THREE YEARS AGO today, a seventeen-year-old cross-country runner refused to quit. Holland Reynolds of San Francisco University High School approached the last 800 yards of the 2010 CIF state championship race in second place, and then her body betrayed her. Afflicted by the cold more than the 3.1-mile distance, Reynolds began staggering in what she called “a zombie walk” before collapsing short of the finish line.
That should have been the end of her run, but Reynolds was determined to finish for her coach, Jim Tracy, who had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She got to her hands and knees and, in great pain, crawled the last six feet of the race.
YouTube videos of Reynolds’ remarkable run gave inspiration to many, including a professional football team. New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin showed the clip to his troops during the first gatherings of the 2011-12 season. “It set a tone,” punter Steve Weatherford told the New York Daily News. After watching Reynolds, the team adopted a one-word slogan for their upcoming season — “Finish.” The Giants completed that year with a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.