Sometimes a hard fall may raise one up very high, the way it happened with Heather Dorniden

It’s not how hard you fall but how quickly you get up which determines how successful you are. How long does it take to pull yourself up from a big setback and win your lost ground? It may take a year, or even more. But, Heather Dorniden took just a second, or even lesser, to get up on her feet, to dust herself and chase down the competitors who thought that she was down and out.

Big 10 Indoor Track Championship Heather Dorniden's 600m Race

Heather is as fond of running as she is of playing the flute. In the 600 metres race at the Big Ten Indoor Track Championships, she soon took the lead and seemed to be on her way to win, as expected. But then suddenly, when she was just 200 metres away from her title, she tripped and fell down while her competitors zoomed past her. What would we do in such a situation? Think? Cry? Plan to make a comeback? In short we will waste precious time. But Heather didn’t. Almost immediately, she got up and incredibly, Dorniden managed to zip past her competitors, finally crossing the finishing line in second place.

Dorniden was on track for a potential music scholarship when she discovered that she could parlay her running talent into a scholarship at the University of Minnesota. At high school,  she won Class AA state titles in the 400 metres as a junior and 800 metres as a senior.  She was the NCAA indoor champion in the 800 metres as a freshman, and has gone on to become an eight-time All-American, establishing herself as the most decorated Gopher women’s track and field athlete in University history. She was a winner of the U’s Female Athlete award in 2008.

Her comeback in that 600 metres race was not well-thought, but an instinctive one, the one driven by the fighting spirits encoded in her genes. Much of her success can be attributed not to talent, but to an unwillingness to quit. Heather Dorniden made it happen, because she didn’t quit.