When I was a freshman in high school, I stress-fractured both of my ankles when running cross country and track. That sidelined me throughout the entire spring season. With the help of cushion inserts and Sauconys, I launched into my fall cross-country season with renewed vigour. Unfortunately, I developed pain in my left quad, which turned out to be a femoral stress fracture. Before I found out it was a fracture, I ran through the pain, at one point running a personal best on our home cross-country course in eighteen minutes and six seconds. By the time I saw a doctor, the fracture was six inches long and big enough to be seen on an X-ray.
Orthotics fixed the problem well enough for high school, but my leg gives me enough problems to this day that I functionally can no longer be a runner. Damn, do I miss it, and I would give those high school races back in a heartbeat if it meant I could be a runner now.
Connor Callihan is a high school junior who crawled across the finish line after a stress fracture shattered his tibia during a race. What a tough, tough kid. I hope things work out better for him than they did for me; it would be heartbreaking if his determination to finish this season meant that he doesn’t have any other seasons to run.