This spotlight was first published in Issue 2 of our digital newsletter, The First Wave.
After sustaining several injuries, Heather Sealover asked her surgeon if she’d be able to run competitively again. For half of her life, she’d been competing in long distance races, from half-marathons and marathons to 50-milers. When the surgeon shook his head, Heather said she “felt a chunk of [her] identity slip away.”
Feeling frustrated by her injuries, Heather didn’t leave the house for nearly a year and a half, unless she had a medical appointment. Then a friend and mentor told Heather, an Air Force Service Member, about Dare2tri’s Injured Military Camp.
Heather was reluctant to sign up, but she ultimately decided to attend. She packed her bags and headed for Hammond, Ind., where she’d spend two days learning the ins and outs of paratriathlon with other wounded veterans. She later called it “the single greatest decision [she] could have made.”
At Military Camp, Heather rediscovered her passion for endurance racing. Perhaps most importantly, she learned adaptations for running, utilizing a racing chair.
“Climbing in a racing chair for the first time was scary, but it quickly became the highlight of my experience,” Heather recalled. “The feeling kind of resembled riding a bike without training wheels for the first time…freedom!”
After two days of training, Heather and her fellow camp participants competed in Leon’s Triathlon, a race that pays special tribute to active and retired military members.
“Powering around the trail in the racing chair, I felt the closest to running since my femur injury,” Heather said. “Furthermore, the connections I made with other military members were paramount.”
Heather went on to join Dare2tri for several more events and races during the summer. In July, she finished third overall in the women’s Physically Challenged (PC) Open division of the Legacy Triathlon in Long Beach, Calif.
“I had no idea how powerful this experience would be and especially didn’t believe there was a way to quench my competitive drive any longer,” Heather said. “I feel reinvigorated, alive, and charged with new purpose.”