Nothing's Holding Her Back

Pushing the limits of her body and getting outdoors wasn’t the problem, it was the solution.

“I was one of those special kids,” says Heather Laptalo, “You, know those kids with all kinds of medical problems? Yeah, that was me.”

Doctors have been telling Heather Laptalo what she could and couldn’t do since she was just a kid. From the age of ten, she's had to deal with wearing back braces and a series of surgeries to battle her severe cases of scoliosis and kyphosis. Daily activities that don’t even register for most people were a serious challenge for Heather. For some, this would’ve led to a defeated sense of self, but Heather knew early on that she wouldn’t let her medical condition stop her from living the life she envisioned.

She pushed through the pain and when she got to the point that she was able to run, she discovered a new passion. This eventually led to a full-ride cross-country college scholarship. Then she qualified for the Boston Marathon. Not bad for someone who was told she probably wouldn’t be able to run ever again.

She didn’t stop there. Heather began taking her endurance challenges to the mountains, chasing down her ever-expanding boundaries climbing 14ers and even trekking to Everest basecamp. She speaks about “hitting the wall,” wanting to quit, and how it’s in those moments that she hears a voice in her head that tells her, “you got this.” That’s the voice she listens to.

See more GOATworthy stories on Backcountry's website.  


Published: October 16, 2017

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