Tag Archives: Montana

An Unassuming Hero!

by Liz Clark

Montana Spartan Race, May 2013

Montana Spartan Race

An unassuming hero, 23yr old Melinda Juell from Missoula was a participant in the Montana Spartan Race, May 2013. We first noticed Melinda as she was nearing completion of this rigorous challenge, a three plus mile, fifteen obstacle mountain race set up in the Montana wilderness. The obstacles required, climbing, crawling under bridges and barbwire, and fire jumping just to name a few, with plenty of mud mixed in for excitement. She had just completed an obstacle which required her to carry a heavy sandbag up and over a steep muddy hill.

Spartan Racer Melinda JuellDropping the sandbag to the ground she looked up with the smile of a champion.

Melinda lost her left forearm due to blood clots in 2010. It was a traumatic time for her which she turned into a positive life changing event, stating, “Losing my arm has made me want to start doing things that I never would have tried before…” Moving towards this new vision she began a weight-loss journey and has now lost an impressive 60 pounds. Playing down the loss of her limb, she feels many things in life are equally hard, with or without limbs.

“I do not look at my lack of limb as anything to overcome. It is just part of my daily life that I spend far less time thinking about than anyone around me does.”Spartan Racer Melinda Juell

Melinda’s sister suggested they participate in the Spartan Race and with no idea of the actual details she agreed. After beginning the race she soon discovered it was much longer than anticipated, stating, “In hindsight, it was a fun event to participate in. During the race, I was just ready to be done!” Believing that there is nothing special about her completing such a daunting race, Melinda is quick to give equal credit to all participants. Diverting attention from herself, she shared a story about a leg amputee and his struggle, her description filled with positive affirmations that would inspire any self-doubting person; she concludes, “Never let anyone make you feel as if you are not capable.”

Melinda may be humble about her achievements, but the impact she had on me and countless others—even before we spoke—will never be forgotten. My heart was touched and uplifted by her blatant joy and commitment. Continuing on with the race after dropping her 20 pound sandbag, her good-natured countenance shown with inspiration and determination, Melinda feels, “Participating in the Spartan Race was much more about strengthening my soul than anything else,” and in doing so she helped empower many others. Her example shouts out to the world; determination will take you wherever you want to go!

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