High School Runner’s Determination Proves Inspirational

Holland Reynolds crawls to the finish line.

One of the great things about sports is that athletes’ performances are often inspirational and motivational. Perhaps nobody exemplifies that better than 16-year-old Holland Reynolds.

The lead runner for her San Francisco University High School cross country team, Reynolds and her teammates had plenty of motivation entering last week’s CIF Division V state championship. While a victory would give University its eighth state title, a state record, the girls were driven by more than trophies and records. They were driven by the courage of their coach, Jim Tracy, 60, who is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Wanting desperately to win a state championship for her coach, whose health has steadily declined to the point where he wears leg braces and a back brace in order to walk, Reynolds was in line for a top three finish with a half mile remaining in the 3.1-mile race. But that’s when her body shut down, turning her graceful stride into an awkward stumble.

For the final half mile, Reynolds willed her body toward the finish line until she collapsed and rolled onto her back just 10 feet shy of the line. A race official rushed to her side, but was careful not to touch her since any assistance would result in Reynolds’ disqualification.

Reynolds managed to get to her hands and knees, and proceeded to crawl the final few feet across the finish line, where she was immediately scooped up and rushed to an ambulance. She was the fifth finisher for her team (the top five count toward a team’s score) and 37th overall (out of 169) with a time of 20:15. If Reynolds hadn’t crawled across the finish line, University wouldn’t have won the state championship.

Watch the video below to witness Reynolds’ inspirational and motivational performance. She is seen struggling toward the finish line beginning at the 1:15 mark of the video.

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