TWIN FALLS • When people hear Sarah Scarrow’s story, they can’t help but get behind her.
Now they will be running beside her, too.
On May 31, Scarrow will compete in the fifth annual Spirit of the Magic Valley 5K Run in Twin Falls — her first race since a 2013 accident nearly killed her.
Joining her will be more than a dozen family members, friends, physical therapists and assistants from the Center for Physical Rehabilitation (CPR) in Twin Falls.
“Our goal was to get her standing or walking. Her goal was to get back to running,” said Scarrow’s physical therapist, Dave Little.
Scarrow and other runners from Twin Falls went to Tempe, Ariz., last year for the Arizona Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. It was to be her first half-marathon.
At a stoplight, some people jumped out of the van to walk toward the apparent starting line. Scarrow dropped her water bottle and turned back to retrieve it. That’s when a car hit her, going about 40 mph.
Her chin was split down the middle. Her spine and left leg femur were fractured in multiple places.
Scarrow spent about a month in a hospital intensive care unit, undergoing 10 reconstructive surgeries.
The entire right side of her face was rebuilt. Her jaw was wired shut, and she spent three months on a liquid diet and eight months on painkillers.
Her left leg now is held together by a metal rod and 12 screws.
Now an X-ray of that leg will grace T-shirts being made for those who are running with her in May. Emblazoned across the back of the shirts will be the message: “Your excuse? No excuse.”
The message is meant to motivate people to get active, especially those dealing with injuries or chronic pain.
Little is calling the racer group “Team Sarah” or “Fractured Femur 5K.”
“We have such a hard time getting people to get out to do basic things — a 30- to 40-minute brisk walk or basic core exercises. We have people come in with chronic back pain, and we’ll ask, ‘Do you exercise?’ If this lady, who was almost killed, can do it, the average Joe can walk the 5K,” he said.
Little not only talks the talk, but also walks (and runs) the walk.
He describes himself as active and athletic but not a runner. So he’s been training. He’s lost 9 pounds and has 6 more to go to reach his running weight goal.
The 32-year physical therapist said he hasn’t run to work out since he was in college 35 years ago. But Scarrow is an inspiration.
“She’s made such a remarkable recovery. It’s really due to Sarah’s personality,” said Julie Ellis, CPR physical therapist and sports-certified specialist. Ellis, a competitive runner, will compete in the half-marathon on “Team Sarah.”
Scarrow said she is still surprised when others say she has inspired them.
“It was embarrassing to me. I get humbled,” she said.
Although Scarrow has come a long way in her recovery, she said, she still has struggles.
She prefers to run outside, but when it’s cold, her left leg stiffens. “I have a built-in barometer now,” she said.
A 10-day bout of pneumonia also put her behind in her training.
On Wednesday, Ellis filmed Scarrow running using Ubersense, a motion analysis video app, to see whether Scarrow was deviating to one side when she ran.
“The main deviation is that you drop your hip. We will want to do hip exercises,” Ellis advised.
She also told Scarrow that she swings her shoulders when she runs, indicating hip and core weakness.
“I sway because otherwise I will fall,” Scarrow said.
But despite such challenges, she’s still making great strides.
On Wednesday, Scarrow got her highest score yet — 1,473 — on a weight-bearing machine. Her last score was 1,300.
A test also showed that her left leg is stronger. In November, it was rated at 58 percent weakness. Wednesday, the weakness was at 34 percent.
“Gains all along,” Little said as he fist-bumped Scarrow.
Little said it isn’t unusual for him to form friendships with clients.
In August, he will join a former patient on a deep-sea fishing trip off the coast of Oregon. He helped the patient recover from shoulder reconstruction. He used to go on a week-long float trip with another former patient whom he helped after bilateral knee surgery.
When Scarrow’s story appeared in the Times-News in February, Little mailed it to the Arizona surgeons who performed her initial operations to show them her progress.
“Come join Sarah and CPR,” Little said Wednesday. “Let’s do this (race) as a community.”
Scarrow said that within the next two years, she wants to run the half-marathon that prompted her Arizona trip in January 2013. She said she still feels apprehensive about returning to Arizona, though, so she may compete in the Las Vegas version of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon.
She doesn’t know whether she’ll ever run a full marathon, though.
“I had a goal of doing a full marathon before the crash. ... but there’s something that can be said for knowing your body.”