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Every year, thousands of athletes from around the world push their bodies to their physical limits in the Spartan Sprint races. Participants race along 3.5 miles of trails featuring 20+ obstacles, including wall jumps, rope climbs, and carrying 40-pound sandbags.

For the average person, the race is brutal. Now imagine doing the race with limited fine-motor control in one hand. Imagine racing when just walking heel-to-toe is difficult. Cerebral Palsy added those challenges to the race for Charleston resident John Sherrill. Still, he completed four races in 2016, showing his fellow competitors what it’s like to live a Life Without Limits.  Completing the races required adaptability, persistence, and supportive teammates, but he approached each race as any other athlete.

Since his friend Herman dared him to join his team a year-and-a-half ago, John has transformed from self-described couch potato to certified Spartan finisher! He has changed his eating habits and trains with Herman five days a week. He refers to himself as a “grinder;” he isn’t the fastest competitor, but he finishes the race.

Challenging himself physically was his main goal but he also believed it was important to race for people who have greater physical limitations than he. So John suggested to Herman that their team raise funds for United Cerebral Palsy of South Carolina during 2016. By the end of the year, they had raised more than $3,000 to benefit those we serve at UCP!

John wrote to us in December to share his incredible story. Along with his letter, he sent a Spartan t-shirt and one of his Spartan medals to give to an individual with Cerebral Palsy who lives the Spartan mission statement:

“We are Spartans on and off the course. We believe in changing your frame of reference and transforming your life. Spartans laugh in the face of failure and continue forward. We welcome challenges and embrace discomfort. Be active. Be curious. Be human. We are unbreakable. We are strong. WE ARE SPARTAN.

We recently presented the t-shirt and medal to Preston, whose courage and determination inspire us daily. Preston has had physical challenges with Cerebral Palsy but he has lived a Life Without Limits. He graduated from community college with a liberal arts degree; earned multiple gold and silver medals from the Special Olympics; and has written six books. To us, Preston IS a Spartan! As you can see from the picture, he wears the shirt and medal with great pride!

Thank you, John, for your team’s commitment to help those we serve at UCP of South Carolina. You inspire our team in our mission to empower with people with disabilities!

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