EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- She swings. She climbs. She jumps. It’s all part of a typical work out for Sara Heesen, that is anything but typical.
“It started when I saw Kacy Katanzaro’s run,” Heesen said. “She finished the area qualifiers, and she was one of the first women to do it. I got super excited and a little bit cocky, and I thought I could probably do that run.”
Determined to become the next American Ninja Warrio, Sara set her sights on Eden Prairie’s Conquer Ninja Warrior Gym.
“When I tried do the rings it felt like I was about to dislocate a shoulder,” Heesen said. “I couldn’t do a single thing.”
But Sara isn’t someone to take no for an answer.
“I always think I can do it,” Heesen said.
After about nine months of training: she could. In fact, Sara even took her new-found ninja skills on the road: traveling to each of the show’s seven test sites where eventually she caught the right person’s eye.
“One of the other producer’s came up to me and was like, ‘What’s your name? I’ll remember that,’” Heesen said. “I was like, ‘Excellent.’”
But things then took a not so excellent turn.
“I got pretty sick,” Heesen said. “I wasn’t sure if this would be the year for me.”
Diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, Sara’s dream took a backseat to her health.
“Training went out the window,” Heesen said. “That’s why I almost didn’t apply this year.”
Sara’s new-found support system though would help her battle back, and when she finally got the phone call she’d been waiting for: the fact five other members from her gym found out they had qualified too, only made it sweeter.
“It’s perfect because they know that I’m nervous and what I’ve been through,” Heesen said.
Making the obstacles she’ll face in less than a month: a little less challenging.
“It’s just kind of surreal,” Heesen said.
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