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Barbara Peterson’s Comeback at XTERRA World Championships 2011

Here is a repost of a MAUI MOMENTS blog post by Richard Castello.

atop-podiumContinuing on with activities at the post race awards dinner, I found myself to be quite entertained by some of the emotions and celebrations, by many of the racers who paid visit to the podium atop the stage. As they started presenting winners, beginning from the oldest first and unto the youngest, I couldn’t help but marvel at the athletic achievements regarding many of the older competitors, that they had put forth during the race. I was just in awe of the overall times some of them had put in, on the very same course that I had competed on. Incredibly amazing. When they moved to announce the winners in the 55-59 age division, I was completely blown away at the news that a good personal friend, had claimed the division title this year. Barbara Peterson of Berkeley, California, has been in this same spot before, as a matter of fact, she has been the recipient of being a world champion five times before. Certainly no stranger to winning. This 2011 win though was different, different in so may ways I thought.

Sitting at my table, I watched as Barbara exalted in emotional bliss at her own victory. It was a special one after all, with events leading up to this moment, warranting such celebratory release. Watching her from afar, I felt that even she knew it herself. She had come a long way. You see, this same time just a year ago, Barbara was facing an uncertain future in regards to pursuing her love for athletics. An unfortunate accident suffered in the home environment, had left Barbara with bilateral calcaneus heel fractures. Basically she broke both her heels in layman’s terms. The timing of this injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time. More than three quarters of the way through the 2010 season, and ready to depart for Switzerland, this incident brought about close to any and all hopes of continuing on not only for the rest of the season, but perhaps any further and future athletic participation in general. Thing’s were not sounding good amongst the xterra community, as word spread regarding medical opinions that hopes of returning to any form of strenuous sporting activity, most likely would not happen due to the injuries suffered. Truly a crushing blow felt by many.

barbara petersonThank goodness that deep inside every single xterra athlete, you’ll find the underlying belief and overall determination, to never give up. Never! Despite all the obstacles faced, no matter how big or how small, one never gives up. That’s what makes them all so special!

I thought to myself as I sat back and watched Barbara bask in this newly experienced and crowning personal moment, how this specific one, world championship title number # 6, had to be the most prized one of them all. I thought about how against medical belief, and insurmountable odds, how one special individual would defy all likelihood. Maybe it was just me surmising what you had gone through, maybe it was me realizing entirely the path you must have traveled not only physically, but emotionally as well in getting to this point. I was a mixture of many emotions myself as I stood up in the back of the room, cheering the loudest for you above any other competitor that night. I was so proud of you.

Savor this victory my good friend. Never forget what it took you to get back to this point, never forget how inspirational your grit and determination is to countless others, let alone myself. Build upon this and there is nothing that won’t be within your reach.

~ I’d like to thank the ever-so amazing, and Mr. wonderful himself, Trey Garman, from Xterra, for the usage of photos. Thanks dude!

Posted by Richard Costello on 11/06/2011

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