Remember the woman who fell in Moab and was rescued by her dog? A new story about her this morning:
‘How’s This For Rehab?’
Injured Dillon adventure
racer’s return to competition stuns onlookers in Buena Vista, doctor in
BUENA VISTA — The poor guy had no idea. Jogging wearily alongside a
30-something woman during Saturday’s Adventure Xstream 12-hour adventure race in
Buena Vista, he tried to make conversation.
“Is this your first
adventure race?” he asked.
One can only imagine what went through Danelle
Ballengee’s mind when she heard that question, but she did not flinch. Instead,
the two-time world champion replied, “No, I’ve done a couple others. How about
The man explained that he, too, had done a few races in his time,
swearing that he is normally in better shape and closer to the front of the
pack. Ballengee acknowledged his reply and kept her eyes on the trail. Shortly
thereafter the man stopped running and began to walk. Ballengee kept
By the time she completed the 60-mile course (roughly the
distance from Golden to Silverthorne), 11 1/2 hours after she started,
Ballengee had done what others believed it would take a year to do. Only she had
done it in about 40 percent of that time, just five months after her now-famous
and near-fatal 60-foot fall in the Moab backcountry last December. The
trail-running accident left her unsheltered and stranded for more than two days
and two nights before a search party located her, dying on a frozen rock,
crippled with a shattered pelvis.
Her doctors said it would be 3-6
months before Ballengee might walk again. Many people who break their pelvis
this severely — in essence, the left side was no longer attached to the right —
don’t last longer than 12 hours before they perish due to internal bleeding, the
doctors told her.
That didn’t stop her from signing up two days before
the race, last Thursday, just a couple months after getting out of a wheelchair.
She had intended to do the sprint course with a friend, but a pair of potential
partners fell through and you’re not allowed to race the sprint course as a
solo. What the hell, she figured, and she signed up for the 12-hour course
Before the race, Ballengee said the longest workout she had done
since December lasted about three hours — and that included plenty of rest
tossed in with hiking, running and mountain biking stints. She did not tell her
doctors that she intended to race. Nor did she tell her physical therapist until
after she’d signed up.
Balancing nerves, doubt and a growing hunger to
test herself like she’d done so many times before, Ballengee went into the race
with few expectations. “I was just going to see how far I could get,” she said.
“I really didn’t think I could finish.”
Will and Jenny Newcomer, who run
the Xstream series, were admittedly uneasy when Ballengee signed up. They talked
at length with the three-time Primal Quest champion about what the course
entailed, making sure she knew exactly what she would be entering into. “The
last thing we wanted,” Jenny Newcomer said, “was for her to get re-injured
during our event.”