out of Boston due to injury and here he is, at 37, back already and ready to race the marathon.
Training in sports is about pushing your body to its utmost limits and when you do that, sometimes your body pushes back. In the new issue, Krista writes about what she’s learned in her 15 marathons in 15 years. One thing she says she’s looking forward to after finishing her time as an elite athlete is her kids not always having to worry about hurting mom.
Today, our thoughts are with Andre and with Rachel, inspirational human beings who push themselves to the breaking point while representing their country and inspiring all of us to lace up our shoes. We know that both athletes will be back out there.
And we salute them: we run for them today.