Persevering Runners

By Brian Cragg
February 10, 2012

In 2008 seven time marathon runner, Eric Nelson, thought he would never be able to enjoy his passion of running ever again. After completing a personal record running the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon in White Rock Lake, Texas, he almost lost his life. After running the marathon, he and his wife who ran with him, faced an oncoming vehicle that lost control and hit Eric as well as two other marathon runners.

The accident wreckage was devastating. All three runner’s had broken legs , but of the three, Nelson’s injuries were far more severe. A brain injury, broken ribs, and fractured vertebrae resulted in weeks of recovery at the hospital, months of physical therapy as well as re-developing his motor skill coordination. During his recovery Nelson longed to be able to run again.

A year after the accident, the driver was finally issued one year in jail for causing the accident, (the driver was unlicensed and uninsured). It took two years for all three runners to be able to fully recover and return to normal life.

A personal breakthrough for Nelson happened on New Year’s Day in 2010, when he completed his first run with his wife at the location of the accident, White Rock Lake. Since then, he has ran  multiple marathons across the country, not quite reaching his previous personal record, but realizing that he is making huge strides toward that goal.

Mary Oliver and Jay Newton were the other two runners that were  injured in the  accident. All three  became close during their recoveries, encouraging one another to get back to the love of running they all shared- -they even call themselves the Team to Hell and Back. In December, the three ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon with a route that passed the scene of the accident. “Being able to run this marathon is another step forward for all of us,” says Nelson.

This emotional story ends as an inspiration for runners, recovering athletes, or motivation in general to get out and pursue your passions. If these runners can accomplish marathons after such tragedy-to hell and back, we can be motivated to get moving as well!

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