Hurdler finishes race despite ruptured Achilles tendon

An Idaho State hurdler’s final 400-meter race should have been over when she collapsed with a ruptured Achilles tendon after the second hurdle.

Instead, Shelby Erdahl ignored the pain shooting up her leg, hobbled over eight more hurdles with a numb foot and crossed the finish line to meet her goal of scoring a point for her team at the Big Sky Conference outdoor track and field championships.

“I guess I just didn’t want my last memory of track and field to be me rolling off the track without finishing,” Erdahl said in a video interview released by Idaho State.

Linda Erdahl of Bozeman, Montana, said she was shocked when her daughter fell, then watched in disbelief as she struggled to finish.

Shelby Erdahl finished the race in 2 minutes, 53.56 seconds and fell into her trainer’s arms as the crowd stood cheering.

“I don’t know how I did that,” Erdahl said. “To be honest I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking. I was kind of just blacking in and out. I just remember focusing, just using each hurdle as a sort of checkpoint.”

She said it was surreal to watch the video of her May 14 race in Greeley, Colorado.

 “I guess it made me realize how much I was pushing through it” and how many people were cheering, she said. “It just means a lot to me as a person just to know that I accomplished that and didn’t give up on myself and my dreams and the support of my teammates.”

Erdahl, who graduated from Idaho State with a degree in sport science and physical education, underwent surgery Wednesday and faces a long recovery.

She plans to attend graduate school this fall at the University of Montana to study physical therapy.

“I’ll probably be learning how to rehab myself,” she joked.


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