<PHOTO CREDIT – Carolina Snapshot Photography>

Heather Wagner, 41, and Claire Wagner, 10 | Licensed Professional Counselor and student, Burlington, NC

“My life is different now because I have the courage to try new things.”

“I had done a Ramblin’ Rose previously, as the next step in my adventures as a woman finding herself. Claire’s father and I divorced when she was 4 years old, and I have spent the 6 years since building a life of my own. I ran my first road race, a 10k, having never run more than 3 miles. I found out I loved setting goals and it helped me to develop as a person, a woman, and a mother. I went on to run three half marathons, then spent the next year competing in obstacle course races. My goal for my 40th year was to complete the Spartan Trifecta, which I did in 2014. The week after, I bought a mountain bike having never ridden one before. Six months later, I bought a road bike, and signed up for my first triathlon, the Ramblin’ Rose Raleigh which I completed in May. I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere of women supporting and cheering for each other, women from ALL walks of life, racing for all sorts of reasons. I wanted my little girl to experience the power of perseverance, the camaraderie of an entire gender, and the sheer joy of crossing that finish line. The photo is of us doing just that.  I have never been more proud of her. My most memorable moment in this race was when my daughter, tired and hot, started cheering for other women during the run.  She looked at bibs to read the names and gave her own little personalized pep talk to the ladies we were running with.  The look on her face when she got warm responses was heart-warming. My daughter now has a better understanding of what it’s like to train, enter, and complete an event, and the intrinsic boost it provides – she’s learning she’s a badass in her own right!”