‘Just get out and try it:’ Adaptive sports athlete ready for her fourth Donna marathon weekend

Several adaptive athletes participated in the Donna Marathon.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With her wheels decked out in pink, Sarah Williford is pumped for the Donna.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “This is such a huge event that the crowd gets that extra adrenaline push and you just want to keep going.”

She and her fiancé cycled the 5K Saturday with 10 other athletes from Brooks Rehab’s adaptive sports program.

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Williford has always used a wheelchair to get around after being born with spina bifida. She’s never let it stop her from going after her dreams.

“I’ve been very active since I was a little kid and I’ve always accomplished whatever I wanted,” she said. “My fiancé and I, we’re both in wheelchairs and we’re out here every weekend pushing them and doing 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, all that stuff.”

This is Williford’s fourth time doing the Donna. On Sunday, she’ll join more than a dozen other Brooks athletes on the track.

She loves supporting the push to find a cure for breast cancer but there’s another aspect she appreciates.

“Being that push for people. They’ll see you and they’re like, ‘Obviously she’s putting in the work to be out here so why can’t I put in the work?’” she said. “Sometimes people just need that extra push.”

It’s a gentle push her parents always gave her. After five years in Brooks' adaptive sports program, she wants to inspire other people of all abilities.

“I’m not letting a wheel chair or anything stop me,” she said. “Just get out and try it. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you get out and do it.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in Brooks’ Adaptive Sports and Recreation program, visit their website or call 904-345-7314.​