Congratulations to athlete, Veteran and Catch A Lift CrossFit Coach Sarah Rudder on her FIRST PLACE finish at the 2021 WheelWOD Games! And a hearty thank you to WheelWOD for creating a world-class athletic competition showcasing the competitive spirit and abilities of adaptive athletes.
If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
-Martin Luther King JR
Ret. Marine Corps Lance Cpl, 9/11 first responder, CrossFit L1 Trainer, certified ATA adaptive trainer, adaptive athlete, Olympic Lifting Certification- Mike Burgener course, multi-gold medal winning Invictus Games athlete, Catch A Lift Fund Coach, CrossFit Games athlete (2nd place worldwide finish, 2021 CrossFit Open), Catch A Lift Fund Veteran Coach and Mentor, soccer coach, wife and mother.
Sarah joined the Marines in 2000, attached to HQ in Arlington, VA. She suffered numerous broken bones and a traumatic brain injury in a duty-related auto accident in her first year as a Marine. During her promotion ceremony (to Lance Corporal) on September 11, 2001, the Pentagon came under attack, and Sarah went from wearing dress blues to becoming a first responder at the Pentagon. During initial search and rescue efforts and subsequent retrieval operations, Sarah’s ankle was crushed under a large block of concrete. The pull of duty to her fallen comrades, constant surges of adrenaline and a tightly laced boot kept her going for an additional 24 hours before she understood the severity of her injuries. Despite numerous reconstructive surgeries, ultimately Sarah’s left leg was amputated below the knee.
Following her amputation, Sarah recommitted herself to a life of fitness. She discovered CrossFit in 2014 and was hooked by its intensity and variety. She trained to become stronger, fitter and simply a better version of herself. Hard training was (and remains) intensely emotionally and mentally restorative, building not just her body but her mind as well. Like all long-term CrossFitters, Sarah understands the powerful mind-body healing forged through picking up heavy things, running, rowing, biking and swimming faster, improving gymnastics movements, and the thrill of hearing 3, 2, 1…GO!
Sarah brings this understanding to the Catch A Lift Fund as an athlete, coach and mentor, where she works with other combat wounded veterans helping them on their personal fitness journeys. She programs workouts for all athletes – adaptive and non-adaptive alike. She teaches correct form and provides constant feedback and motivation to her athletes.
And along the way, Sarah has competed in the Warrior Games, Invictus Games, CrossFit Open and CrossFit Games and WheelWOD Open and WheelWOD games, winning multiple gold medals, setting world records and simultaneously supporting and dominating her fellow competitors.