Ex-Duke University All-American Sally Meyerhoff, 27, was killed yesterday in a tragic cycling accident near her home in Maricopa, Arizona as she trained for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship.
A two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, 2009 U.S. 25K Road champion, and 2011 winner of the P.F. Chang’s Rock `n` Roll Arizona Marathon in her hometown of Tempe, we first met Sally in 2008 when she made her marathon debut at P.F. Chang’s. We saw her last as she competed in Houston at the U.S. Half Marathon Championship at the end of January. In her short, but full 27 years she represented the best qualities of her family, her community, and her sport.
When we watched you win your hometown race,
You lifted our spirits with your verve and grace,
Pigtails dancing, socks ablaze, your smile
a reminder of our own better days.
From miles to marathons,
Then on to Xterra,
Now Ironman calling?
Another challenge, you betcha!
We watched you grow through tireless pursuit,
Blue Devil girl in the bun-hugger suit,
Who shared her passion with those that mattered,
The volunteer coach for young climbers of ladders.
For teaching, you knew, held the real reward,
Though return on investment could rarely be scored.
But you knew all along as you laid out your lessons,
True knowldege emerged from quality of questions.
Today we learned of life’s cruel turns,
Your journey at an end as your family now yearns,
For days ahead that won’t come true,
When they’d have cheered your wins,
And succored your blues.
You’ve left us behind in search for a reason,
Grasping for cause to clarify the meaning,
Why such tragedies as yours that seem so needless,
Could be visited upon one who fashioned no malice.
Now this explorer’s heart that beat so strongly,
Has gone silent too soon, and, oh, how wrongly,
Yet bids friends gather to share with their laughter,
As they commend their bright champion to the deep ever after.