RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Overcoming spinal surgery, weight loss and a heart condition, Cheryl Anne Hedge of Rutherford completed her first marathon in New York City on Sunday, Nov. 1.
“I want people to know they pretty much can do anything as long as you put your mind to it,” Hedge said. “If you devote yourself to it or train, you can do anything in life. If you decide to do something, you can make it happen.”
As a self proclaimed slower runner, Hedge is used to crossing the finish line at the back of the pack with little or no support waiting for her.
Despite finishing after the allotted cutoff time, Hedge crossed the finish line at 9 hours and was welcomed by cheering fans and New York Road Runner President Peter Ciaccia and NYRR CEO Michael Capiraso.
“This was the best race finish by far,” Hedge said. “It was the first finish where people really cared that you came through the finish line. They knew my name, talked to me and the race directors were there.”
Hedge's journey to the finish line was symbolic of a journey of her overcoming her own obstacles in life.
In 2012, Hedge was involved in a car accident where she was rear ended by a woman texting, crushing her vertebrae. She had spinal surgery in 2014, which has since affected her posture. She also can no longer bend at the waist.
In 2013, Hedge also underwent gastric bypass surgery where she lost more than 100 pounds and began running.
A few months before the marathon, Hedge found she was experiencing heart issues and wasn’t sure she could race. The doctor gave her the green light to do the race, but only if she walked the entire thing. And she did.
“I can’t believe I actually made it,” Hedge said. “It was a dream for me to finish one.”
VIDEO: Watch Hedge cross the finish line HERE .
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