Kassube finishes triathlon with two broken arms

When participating in a triathlon that includes a strenuous 500-meter swim, a 13-mile bike ride and a grueling 3-mile run, endurance is key. A triathlon requires a person to be in peak physical shape and finishing proves one’s grit, determination and sheer physicality.

Now, imagine having to finish one of these races with two broken arms.

On July 14, sophomore Josephine Kassube raced in the Mayor’s Sprint Triathlon in Papillon, Nebraska, placing second in her age division. Kassube had not originally planned on running the race. Instead, she had spent her summer training for the Sioux Falls half-marathon.

“I decided to run the triathlon because professional runners recommend cross-training before an event,” Kassube said. “They say it gives you valuable experience.”

When she heard that the triathlon was near her hometown, she decided to dust off her bike and give it a go.

As a life-long athlete with a background in running and competitive swimming, Kassube was feeling confident about the race.

She was about three miles into the bike ride when the accident happened.

“I heard the words ‘on your left’ and seconds later I was diving into the concrete,” Kassube said. “I tried to catch myself with my arms and landed in almost a push-up position.”

Another biker had clipped Kassube’s back wheel from the left, throwing her off her bike. She said that when she landed, her arms bent at a 90-degree angle.

“I didn’t know it then, but I had cracked one of my radial heads and taken a chunk out of the other,” Kassube said.

Kassube originally planned to finish the race in 1.5 hours, but her fall destroyed these plans. The EMTs encouraged Kassube to sit out for the rest of the race, but she was determined to finish.

“I had other plans and I wasn’t going to let a little crash stop my triathlon and my half-marathon,” Kassube said.

The EMTs must have seen the glint in her eyes because they helped her mount her bike against their better judgment. She threw her arms over the handlebars and set out to prove that she could finish the race for herself and her teammates.

“[She’s] always looking for the silver lining,” senior Corey Albrecht, a friend of Kassube, said.

Kassube made it to the finish line with a time of 2:01:38. She said that she was not just running for herself that day. Kassube is a LIFE runner and said she felt a responsibility to finish the race.

“I’m a LIFE runner. I run in remembrance of the unborn,” she said. “That’s who I thought about during the race. I knew my legs could get me through the race. They could run, and so I did it for [the unborn].”

Though she was able to feel the triumph of crossing the finish line in the triathlon, Kassube was not able to do the same in the Sioux Falls half-marathon on Sept. 8. She decided not to race because of to her injury, but she did manage to run in the Sioux Falls 10k—which occurred on the same day—finishing with a time of 50:43.

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