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Nothing is stopping her now
Abby Richter
Antelope Staff
Photo courtesy McClure
McClure returned to running after a December accident.
Photo courtesy McClure
Megan McClure runs the State Farm 5K on March 28, 2009.

Last year, on Dec. 17, 2008, Megan McClure, a junior athletic training major from Lincoln, was on her way home for Christmas break when her life changed forever.

It wasn’t a Christmas break anyone would hope for, as McClure spent all of it in the hospital after a head-on accident involving a collision with a semi occurred. Being a runner saved her life that day, something she had never imagined.

Doctors were amazed at McClure’s fast recovery, and the only explanation they had for it was that she was healthy, because she was an avid runner. “They have told me that running saved my life,” McClure said. “The fact that my body was as strong as it was not only helped determine if I would survive or not, but it also helped determine how fast I recovered.”

McClure, a member of the UNK cross country team, didn’t know if she would ever compete again after the accident. “I knew the accident was going to have a big effect on my speed and how good I was, and I didn’t think I would be good enough anymore,” McClure said. “I knew no matter how good I was, I would have a spot on the team, but I just didn’t and still don’t know if I could handle being last in races, because I don’t think I am mentally tough enough to do that.”  

But with a little encouragement from her friends, family and fiancé, McClure was back on her feet in no time.  McClure’s fiancé, Thomas Neemann, a senior construction management major from Syracuse, had a major impact on motivating her to get back into running again. “At first she was excited to get out and run, but when she found out how bad of shape she was in and how hard it was going to be to get back to form, she needed a lot of motivation,” Neemann said.  

“When we got back to school and she was able to compare herself to her teammates, she especially needed some comfort and encouragement because girls that she was used to running and competing with were ahead of her on workouts and runs, and this was very frustrating for her.”   

That’s where Neemann stepped in and stood by her all the way. “All the therapists at Madonna said that the most important aspect in recovery is having the support of your family and friends,” Neemann said. “Her parents, sisters and I were always there to encourage and help her.”

As spring moved forward and summer came along, McClure still didn’t give up on the idea that she was going to compete again. “My initial thoughts were negative when I started to train again,” McClure said.  “But I knew I had to just start appreciating that I could run and try my hardest not to worry about how fast I was going.”

After the summer of training, McClure knew she was making some progress but had no idea how much progress she had actually made.  “I was still worried about getting last in races and not having anyone to run with on the team,” McClure said. Despite this, she was still excited that she would be able to at least try.

The time for McClure to compete at her first collegiate race since the accident finally came on Sept. 4 at the UNK Twilight meet. “As I stepped up to the starting line, I was nervous,” McClure said.  “I was just thinking, ‘As long as you try your best, it really doesn’t matter what the outcome is.’” She was excited for the race to begin and was just as ready for it to be done.

Her excitement from the beginning of the race stayed with her until the end as she crossed the finish line with a time of 18:42, smashing her goal of 22 minutes.  

This was a great start, and McClure now feels she definitely has a chance of getting back to where she was  before the accident.  “I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I feel I am capable of putting in the work it’s going to take,” McClure said. “I am still working on getting my mental attitude in the right place, but it is definitely getting better. I am excited for the rest of this year and next year, just to see how far I can come back.”

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