As the hot summer sun set over Arlington, Virginia’s Crystal City, thousands of runners, including one woman battling cerebral palsy, took off through the city’s streets for a 5K.
According to WUSA9 Meteorologist Howard Bernstein, the heat index was about 98 degrees at the start of the race. He said that is plenty hot enough to induce heat stress, cause somebody to pass out or worse. But for these runners, and one in particular, the heat was not going to stop them from starting the Crystal City Twightlight 5K.
At 8:30 p.m., the race officially began, some 2,000 runners took off. Some look like pros, others not so much. But for one runner, the race is already an hour old.
Meet Jamie Watts. She’s in her thirties and lives with cerebral palsy. She took up running after she learned about a woman who made a goal of running 30 races before her 30th birthday. Except, the then 33-year-old Watts upped the ante. She ran 34 races before turning 34.
Despite her experience, racing isn’t always easy. The same race that the swiftest of runners finish in well under 20 minutes takes her nearly 2 hours. A friend escorts her through her journey to help in case a stumble turns into a fall or if the blazing heat takes its toll.
She is a crowd favorite, cheered by officers and fans alike.
As the clock struck 9, Jamie continued to persevere. But now, no longer alone, and surrounded by her comrades, the finish line appeared.